Syracuse Crunch: road sizzle, home fizzle
The Syracuse Crunch are doing fantastic on the road. At home, not so much.
When the AHL schedule first came out this past summer, some fans weren't sure how they felt about the road-heavy start to the season. With a new affiliate coming into town, an affiliate that had just concluded a championship run, we wanted to see our team! We didn't like the lack of home games in October, nor were we too fond of a fairly sparse November.
Now, however, some fans are beginning to change their tune. We might even say that it's lucky for us all that the Baby Bolts play half of the regular season on the road. As it stands right now, Syracuse's road record is a fabulous 6-0-0-1. The team has dominated nearly ever road game it's played. This includes one awe-inducing comeback from a 5-0 deficit in Binghamton on 10/20 and a statement game this past Friday in Montreal, where the Crunch played on NHL ice in Bell Centre and defeated the Hamilton Bulldogs 4-1.
Unfortunately, for both the players and the fans, the Crunch's home record isn't anywhere near as sparkly. The Crunch are now 1-2-1-0 at home. There just is no pretty way to put this: the Crunch are allowing their opponents to come into their barn and determine how the game is going to be played. Period. Other than the opening night win against Hershey back on 10/13, the Crunch have been outscored and out hustled in every other game. While certain players (like Radko Gudas) are putting their bodies on the line, others are allowing the opposing team to set the pace of the game.
It's early. I'll be one of the first people to tell you that. It's early, and the Crunch's 7-2-1-1 record is still one of the best in the league. But if the Crunch can't fix their squeaky wheels at home, no one's going to be very happy this season. A few of the players have mentioned in interviews with Bolt Prospects that the smaller ice surface the War Memorial boasts is to blame for the team's home woes, at least in part. This I don't doubt, given the team's stellar performance in Montreal Friday and then the lackluster showing at home Saturday. It is clearly a problem. The question is, how to fix it?
- Regular season record (wins-losses-OT losses-SO losses): 7-2-1-1
- Place in the conference standings (top 8 make the playoffs): 2nd
- Place in division standings: First
- Top scorer: Cory Conacher, 7-6-13 (Conacher is also currently eighth in the league in scoring)
- Top scoring defenseman: Mark Barberio, 2-5-7
- Top defenseman, +/-: Dmitry Korobov, +7
- Top rookie: Alex Killorn, 2-6-8
- Game attendance: Saturday: 6,019