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Week Twenty Eight: Columbus Era Coming To An End

April 5, 2010 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Syracuse Crunch News Release

Not only will the Syracuse Crunch wrap up their 2009-10 season on Saturday, April 10 vs. Rochester, but they will also wrap up their tenth and final season as the American Hockey League affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

In 10 seasons under Columbus, including 77 games played this year, the Crunch have put together a 372-308-43-47-27 record (wins-losses-ties-overtime losses-shootout losses), good for a .547 winning percentage. In addition, the Crunch made the playoffs in five of 10 seasons as an affiliate of Columbus.

Over the 10-year span, the Crunch have played in 797 games, scoring 2,316 goals (2.90 GPG) while allowing 2,358 goals (2.96 GAPG). Six (6) of Columbus' 10 first-round draft picks have played in a total of 434 regular season games for the Crunch, including Derick Brassard (42gp, 15g, 36a), Gilbert Brule (16gp, 5g, 5a), Nikita Filatov (39gp, 16g, 16a), Pascal Leclaire (101gp, 3.11 GAA, .909 sv%), Alexandre Picard (234gp, 72g, 74a) and Nikolai Zherdev (2gp, 1g, 0a).

91 players have played for the Crunch and Blue Jackets since the 2000-01 season, ranging alphabetically from Serge Aubin to Nikolai Zherdev. Ten players have seen time with both the Crunch and Blue Jackets this season alone, with three of those players making their NHL debuts (Grant Clitsome, Trevor Frischmon and Tomas Kana).

There have only been two head coaches in the Crunch's history during the Columbus era (Gary Agnew 2000-06 and Ross Yates 2006-10). Agnew has gone on to become an assistant coach with the Blue Jackets, while Yates currently remains the head coach of the Crunch through the 2009-10 season. Yates served as Agnew's assistant during his tenure as head coach before being promoted, and has been with Syracuse for all 10 seasons under the Columbus affiliation. Former Crunch players Trent Cull (2006-10) and Karl Goehring (2009-10), have also served as assistant coaches.

Almost every leader of every major statistical category in the Crunch's history has played for both the Crunch and Columbus, including Brad Moran (games played - 334, assists - 143 and points - 241), Mark Hartigan (goals - 107, power play goals - 47 and game-winning goals - 18), Jeremy Reich (penalty minutes - 820), Derek MacKenzie (shorthanded goals - 11) and J.F. Labbe (goals against average - 2.48, shutouts - 11 and save percentage - .925).

Starting with the 2010-11 season, the Syracuse Crunch will become the American Hockey League affiliate of the National Hockey League's Anaheim Ducks.

KOLARIK GETS THE CALL: The Syracuse Crunch announced today that the Columbus Blue Jackets have recalled right wing Chad Kolarik. This is the first recall of Kolarik's career.

Kolarik appeared in all three games for the Crunch this past week and tied for the team lead in scoring with three points (2g, 1a). He tallied a goal in the Crunch's 5-2 loss on Wednesday vs. Hershey before recording two points (1g, 1a), including the game-winner with just over two minutes remaining in regulation at Adirondack on Friday, good enough to earn first star of the game honors.

Kolarik was held scoreless on Saturday at Hershey, but registered a team-high four shots on goal in a 6-1 loss to the Bears. Since being acquired by Columbus from Phoenix in exchange for Alexandre Picard and assigned to Syracuse on March 3, Kolarik has appeared in 16 games for the Crunch, posting nine goals, six assists and 14 penalty minutes. In 75 combined games with the Crunch and San Antonio this season, Kolarik has registered a career-high 26 goals, along with 24 assists and 55 penalty minutes.

Prior to joining the professional ranks, the 24-year old spent four years at the University of Michigan (CCHA) from 2004-08, accumulating 78 goals, 96 assists and 131 penalty minutes in 163 career games. A native of Abington, Pennsylvania, Kolarik was selected by Phoenix in the seventh round, 199th overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.


HERSHEY BEARS (WASHINGTON CAPITALS): The AHL regular season champion Hershey Bears come to town to face the Crunch for the sixth and final meeting this season between these two clubs and fourth time in an 18-day span on Tuesday, April 6. The Crunch are 0-5-0-0 against Hershey this year and have been outscored by a 25-9 margin in those contests. Mathieu Perreault (2g, 5a) and AHL leading scorer Keith Aucoin (1g, 6a) lead their club and all players in the season series with seven points each. Crunch left wing Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman leads the Crunch against Hershey this year with four points (3g, 1a) while Chad Kolarik (1g, 1a) and Brendan Bell (2 assists) have chipped in two points a piece. Hershey netminders Jason Bacashihua, Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth have combined to go 5-0-0 with a 1.81 goals against average against the Crunch this season.

HAMILTON BULLDOGS (MONTREAL CANADIENS): The North Division-leading Hamilton Bulldogs make their only trip of the season to Syracuse to face the Crunch for the second and final time this year on Friday, April 9. Hamilton won the only other contest by a 5-1 score at Copps Coliseum back on November 14 on the strength of two goals each from Mike Glumac and Ryan Russell. Goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, who ranks first in the AHL in goals against average (1.95), second in shutouts (6) and fifth in save percentage (.922) picked up the win, stopping 22 of 23 shots in the contest. Alexandre Picard scored Syracuse's only goal of the game. The Crunch are 44-40-13 in 97 all-time meetings with Hamilton.

ROCHESTER AMERICANS (FLORIDA PANTHERS): The Crunch close out their 2009-10 season and a decade as the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets by hosting the Rochester Americans on Saturday, April 10 for the tenth and final meeting of the campaign between these two clubs. The Crunch are winless against Rochester so far in 2009-10, going 0-7-2-0 against their I-90 rivals after putting together a combined 18-6-0-0 mark vs. Rochester in 2007-08 and 2008-09. Chris Taylor leads Rochester and all players in the season series in scoring with 12 points (3g, 9a), while goaltender Alexander Salak is 9-0-0 with a 2.30 goals against average and .926 save percentage against the Crunch this year. Nick Holden leads all Crunch players in the season series with six points (1g, 5a) in seven games.

CRUNCHABLES: Kevin Harvey moved past Larry Courville into eighth place on the Crunch's all-time penalty minutes list on Saturday.The Crunch and Hershey's parent clubs (Columbus and Washington), also faced off against each other Saturday.John Kurtz scored his first professional goal Friday night @ Adirondack...The Crunch play their final three games of 2009-10 at the War Memorial at Oncenter.

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