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SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Crunch defeated the Cleveland Monsters, 3-2, in a shootout tonight at the Upstate Medical University Arena.

Walterri Merela opened the scoring and netted the game-winner in the shootout to advance the Crunch to 19-12-2-2 on the season. The Crunch complete the four-game season series against the Monsters, 2-1-1-0.

Crunch goaltender Hugo Alnefelt stopped 36-of-38 shots and 2-of-4 shootout attempts in the victory. Monsters goaltender Jet Greaves turned aside 32-of-34 shots and 1-of-4 shootout attempts. The Crunch power play was held scoreless on three opportunities, while the penalty kill was a perfect 4-for-4.

Syracuse opened scoring with a 2-on-1 rush 5:16 into the game. Tristan Allard skated the puck down the left wing and sent a feed across the slot for Merela to chip in. Three minutes later, Cleveland evened the score when Mikael Pyyhtia fired in a shot from the left circle.

The Monsters took the lead halfway through the middle frame. A Crunch defender poked the puck off Justin Pearson’s stick in the right circle, but Alex Whelan quickly grabbed the loose puck and fired it in.

The Crunch tied the game at the 10:50 mark of the final frame to force overtime. Merela fed Declan Carlile who was left all alone to send in a wrister from the left face-off dot.

The teams remained tied through the overtime period and the game went to a shootout. Trey Fix-Wolansky scored as the first skater in the first round before Mitchell Chaffee tied it up in the second round. Luca Del Bel Belluz and Joe Carroll both scored in the third round and Merela sent in the game-winner in the fourth.

The Crunch continue their homestand when they host the Utica Comets for a Monday matinee.

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 or follow the club on Facebook (, Twitter (@SyracuseCrunch) and Instagram (@syracusecrunch).

Crunchables: Waltteri Merela has four goals in the last three games. 


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