Crunch May Have Found the Winning Formula
The week started Wednesday in Albany against the River Rats where the defense seemingly forgot to make the trip allowing 44 shots on goal. Kevin Lalande made 39 saves. The Crunch lost this one 5-2 with goals from Picard and McBride with his first professional goal. Smotherman continues to struggle and he was a -3 for the game however Picard continues to shine.
Friday was another trip to Rochester to face the Americans. This rivalry is become very one sided as this season the Crunch are winless against the Amerks and that continued with a 5-2 loss. Defense was better as they allowed only 30 shots this game but LaCosta struggled as did the offense- they only generated 18 shots on goal for the game. Dan Fritsche and Trevor Frischmon had the goals. Picard, Mayorov and Fritsche with assists for the night. This was the season debut for Bates Battaglia and he did not show much but that was expected as he has not played for a while.
Lines for the first two games were very similar to last weeks lines but Saturday Crunch coach Ross Yates switched everything up:
Battaglia Fritsche Pelletier
Mayorov Aulin Picard
Harvey Frischmon Smotherman
Miller Lundbohm Mirasty
The new lines with the addition of Battaglia and the return of Harvey from his suspension sparked the team as a whole as it was by far the best game of the season. The Crunch hosted the Hartford Wolf Pack and put on a defensive clinic allowing a season low 23 shots on goal and they outshot their opponent for the first time in 13 games. Mayorov (short handed) and Harvey with goals with assists from Reese, Holden and Smotherman. This great effort gave the Crunch a 2-1 win.
Season standings have the Crunch at 6-9-2-2 for 16 points and only one team has fewer points and they have a game in hand. For those new to the Crunch this has been the norm for many years and the team makes great comebacks to either make the playoffs and have nothing left and fall just short. I am hoping it will be different this season but the trend seems to be repeating.
Players to watch this week are:
Mayorov 1-1 in 3 games
Picrad 1-1 in 3 games
Fritsche 1-1 in 3 games
Frischmon 1-1 in 3 games
The not list:
Pelletier, Aulin, Smotherman.
I am worried about Aulin as his tryout will be expiring in a couple weeks and after a hot start has not done much not earn another (or a contract for that matter) He did have a high light set up with Picrad on Saturday as he stick handled into the zone and went straight to the net with Picard following. His passing lane was cut off so he dropped the puck to his skate and with it behind him kicked the puck to Picard and Pic did all he could but it just did not go in. Here is the link to the play: