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Syracuse Crunch Weekly Release April 30, 2024

Credit: Syracuse Crunch

CRUNCH EARN SPLIT TO BEGIN PLAYOFFS  

The Crunch earned a road split to open their best-of-five North Division Semifinals series against the Rochester Americans. The Crunch return home for Game 3 (Thursday) and Game 4 (Saturday). 

Rochester took Game 1 with a 3-2 win Friday at Blue Cross Arena. The Amerks scored twice in the first period, including the opening goal of the series at 1:01 of the game, for a quick 2-0 lead. The Crunch rallied back to tie the score at two before Rochester claimed the lead for good with a deflection goal in the third period.

Rochester Americans goalie Devon Levi (27) makes a save against Syracuse Crunch Waltteri Merelä (89) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York on Sunday, April 28, 2024. Syracuse won 4-3 in OT. Credit: Syracuse Crunch.

Syracuse needed another comeback effort in Game 2 to tie the series. Trailing 2-0 with less than a minute to play in the second period, the Crunch stormed back with three consecutive goals in just shy of 10 minutes to take their first lead of the series. The Amerks forced overtime, but Gabriel Fortier delivered the winner on a deflection to knot the series at one win apiece.

Syracuse Crunch Daniel Walcott (85) takes Rochester Americans Joseph Cecconi (3) into the boards in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York on Sunday, April 28, 2024. Syracuse won 4-3 in OT. Credit: Syracuse Crunch.

TOP PERFORMERS

Jordy Bellerive has made an instant impact in his first playoff series as a member of the Crunch. Bellerive blasted a game-tying goal in the third period of Game 1, then ignited the Crunch comeback in Game 2 with a deflection goal late in the second period.

Bellerive was acquired by the Crunch from the San Jose Barracuda at the AHL Trade Deadline. His lone point in 13 regular season games for the Crunch was an assist in the season finale. 

Syracuse Crunch Jordy Bellerive (15) celebrates his goal against Rochester Americans goalie Devon Levi (27) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York on Sunday, April 28, 2024. Syracuse won 4-3 in OT. Credit: Syracuse Crunch.

Bellerive, who turns 25 on the same day as Game 3, has three points (2g, 1a) in 11 career Calder Cup Playoffs games between Syracuse, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Lehigh Valley.

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Defenseman Phil Myers was a workhorse in Game 2 to help the Crunch tie the series at one. The veteran blueliner set up the Crunch’s first two goals and finished with a plus-2 rating in the game. It marked his second career multi-point game in the Calder Cup Playoffs (also on May 19, 2018). 

Myers, 27, earned the Crunch’s U.S. Army Defender of the Year award for his efforts during the regular season. He finished the season with 23 points (4g, 19a) and a team-leading plus-29 rating.   

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Forward Gabe Fortier’s first career playoff goal was the overtime game-winning goal in Game 2 of the North Division Semifinals. The tally capped a two-point day for the assistant captain, whose effort helped set up the Crunch’s go-ahead goal in the third period.

Syracuse Crunch Gabriel Fortier (9) deflects the puck past Rochester Americans goalie Devon Levi (27) for the Overtime Game Winning Goal in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York on Sunday, April 28, 2024. Syracuse won 4-3 in OT. Credit: Syracuse Crunch.

Fortier has three points (1g, 2a) in 13 career Calder Cup Playoffs games for the Crunch.

NO QUIT IN THE CRUNCH

The Crunch were down, but not out, in the first two games of the North Division Semifinals, following a trend from the regular season. Syracuse went down 2-0 in both games, marking the seventh and eighth time in 14 overall meetings against Rochester this season that the Crunch have dug a 2-0 hole.

Syracuse Crunch Sean Day (74) shoots and scores a goal against Rochester Americans defenders Ryan Johnson (23) and goalie Devon Levi (27) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York on Sunday, April 28, 2024. Syracuse won 4-3 in OT. Credit: Syracuse Crunch.

The Crunch tied Game 1, but ultimately lost, 3-2, but they did complete the comeback in Game 2 with a 4-3 overtime victory. Game 2 marked the fourth time the Crunch have won against the Amerks this season when trailing 2-0; those are the only four Crunch wins this season when falling behind 2-0. 

NORTH DIVISION SEMIFINAL SCHEDULE  

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 26 – ROCHESTER 3, Syracuse 2

Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 28 – Syracuse 4, ROCHESTER 3 (OT)

Game 3 – Thu., May 2 – Rochester at Syracuse, 7:00

Game 4 – Sat., May 4 – Rochester at Syracuse, 7:00

*Game 5 – Fri., May 10 – Syracuse at Rochester, 7:05

*if necessary

UPCOMING WEEK

Thursday, May 2 vs. Rochester | 7 p.m.            

The North Division Semifinals shifts to Syracuse for Game 3 on Thursday at Upstate Medical University Arena. The best-of-five series is tied at one after the Crunch earned a Game 2 overtime win. Syracuse went 2-1 on home ice in last year’s playoff series against the Amerks.

Saturday, May 4 vs. Rochester | 7 p.m.            

The Crunch will host the Rochester Americans for Game 4 of the North Division Semifinals. It will be the first potential elimination game of the series. The winner of Game 3 will have a chance to close out the series Saturday at Upstate Medical University Arena. Rochester won four of six meetings in Syracuse during the regular season, including two wins in March.

Rochester Americans goalie Devon Levi (27) makes a save against Syracuse Crunch Waltteri Merelä (89) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York on Sunday, April 28, 2024. Syracuse won 4-3 in OT. Credit: Syracuse Crunch.

WEEK 29 RESULTS

Friday, April 26 | NDSF Game 1 at Rochester | L, 3-2

Syracuse        0 1 1 – 2     Shots: 9-14-14-37       PP: 0/2

Rochester      2 0 1 – 3     Shots: 7-8-11-26         PP: 1/1

2nd Period-Walcott 1 (Duke, Carlile), 13:21. 3rd Period-Bellerive 1 (Walcott, Harpur), 7:59. . . . Halverson 0-1-0 (26 shots-23 saves) A-7,466

Sunday, April 28 | NDSF Game 2 at Rochester | W, 4-3 (OT)

Syracuse        0 1 2 1 – 4     Shots: 6-8-11-9-34  PP: 0/2

Rochester      1 1 1 0 – 3     Shots: 11-10-4-2-27 PP: 1/1

2nd Period-Bellerive 2 (Myers, Duke), 19:13. 3rd Period-Goncalves 1 (Myers, Robert), 4:59. Day 1 (Groshev, Fortier), 9:03. Overtime-Fortier 1 (Carlile, Barré-Boulet), 10:56. . . . Halverson 1-1-0 (27 shots-24 saves) A-7,728

CategoryAverage/TotalAHL Rank (Reg)
Power Play0.0% (0-for-4) T-15th (T-9th)
Penalty Kill0.0% (0-for-2)18th (T-8th)
Goals For3.00 GFA (6)T-6th (T-17th)
Goals Against3.00 GAA (6)T-16th (T-9th)
Shots For35.50 SF/G (71)5th (23rd)
Shots Against26.50 SA/G (53)11th (3rd)
Penalty Minutes3.00 PIM/G (6)18th (19th)
Category Leader
Points26 tied at 2 points
Goals2Bellerive
Assists2Carlile|Duke|Myers
PIM2Duke|Stephens|Walcott
Plus/Minus+26 tied at +2
Wins1Halverson
GAA2.81Halverson
Save %.887Halverson
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