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The Albany River Rats have won three of their last four games and are 10-4-1-0 in their last 15. News, notes and storylines heading into this weekÂ’s action:

ØThe River Rats are 18-14-2-0 (.559) for 38 points after 34 games, a 16-point improvement over last season (10-22-0-2). They begin the week in fourth place in the East Division, 13 points in back of third-place Norfolk but with two games in hand and eight head-to-head meetings with the Admirals over the final 46 games of the regular season. Albany enters the week with an eight-point advantage over fifth-place Bridgeport.

ØAt 18-14-2-0, the River Rats are four games above .500 for the first time since the 1998-99 season. The last time the River Rats were as many as four games above .500 gas prices were 1.03 per gallon, Saving Private Ryan was the top grossing movie, the Titanic rose and Paul Simon's Broadway play Capeman sank faster than the legendary ship.

ØLeft wing Ryan Bayda registered a career-high, four points (three goals, one assist) December 31 at Bridgeport. It was the second career hat trick for Bayda (October 13, 2003 vs. Worcester) and his first multiple-goal effort since January 29, 2006 at Hamilton, a span of 50 games.

ØRight wing Shane Willis accrued a franchise record-tying five points (two goals, three assists) December 31 at Bridgeport. He has 10 points (six goals, four assists) in his last eight games. Willis leads the River Rats in goals (13) and is tied with Pat Dwyer for the club lead in first goals (four).

ØDefenseman Johnny Boychuk has scored seven goals in his last 10 games after going the first 24 games of the season without scoring. His seven goals are a new career high, surpassing the six he scored last season while playing for Lowell (AHL). The third-year pro has compiled the second best plus/minus rating in the AHL (+15) since November 3.

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He's not in Albany, though I agree he needs to be. With all the injuries to defensemen and the trading of Kevyn Adams he'll be with the team till at least the all-star break. Hopefully then, with the imminent return of several defensemen, he will be allowed to go get top line minutes in Albany which will be much better for his development.

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Went to Norfolk, saw both games this weekend. Friday night's game was great, even though we lost. Rats skated well, passed well and were completely organized. Saturday's game, not so much! Mostly Colorado's guys on the ice. Completely disorganized! Can see why the Admirals are in First. Met some great people though, Tim and Amy, I expect an invite to the wedding in Nov!

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Is there a reason that Boulerice isn't wearing 36 anymore? I mean, I'm all for him wearing 21 since it's my lucky number, but I was just wondering since no one else on the team had 36.

And to the other Boulerice fans who have been wondering about him, so have I. Have to say I love The Bull. Wish he could/would play to his full potential. We saw so much out of him a few seasons ago. I wonder where all the fire and spark went. I know that part of it has to do with the NHL playing down the role of enforcers and what not, but it just seems he hasn't been the same in a long while. Either way, I'm still cheering for him in Albany! Let's go Boulerice and let's go River Rats!!!

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I knew that Jesse had signed back with the Hurricanes before the start of the season and that he was in Albany and played games with Albany, but it only says 11 games, so i was wondering if he had gotten hurt or not and was missing games for an injury. Anyone know if he has been injured lately? Its hard to follow the Hurricanes and ahl teams around here. He wore #21 when he was with the Flyers, then went to #36 when he got traded to Carolina. Maybe he prefers 21.

#18 with the Plymouth Whalers (OHL)

#14 with Trenton Titans (ECHL)

#36 with Lowell Lock Monsters (AHL)

#21 with the Flyers (NHL)

#36 with the Hurricanes (NHL)

#36 with the Blues (NHL)

I had a little time on my hands to find out most of his jersey numbers. Im admitting im a Habs fan and not much of a Hurricanes follower, but Im definitely rooting on Jesse wherever he plays.

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His stats says that he has played 11 games this year, so he must have played a bunch of games at the beginning of the year. His game total hasnt changed in a while, so he has been injured im assuming.

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His stats says that he has played 11 games this year, so he must have played a bunch of games at the beginning of the year. His game total hasnt changed in a while, so he has been injured im assuming.

Yeah, at the beginning of the season I vaguely remember him possibly leading in team points. I think he might have notched a goal or two and some assists. Don't really remember. I'm sure it's on the stats though.

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Listin to the Rats broadcast 2night, they are sayin Foot. Rowe Just said Boulerice coulda played tonight but is on hold untill the doctor gives him the ok . Could play this weekend vs manchester

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Yep, It's for a year. Hope he's back soon. We heard in Norfolk that his hand wasn't healing properly, from Coach Stefan. Sure did miss Jesse there !!!!

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What did Aucoin do to get suspended for a game? :shock: Was it a fight? I just heard this and wondered if anyone knew what happened.
He got into a fight on Saturday night in Hershey and got an instagator penalty with les than 5 minutes left in the game which is an automatic 1 game suspension

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Ø The Carolina Hurricanes have lifted their suspension on defenseman Anton Babchuk. The 22-year-old blueliner will report immediately to the River Rats and will practice with the team for the first time Tuesday at the Bethlehem YMCA (1:00-2:15 p.m.). The Hurricanes suspended Babchuk after he initially refused to report to Albany after being assigned February 6. A first-round pick by Chicago in 2002, Babchuk had two goals and 12 assists with 30 penalty minutes in 51 games with Carolina this season. He ranked second on the Hurricanes in blocked shots (95) and scoring among defensemen (14 points) at the time he was assigned to Albany.

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