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Syracuse Crunch Weekly Release – January 30, 2024

Credit: Syracuse Crunch

CRUNCH WIN FIFTH STRAIGHT HOME GAME  

The Crunch split a pair of games in Week 16 and capped a six-game homestand with five straight wins.

Syracuse finished its homestand Friday with a 4-2 win over the Laval Rocket. It was the Crunch’s fifth straight win – at home and overall – matching a season high in both categories. The Crunch took to the road on Saturday but saw the Utica Comets rally for a 3-1 win, ending their winning streak at five.

The Crunch are 7-2-0-0 so far in 2024 and they are two points behind Cleveland for first place in the North Division. The Crunch are 23-13-2-2 and have 50 points heading into the final week before the All-Star Break.

TOP PERFORMERS

Goaltender Hugo Alnefelt made 29 saves to earn his eighth win of the season Friday against the Laval Rocket. He made 12 saves in the third period to extend his personal winning streak to four games.

Alnefelt, 22, is 8-5-3 this season with a 2.36 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage in 17 games.  During his winning streak, he has played to a .926 save percentage, allowing nine goals on 122 shots.

Since Dec. 2, the Swede is 6-2-1 with a 2.09 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. Alnefelt is 35-24-9 in his Crunch career, ranking ninth in team history with 35 wins.

***

Joe Carroll was one of two players to record a point in both games last weekend for the Crunch. The rookie nabbed an assist on Friday’s opening goal with a nifty pass during an odd-man rush. He then scored the first goal of the game Saturday in Utica with a shot from the left circle. The goal was his 10th of the season, making Carroll the third player on the Crunch with at least 10; he is one behind both Mitchell Chaffee and Felix Robert for the team lead.

The Carp, Ontario native ranks seventh on the team in scoring with 17 points (10g, 7a) in 31 games. Saturday was the first time all season the Crunch have lost when he has scored a goal (7-1-0-0). 

REINFORCEMENTS ARRIVE FROM TAMPA

With the Tampa Bay Lightning having played their final game before the NHL All-Star Break, three players were returned to the Crunch.

Defenseman Max Crozier and forwards Mitchell Chaffee and Waltteri Merelä all rejoined the Crunch ahead of the team’s final three games before the AHL All-Star Break. 

Crozier played seven games for the Lightning and nabbed his first two career points – both assists – while averaging 14:30 of ice time. One of his assists came Jan. 25 on Mitchell Chaffee’s first career NHL goal in Chaffee’s fourth career game. That came exactly one week after Merelä potted his first NHL goal versus Minnesota.

Chaffee is tied for the Crunch lead with 11 goals and has 25 points in 33 games. Merelä had seven points during a five-game scoring streak prior to his recall; he has 16 (6g, 10a) in 23 games this season. Crozier has appeared in 25 Crunch games and contributed seven points (1g, 6a). 


UPCOMING WEEK 

Wednesday, January 31 at Rochester | 7:05 p.m.       

The Crunch closes January with a trip to Rochester in the fifth of 12 head-to-head meetings against the Amerks. The teams have split the previous four, but the Crunch have earned a point in each game (2-0-1-1). The road team has won all four contests, with the Crunch collecting two regulation wins at Blue Cross Arena. Exactly a quarter of the Crunch’s remaining schedule is against the Americans.

Friday, February 2 vs. Belleville | 7 p.m.        

The Crunch host the Belleville Senators for the first time this season Friday night. The Senators won the only previous meeting this season, 3-2, in a shootout Nov. 8 at CAA Arena in Belleville. The Senators will enter the weekend winless in their past six (0-5-0-1) after dropping three games in the Midwest against Milwaukee and Grand Rapids last week.

Saturday, February 3 vs. Belleville | 7 p.m.      

The Crunch rematch against the Senators in the final game before the AHL All-Star Break. Syracuse is 6-2-0-1 in its last nine home games against the Senators. It’s the 10th time this season that the Crunch go back-to-back against the same opponent.

WEEK 16 RESULTS

Friday, January 26 | Game 39 vs. Laval | W, 4-2

Laval               1 1 0 – 2     Shots: 11-8-12-31       PP: 0/1

Syracuse        2 1 1 – 4     Shots: 6-11-9-26         PP: 0/2

1st Period-Robert 11 (Carroll, Thompson), 1:48. Fortier 4 (Finley), 7:01. 2nd Period-Day 2 (Dumont), 1:57. Koepke 8 (Dumont, Groshev), 19:45 (EN). . . . Alnefelt 8-5-3 (31 shots-29 saves) A-6,145

Saturday, January 27 | Game 40 at Utica | L, 3-1

Syracuse        1 0 0 – 1     Shots: 13-7-3-23         PP: 0/2

Utica               0 0 3 – 3     Shots: 10-14-5-29       PP: 0/3

1st Period-Carroll 10 (Koepke, Carlile), 13:56. . . . Tomkins 8-6-1 (28 shots-26 saves) A-3,287

CategoryAverage/TotalAHL Rank (Prev)
Power Play17.6% (27-for-153) T-20th (17th)
Penalty Kill84.4% (145-for-171)5th (7th)
Goals For3.20 GFA (128)12th (12th)
Goals Against2.73 GAA (109)5th (T-5th)
Shots For29.08 SF/G (1163)21st (20th)
Shots Against26.93 SA/G (1077)3rd (3rd)
Penalty Minutes13.83 PIM/G (553)11th (10th)
Category Leader
Points35Goncalves
Goals11Chaffee|Robert
Assists28Goncalves
PIM70Element
Plus/Minus+21Myers
Wins8Alnefelt|Tomkins
GAA2.36Alnefelt
Save %.908Alnefelt
North DivisionGPWLOTLSOLPTSPCTGFGAPIMHOMEROADLAST 10STREAKS/O
1. Cleveland40251311520.65013612952112-7-0-013-6-1-14-5-0-10-2-0-02-1
2. Syracuse40231322500.62512810955312-5-2-111-8-0-17-3-0-00-1-0-02-2
3. Rochester38201431440.5791281404439-7-2-011-7-1-17-2-1-01-0-0-03-1
4. Laval40181642420.52514014869811-6-2-17-10-2-17-2-1-00-2-0-02-2
5. Belleville40181723410.51311313169410-6-1-28-11-1-13-6-0-10-5-0-11-3
6. Toronto38171461410.5391371175498-7-4-09-7-2-14-4-2-01-0-1-02-1
7. Utica39161643390.5001211274329-8-1-37-8-3-06-3-1-02-0-0-00-3
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