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Syracuse Crunch Weekly Release April 23, 2024

Credit: Syracuse Crunch

REGULAR SEASON ENDS, PLAYOFFS ON THE HORIZON

The Crunch finished off their 30th regular season in franchise history and now preparing for a playoff rematch, which begins this week.

Syracuse slipped to third place in the North Division with a 1-1-0-1 record in the final week. They dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the Belleville Senators on Wednesday. The Crunch rebounded with a 4-3 comeback win in their road finale against the Utica Comets on Friday, but fell in the final game of the season, 5-2, against the Comets on Saturday.

The Crunch woke up on Sunday morning atop the division, but after wins by Cleveland and Rochester, they fell to third place for the first time since November. They end the regular season with a 39-24-4-5 record, giving them four more wins and six more points than last season. 

Syracuse will rematch with the Rochester Americans in this season’s North Division Semifinals. The Amerks rallied to win last year’s best-of-five series in a winner-take-all Game 5 in Syracuse. 

TEAM NOTES

The Crunch finished the regular season averaging 5,477 fans over their 36 home games, good for their best mark since 2019-20. The Crunch had eight sellout crowds – including each of their final three home games. Eight sellouts is the most for the Crunch since the 2018-19 season (also eight).

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The TampaCuse pipeline flowed freely in 2023-24. Eleven different players skated for both the Crunch and Tampa Bay Lightning this season. Seven Crunch players – Waltteri Merelä, Matt Tomkins, Declan Carlile, Jack Thompson, Emil Lilleberg, Gage Goncalves, and Max Crozier – all made their NHL debuts.

Lilleberg, Tomkins, and Crozier are currently on recall with the Lightning but remain eligible to return to the Crunch this season. Syracuse is one of two North Division teams to have its NHL parent club qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs (Toronto).  

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The Crunch announced their year-end team awards prior to their regular-season finale. Winners include Declan Carlile, Daniel Walcott, Phil Myers, Max Crozier, Tristan Allard, Gage Goncalves and Jack Finley. The list of awards can be found here.

CRUNCH TAKE ON AMERKS

Game 1: Friday, April 26 at Rochester | 7:05 p.m.

Game 2: Saturday, April 28 at Rochester | 3:05 p.m.

Game 3: Thursday, May 2 vs. Rochester | 7 p.m.

*Game 4: Saturday, May 4 vs. Rochester | 7 p.m.

*Game 5: Friday, May 10 at Rochester | 7:05 p.m.

For the second straight season the Crunch and Rochester Americans match up in the North Division Semifinals. It is their third playoff series since 2017-18, and the sixth all-time between the clubs, the most against one opponent for the Crunch.

The teams met 17 times, including playoffs in the 2022-23 season, and could be on track for that again this season. In 12 regular season meetings, the Crunch posted a 7-2-2-1 record, but the Amerks won the final two meetings.

The road team won nine of the 12 meetings, while five games required overtime. 

UPCOMING WEEK 

Friday, April 26 at Rochester | 7:05 p.m.             

Game 1 of the North Division Semifinals takes place at Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena. It marks the start of the Crunch’s 29th playoff series in franchise history. Syracuse is 15-13 all-time in Game 1, although they have a 7-8 series record when winning the first game. This is the first time the Crunch have open a playoff series as a lower seed and on the road since the 2018 North Division Finals versus Toronto.

Sunday, April 28 at Rochester | 3:05 p.m.              

The Crunch and Amerks will meet in Game 2 of the North Division Semifinals Sunday afternoon at Blue Cross Arena. Syracuse lost both legs of last year’s series in Rochester (Game 3 and Game 4), but they posted a 5-0-1-0 record in Rochester this season.

WEEK 28 RESULTS

Wednesday, April 17 | Game 70 at Belleville | SOL, 2-1

Syracuse    1 0 0 0 0 – 1     Shots: 8-8-2-3-0-21          PP: 0/5

Belleville     0 1 0 0 1 – 2     Shots: 6-5-3-4-1-19          PP: 1/5

1st Period-Stephens 7 (Crozier, Barré-Boulet), 15:57. Shootout-Belleville 1 (Chartier G, Currie NG), Syracuse 0 (Barré-Boulet NG, Goncalves NG, Finley NG). . . . Halverson 6-2-3 (18 shots-17 saves) A-2,524

Friday, April 19 | Game 71 at Utica | W, 4-3

Syracuse    2 2 0 – 4     Shots: 4-6-5-15                PP: 1/2

Utica           2 1 0 – 3     Shots: 11-8-13-32           PP: 0/4

1st Period-Edmonds 9 (Walcott, Harpur), 6:33. Finley 13 (Walcott, Myers), 14:33. 2nd Period-Merelä 14 (Goncalves), 9:05. Fortier 13 (Edmonds, Schmiemann), 16:07 (PP). . . . Alnefelt ND (13 shots-10 saves), Halverson 7-2-3 (19 shots-19 saves) A-2,819

Saturday, April 20 | Game 72 vs. Utica | L, 5-2

Utica           0 2 3 – 5     Shots: 3-9-6-18                PP: 0/2

Syracuse    1 0 1 – 2     Shots: 16-11-12-39        PP: 0/3

1st Period-Merelä 15 (Bellerive), 2:03. 3rd Period-Crozier 4 (Merelä, Stephens), 14:03. . . . Halverson 7-3-3 (17 shots-13 saves) A-6,166

CategoryAverage/TotalAHL Rank (Prev)
Power Play19.4% (50-for-258) T-9th (T-8th)
Penalty Kill83.9% (234-for-279)T-8th (T-7th)
Goals For3.06 GFA (220)T-17th (T-13th)
Goals Against2.82 GAA (203)T-9th (8th)
Shots For28.96 SF/G (2085)23rd (T-21st)
Shots Against26.33 SA/G (1896)3rd (3rd)
Penalty Minutes12.43 PIM/G (895)19th (19th)
Category Leader
Points58Goncalves
Goals20Koepke
Assists45Goncalves
PIM100Element
Plus/Minus+29Myers
Wins15Tomkins
GAA2.18Halverson
Save %.913Halverson
North DivisionGPWLOTLSOLPTSPCTGFGAPIMHOMEROADLAST 10STREAKS/O
1. y Cleveland72402453880.61123323891220-14-2-020-10-3-35-3-2-03-0-0-04-3
2. x Rochester72392373880.61123423974318-12-4-221-11-3-18-1-1-03-0-1-04-3
3. x Syracuse72392445870.60422020389518-12-3-321-12-1-23-4-0-30-1-0-03-5
4. x Belleville72382833820.569209211103520-12-2-218-16-1-18-2-0-03-0-0-03-3
5. x Toronto723426102800.556249220104515-14-7-019-12-3-24-5-1-00-3-0-06-2
6. Utica72322956750.52122122680915-15-1-517-14-4-14-4-1-10-1-0-02-6
7. Laval72333162740.514235242112719-13-3-114-18-3-14-6-0-00-2-0-03-2
Image
Syracuse Crunch Philippe Myers (5) with the puck against Utica Comets Jack Malone (13) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Upstate Medical University Arena in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, April 20, 2024. Photo credit: Syracuse Crunch.
Syracuse Crunch Dylan Duke (56) playing against Utica Comets Michael Vukojevic (2) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Upstate Medical University Arena in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, April 20, 2024. Photo credit: Syracuse Crunch.
Syracuse Crunch Daniel Walcott (85) has the puck poked away from him by Utica Comets goalie Akira Schmid (40) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Upstate Medical University Arena in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, April 20, 2024. Photo credit: Syracuse Crunch.
Syracuse Crunch Milo Roelens (61) battles for position with Utica Comets Will MacKinnon (3) and goalie Akira Schmid (40) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Upstate Medical University Arena in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, April 20, 2024. Photo credit: Syracuse Crunch.

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