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Syracuse Crunch Weekly Release February 13, 2024

Credit: Syracuse Crunch

CRUNCH MOVE INTO FIRST PLACE WITH OT WINS 

The Crunch earned identical overtime victories against the Rochester Americans in the first two games after the All-Star Break.

Syracuse overcame 2-0 deficits in both games to earn its first two wins this season when trailing by at least two goals in a game. Friday in Rochester the Crunch’s rally began in the second period with goals from Daniel Walcott and Devante Stephens. In the Saturday rematch, it was first-period tallies from Lucas Edmonds and Jack Thompson that erased the deficit. In both games, the Crunch scored the game-winning goal in the opening minute of overtime; Waltteri Merelä was the hero on Friday and Cole Koepke followed suit on Saturday at a sold-out Upstate Medical University Arena.

The Crunch improved to a 26-14-3-2 record. They have 57 points and are in sole possession of first place in the North Division for the first time this season.

TOP PERFORMERS

Defenseman Declan Carlile led the Crunch with three points – all assists – in Week 18. Two of the three assists were the primary assists on the Crunch’s two overtime game-winning goals. On Friday in Rochester Carlile notched an assist on the Crunch’s first goal before helping out on Waltteri Merelä’s overtime goal. It marked his fourth career multi-point game, and his second two-assist game (also Nov. 17 vs. Hartford).

Carlile is the only player to skate in all 45 Crunch games this season. He has 17 points (5g, 12a) and a plus-11 rating in his second pro season. His 17 points rank second among Crunch defensemen and his five goals are tied for first among the team’s blueliners. The Merrimack College product also made his NHL debut for Tampa Bay on Jan. 4 at Minnesota.

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Jack Finley recorded his sixth multi-point game of the season with a pair of assists in Saturday’s win against Rochester. The second-year pro won the faceoff that led to the tying goal in the first period and then nabbed another assist on the overtime winner for his second career two-assist game.

Since the start of January Finley is the Crunch’s leading scorer with 14 points (5g, 9a) in 14 games.

OVERTIME HEROICS

The Crunch have played three straight overtime games, and have won their last two. Syracuse is now 5-3 in games decided in overtime, plus 2-2 when the game ends in a shootout.

Waltteri Merelä delivered the overtime win Friday at Rochester. It marked his first career overtime goal in North America. He now has eight goals and 18 points in 28 Crunch games this season.

Cole Koepke followed with the overtime goal 18 seconds into the extra session Saturday against the Amerks. It was Koepke’s second overtime goal of his career (also on Jan. 19, 2022, at Rochester). Since the beginning of January Koepke has logged points in 10 of 14 games, notching 12 points (7g, 5a). He is tied for second on the team with 11 goals and he has 21 points in 34 games this season. 


UPCOMING WEEK 

Wednesday, February 14 at Belleville | 7 p.m.        

The Crunch spend Valentine’s Day in Belleville as they face the Senators at CAA Arena Wednesday night. It’s the fourth game of the eight-game season series between the clubs. The Senators are one of two teams (also Springfield) that have played the Crunch this season and have not lost. Belleville took two wins in Syracuse leading into the All-Star Break, dropping the Crunch to 0-1-1-1 in the series.

The Sens split two games against Utica last weekend in their first two games after the break. They are 21-18-2-3 and have 47 points, good for fifth place in the tight North Division.

Saturday, February 17 at Lehigh Valley | 7:05 p.m.   

The Crunch make their lone trip of the season to the PPL Center in Allentown when they take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday. It’s the first of two meetings between the clubs; the Phantoms are the final team the Crunch have not yet played this season. Lehigh Valley won two shootout games last weekend and enters the week – which only features its matchup with the Crunch – two points out of a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.

The Crunch are 14-3-0-1 in 18 meetings against the Phantoms since their move to Lehigh Valley ahead of the 2014-15 season.

WEEK 18 RESULTS

Friday, February 9 | Game 44 at Rochester | W, 3-2 (OT)

Syracuse        0 2 0 1 – 3     Shots: 12-6-6-1-19  PP: 0/3

Rochester      2 0 0 0 – 2     Shots: 12-4-5-0-21  PP: 1/4

2nd Period-Walcott 10 (Carlile, Crozier), 7:19. Stephens 5 (Carroll, Groshev), 15:53. Overtime-Merelä 8 (Carlile), 0:38. . . . Tomkins 9-7-1 (21 shots-19 saves) A-6,491

Saturday, February 10 | Game 45 vs. Rochester | W, 3-2 (OT)

Rochester      2 0 0 0 – 2     Shots: 8-6-11-0-25  PP: 1/4

Syracuse        2 0 0 1 – 3     Shots: 15-12-7-2-36 PP: 0/2

1st Period-Edmonds 4 (Allard, Goncalves), 8:09. Thompson 5 (Finley), 17:55. Overtime-Koepke 11 (Carlile, Finley), 0:18. . . . Alnefelt 10-5-4 (25 shots-23 saves) A-6,234

CategoryAverage/TotalAHL Rank (Prev)
Power Play17.1% (28-for-165) 22nd (19th)
Penalty Kill84.3% (156-for-185)5th (4th)
Goals For3.11 GFA (140)T-14th (T-13th)
Goals Against2.69 GAA (121)4th (3rd)
Shots For29.09 SF/G (1309)20th (20th)
Shots Against26.60 SA/G (1197)2nd (3rd)
Penalty Minutes13.24 PIM/G (596)14th (13th)
Category Leader
Points38Goncalves
Goals12Chaffee
Assists31Goncalves
PIM77Element
Plus/Minus+24Myers
Wins10Alnefelt
GAA2.35Alnefelt
Save %.909Alnefelt
North DivisionGPWLOTLSOLPTSPCTGFGAPIMHOMEROADLAST 10STREAKS/O
1. Syracuse45261432570.63314012159613-6-3-113-8-0-17-2-1-02-0-1-02-2
2. Cleveland44261521550.62514914258513-9-1-013-6-1-13-5-1-10-1-1-02-1
3. Toronto43201562480.5581571326169-8-4-011-7-2-26-2-1-10-1-0-02-2
4. Rochester43211651480.5581381555009-8-3-012-8-2-15-3-2-01-0-2-03-1
5. Belleville44211823470.53412514174311-7-1-210-11-1-13-6-0-11-0-0-01-3
6. Laval45201942460.51115816475812-8-2-18-11-2-15-5-0-01-0-0-02-2
7. Utica44191843450.51113714447210-9-1-39-9-3-05-5-0-00-1-0-01-3
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