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CRUNCH DEFEAT COMETS, 4-3

Credit: Syracuse Crunch

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Crunch defeated the Utica Comets, 4-3, tonight at the Adirondack Bank Center.

The victory snaps a four-game winless streak and advances the team to 39-23-4-5 on the season. Syracuse is now 7-6-0-0 in the 14-game season series against Utica.

Crunch goaltender Hugo Alnefelt stopped 10-of-13 shots before being relieved by Brandon Halverson early in the second period. Halverson stopped all 19 shots he faced. Akira Schmid turned aside 2-of-4 shots in net for the Comets before being relieved by Nico Daws late in the first period. Daws went on to stop 9-of-11. The Syracuse power play converted on 1-of-2 opportunities, while the penalty kill was a perfect 4-for-4.

It was back-and-forth scoring in the opening period resulting in a 2-2 tie at the first intermission. It started at 5:11 when Shane Bowers tipped in Robbie Russo’s right-point shot to put Utica on the board. Just over a minute later, Lucas Edmonds fired in a wrister from the right circle to knot the game. The Comets regained their lead at 8:22 off another tip-in, this time by Xavier Parent, but the Crunch responded yet again. Jack Finley got the puck as he crossed the blue line, cut between two defenders and beat Schmid at the 14:33 mark.

Utica went back on top 3:08 into the middle frame off a slap shot by Russo from the top of the left circle. Halfway through the period, Syracuse knotted it again. Gage Goncalves gained control of the puck along the boards and sent it out for Waltteri Merelä to score with a quick stick at the right face-off dot. The Crunch finally took over the lead with a power-play goal late in the period. Gabriel Fortier was in the slot to redirect Edmonds’s right-point shot and put Syracuse up, 4-3.

The Crunch maintained their lead through the final 20 minutes and took the win to secure two more points in their pursuit of the North Division title.

The Crunch return home to host the Utica Comets for the regular season finale tomorrow.

Single-game tickets and ticket packages for the 2023-24 season are on sale now and can be purchased in person at the Crunch office located inside the Upstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial at 800 S. State St. in Syracuse, by calling the office at 315-473-4444 or online through Ticketmaster. For the latest Crunch news, visit www.syracusecrunch.com or follow the club on Facebook (www.facebook.com/syracusecrunch), Twitter (@SyracuseCrunch) and Instagram (@syracusecrunch).

Crunchables: Gabriel Fortier earned his 100th AHL point tonight.

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