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CRUNCH DOWNED BY THUNDERBIRDS, 6-4


SYRACUSE, N.Y. 
– The Syracuse Crunch were downed by the Springfield Thunderbirds, 6-4, tonight at the MassMutual Center.

The loss moves the Crunch to 35-20-4-2 on the season as the Thunderbirds sweep the two-game season series, 2-0-0-0.

Crunch goaltender Hugo Alnefelt stopped 19-of-24 shots. Vadim Zherenko turned aside 49-of-53 between the pipes for the Thunderbirds. The Syracuse power play converted on 1-of-4 opportunities, while Springfield went 1-for-2.

The Thunderbirds opened scoring 3:37 into the game when Will Bitten beat Alnefelt on a breakaway. The Crunch responded and tied the game with a power-play goal at 16:33. Devante Stephens sent a pass over to Felix Robert as he cut down the left wing. Robert’s centering feed intended for a teammate went off a defender’s skate and into the net. Springfield was quick to go back on top and Ryan Suzuki fired in a shot from the left circle with 59 seconds remaining in the period.

Just 30 seconds into the middle frame, Springfield made it 3-1. Jakub Vrana fired a wrister from the left circle on a short breakaway. Stephens got the Crunch back within one at the 2:44 mark. Tyson Feist’s shot got tipped up and over the net, but Gage Goncalves found the puck when it bounced off the glass and centered it for Stephens to score. The Thunderbirds regained their two-goal lead with a power-play goal halfway through the frame. Hugh McGing fired the puck into the zone to rim around the boards, but it bounced off a stanchion and into the slot for Bitten to score his second of the game. Springfield then capitalized on another odd-man rush late in the period when Mikhail Abramov fired in a wrister from the left circle off a cross-zone feed from Vrana.

Syracuse stole one back early in the third period. Zherenko made the initial save, but Ilya Usau found the rebound and chipped it in. They got another one back at the 14:55 mark when Cole Koepke tipped in Alex Barré-Boulet’s shot from the right circle, but Bitten completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal to halt a comeback effort and secure a Thunderbirds win.

The Crunch travel to Providence tomorrow to close out their three-in-three weekend.

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: The Crunch are 1-1-0-0 so far in the weekend’s three-in-three…Gabriel Fortier’s five-game road scoring streak was snapped tonight…The Crunch fired 108 shots against the Thunderbirds in the two-game season series.

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