Crunch Continue To Struggle On The Road
Friday the Crunch welcomed back Stefan Legein and the Adirondack Phantoms for the first time since the trade. The first goal was a 190 foot shot from Grant Clitsome that somehow went in. It was the only tally of the first period even though the Crunch had 22 shots on net.
In the second period Kevin Harvey got his fourth from Ferguson and Liffiton. Picard knocked in his ninth of the year from Smotherman. Newly Aquired Tomas Kana scored a very nice goal from the right circle with a nice wrist shot to make it 4-0.
Then came the Legein of Doom as he scored the next two goals. I have stated before that Columbus made a very bad decision as Michael Ratchuk is not nearly worth what Legein is and will become. Very bad trade as Ratchuck has played in 8 games and has nothing but a -9 rating and Legein has 11 goals in 20 games for the Phantoms.
Dan Fritsche scored an empty net goal from Battaglia to seal the 5-2 win and a truly dominant game. Dan LaCosta started the night in net but had to leave after suffering back spasms. He should be ready to go this weekend.
Saturday the Crunch traveled to Binghamton and to say that all hell broke loose might be an understatement. The Sens took an early 1-0 lead but Jared Aulin evened it up in the first from Picard and Smotherman.
In the second down 2-1 Battes Battaglia scored a short handed goal from Holden but the Crunch gave up the next two goals. This is where the fireworks started. Down 3-2 It looked like Aulin tied it up but the referee waived it off as he was out of position and never once went to talk with the goal judge. This obviously bothered the Crunch as moments later they gave up another goal with only seconds left.
As both teams were leaving the ice Kevin Lalande slashed Drew Bannister. Then Lalande received a two game suspension for flipping off the Binghamton crowd. Minor scrums broke out everywhere and there were many ejections as well. There are other clips on youtube if interested.
Tuesday the Crunch traveled to Rochester and had call-up goal tender Dan Taylor in net. It was also the first game for Derek MacKenzie since being sent down from Columbus. I was not able to watch or listen to the game but the Americans continued their mastery of the Crunch by winning 5-3.
Syracuse outshot Rochester 42-31 but could only get goals from Regner, Reese, and Liffiton. The strange thing about that is all three are defensemen.
Jared Aulin and Alex Picard were the hot hands this week. Smotherman is a huge disappointment thus far as he does not use his weight or size at all. This guy could dominate but he just goes through the motions.
There was a meeting between Crunch owner Howard Dolgan, Jackets President Mike Priest and the rest of the Blue Jackets upper management about the affiliate contract. This was all but a done deal last month but since the Crunch have struggled so much Howard has put off signing it until he gets a commitment from Columbus to help the Crunch out.
This is just my opinion but this may be a coaching issue more than a player issue here. There is an abundance of talent here but for some reason they just can not win games. This team is 8-3-1-1 at home but on the road are 2-12-1-1. This is crazy to be this much better at home then away and to me has to be coaching. The last 4 years as well this team has started out so bad that it has to do everything in it's power just to make a playoff push after being bottom feeders. If they do make the playoffs they have nothing left in the tank.
I have been a supporter of coach Ross Yates but year after year it is the same story as the players have changed but the results have not. Maybe it's time for Tyler Wright to step in and get his feet wet as a head coach.