I'm not sure what happened during the past week, but whatever changes the Crunch has made better stay changed. Maybe it was the switch from their standard blue-and-white Crunchman jerseys to the orange, white, and blue SYR alternate jerseys?Maybe the team changed their shampoo? Maybe they're eating somewhere different? Maybe they really did just get sick of having their butts handed to them at home.
As I reported last week, the Crunch's home-ice advantage has been practically nonexistent. Prior to this weekend, their 1-2-1-0 record At the War Memorial seemed outright fortunate. The team's previous three games at home were uninspiring, to put it kindly. Home fans were hungry to see the kind of performances we've been hearing about that the Crunch have put out on the road (where the Crunch are 6-0-0-1).
In short, we wanted the team we saw on opening night back.
Well, I am happy to say that we got that team back this past weekend, and in spades, pulling together an impressive three game sweep. They put on a show two nights in a row at home against the Hershey Bears and Adirondack Pantoms, a showing that brought fans to their feet with enough noise to blow the roof off the War Memorial with their cheers. The team then capped off their weekend by venturing to Pennsylvania and reducing Hershey to a pile of melted chocolate on Sunday night.
When the only hitch in the whole weekend was the team's radio feed not working for an entire period Sunday night, you know it was a good one.
The Crunch outscored their opponents 16-6 this past weekend. According to the very sophisticated method of research that I use, which combines saying names outloud for memory purposes and counting on my fingers, 16 different players got at least one point in the course of scoring those 16 goals. Richard Panik, P.C. Labrie, Tyler Johnson and Brett Connolly were the only players to score more than one goal this weekend. Labrie was particularly impressive, scoring three different times between two games and then impressing fans even more with his heart and pugilist skills. Danick Gauthier also scored his first AHL goal, while Mark Barberio, Cory Conacher and J.T. Brown totaled three assists each.
Obviously this team is as generous with the spotlight as it is talented with the puck. When they work together as a unit, it's as if nothing can stop them.
Speaking of working as a unit, our penalty kill was especially impressive. The Crunch's PK only allowed 2 goals on 16 man-down situations. Keeping the puck out of our zone was obviously treated as an urgent issue by this group, as very few chances were had for the opposing teams' power play units. This group, including Radko Gudas who had one goal and one assist on the weekend, was in sync almost the entire time.
The Crunch's power play unit capitalized on three out of fourteen chances. Goals were had by Connolly (2 goals), Conacher, and Panik. This group didn't quite look as put together, as they spent way too much time in their own zone while the clock ticked down.
All in all, Crunch fans are really, super happy at this point. In terms of hockey, we have much to be thankful for!
- Regular season record (wins-losses-OT losses-SO losses): 7-2-1-1
- Place in the conference standings (top 8 make the playoffs): Tied for first
- Place in division standings: First
- Top scorer: Cory Conacher, 8-9-17 (Conacher is also currently fourth in the league in scoring)
- Top scoring defenseman: Mark Barberio, 3-8-11
- Top defenseman, +/-: Dmitry Korobov, +10
- Top rookie: , 2-8-10
- Game attendance: Friday: 4,820, Saturday: 5,191