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Syracuse Crunch Weekly Release February 6, 2024

Credit: Syracuse Crunch

CRUNCH IN SECOND PLACE AT ALL-STAR BREAK  

The Crunch earned three of six possible points over their final three games before the AHL All-Star Break in Week 17.

The Crunch closed out January with a 2-1 win at Rochester Wednesday night. The Crunch finished the month with an 8-2-0-0 record and improved to 3-0-0-0 at Blue Cross Arena this season. They returned home for a two-game set against Belleville. The Crunch lost the opener, 3-1, and then dropped the rematch in overtime, 4-3 to head into the All-Star Break.

The Crunch reached the All-Star Break with a 24-14-3-2 record. They have 53 points and are in second place in the North Division, just one point out of first place.

TOP PERFORMER

Cole Koepke had a hand in three of the six Crunch goals last week. Koepke picked up a primary assist on Waltteri Merelä’s shorthanded goal that opened the scoring Wednesday in Rochester. 

The 25-year-old notched his third career two-goal game in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Senators. He opened the scoring with a deflection goal in the first period before adding a power-play goal later in the frame. Koepke became the fourth player on the Crunch to reach 10 goals this season. He has 20 points (10g, 10a) in 32 Crunch games this season. He has also added two assists in eight NHL games with Tampa Bay.

GONCALVES, THOMPSON REPRESENT CRUNCH

Forward Gage Goncalves and defenseman Jack Thompson represented the Crunch at the 2024 AHL All-Star Classic in San Jose on Sunday and Monday. 

During the Skill Competition on Monday, Goncalves participated in the AHLTV Rapid Fire, Devcon Pass and Score, and the Upper Deck Breakaway Relay. He helped the Eastern Conference earn points in both the Rapid Fire and the Pass and Score events.

Thompson saw action in the CCM Hardest Shot, the Devcon Pass and Score, and the Upper Deck Breakaway Relay. Thompson registered 96.0 miles per hour in the Hardest Shot to help earn a point for the team with the highest overall average.

In the All-Star Challenge last night, the North Division played in three games. They tied with the eventual champion Pacific Division, defeated the Central Division in a shootout, and lost to the Atlantic Division in their final game. Thompson contributed one assist. 

THE “SECOND HALF” GETS UNDERWAY

With the AHL All-Star Break in the rearview mirror, the Crunch now set their sights on the final three months of the regular season. They are one point back of the Cleveland Monsters for the top spot in the North Division. Syracuse has finished in second place in two straight seasons.

Coming out of the break they have 29 games remaining – 14 at home and 15 on the road. Rochester is their most frequent opponent the rest of the way, with seven matches still on tap starting with this weekend’s home-and-home series. The Crunch also have five meetings left with Belleville, four against both Utica and Toronto, two versus Laval, Lehigh Valley, and Providence, and one each against Hershey, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Springfield.


UPCOMING WEEK 

Friday, February 9 at Rochester | 7:05 p.m.            

The Crunch come out of the All-Star Break with the opening leg of a home-and-home series against the Rochester Americans Friday at Blue Cross Arena. The Crunch are 3-0-1-1 against the Amerks this season, including a 3-0-0-0 mark in Rochester. They are 17-6-2-0 over the last five seasons on the road against the Amerks. Rochester hit the break with a win in Laval and the Amerks are 21-16-3-1 this season, tying them for third in the North Division with 46 points.

Saturday, February 10 vs. Rochester | 7 p.m.            

The Crunch and Amerks shift the home-and-home series to Syracuse on Saturday night in the seventh match of the season series. In the two previous games at Upstate Medical University Arena, the Amerks have won in a shootout (Nov. 4) and in overtime (Dec. 23). Rochester is 15-9-1-0 in Syracuse over the last five seasons.

WEEK 17 RESULTS

Wednesday, January 31 | Game 41 at Rochester | W, 2-1

Syracuse        1 1 0 – 2     Shots: 5-9-4-18            PP: 0/2

Rochester      1 0 0 – 1     Shots: 10-4-9-23         PP: 0/4

1st Period-Merelä 7 (Koepke, Myers), 7:43. 2nd Period-Chaffee 12 (Robert, Goncalves), 19:45. . . . Alnefelt 9-5-3 (23 shots-22 saves) A-3,516

Friday, February 2 | Game 42 vs. Belleville | L, 3-1

Belleville         0 2 1 – 3     Shots: 3-12-4-19         PP: 1/2

Syracuse        0 0 1 – 1     Shots: 7-5-15-27         PP: 0/1

3rd Period-Groshev 10 (Day, Robert), 16:15. . . . Tomkins 8-7-1 (18 shots-16 saves) A-5,216

Saturday, February 3 | Game 43 vs. Belleville | OTL, 4-3

Belleville         2 0 1 1 – 4     Shots: 9-5-11-7-32  PP: 0/0

Syracuse        2 0 1 0 – 3     Shots: 18-7-13-2-40 PP: 1/3

1st Period-Koepke 9 (Stephens, Walcott), 3:05. Koepke 10 (Thompson, Goncalves), 16:20 (PP). 3rd Period-Finley 6 (Stephens, Myers), 6:34. . . . Alnefelt 9-5-4 (32 shots-28 saves) A-6,077

CategoryAverage/TotalAHL Rank (Prev)
Power Play17.6% (28-for-159) 19th (T-20th)
Penalty Kill84.7% (150-for-177)4th (5th)
Goals For3.12 GFA (134)T-13th (12th)
Goals Against2.72 GAA (117)3th (5th)
Shots For29.02 SF/G (1248)20th (21st)
Shots Against26.77 SA/G (1151)3rd (3rd)
Penalty Minutes13.40 PIM/G (576)13th (11th)
Category Leader
Points37Goncalves
Goals12Chaffee
Assists30Goncalves
PIM77Element
Plus/Minus+24Myers
Wins9Alnefelt
GAA2.37Alnefelt
Save %.909Alnefelt
North DivisionGPWLOTLSOLPTSPCTGFGAPIMHOMEROADLAST 10STREAKS/O
1. Cleveland42261411540.64314513456613-8-0-013-6-1-14-5-0-11-0-0-02-1
2. Syracuse43241432530.61613411757612-6-3-112-8-0-16-3-1-00-1-1-02-2
3. Toronto41191462460.5611501245718-7-4-011-7-2-26-2-1-13-0-1-12-2
4. Rochester41211631460.5611341494769-8-2-012-8-1-16-4-0-01-0-0-03-1
5. Belleville42201723450.53612013573310-6-1-210-11-1-13-6-0-12-0-0-01-3
6. Laval43191842440.51215015773512-8-2-17-10-2-16-4-0-00-1-0-02-2
7. Utica42181743430.51213113946010-9-1-38-8-3-05-4-1-01-0-0-01-3
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