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Syracuse Crunch Weekly Release

The Syracuse Crunch Weekly Release October 17, 2023 edition.

CRUNCH OPEN 30TH SEASON WITH TWO WINS

The Crunch began their 30th season in franchise history with back-to-back wins. It’s their first 2-0-0-0 start to a season since 2016-17. 

Syracuse took to the road and defeated the Utica Comets, 4-3, in overtime in the season opener Friday night. Felix Robert delivered the overtime winner with 15 seconds remaining to earn the win. In the team’s 30th home opener the following night, Daniel Walcott broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Crunch knocked off the Bridgeport Islanders, 4-2.

With their 2-0-0-0 start, the Crunch sit atop the North Division after the first week of the season. They make their lone trip to Cleveland in Week 2 for back-to-back games beginning Friday. 

TOP PERFORMERS

Felix Robert began the season with a team-high three points (2g, 1a) in Week 1. The fourth-year pro scored his first career overtime game-winning goal to give the Crunch a 4-3 win at Utica in the season opener on Friday. He then followed up with a multi-point game (1g, 1a) in the team’s home opener on Saturday.

The Lambton, Quebec native started last season with a team-high five points (2g, 3a) in the first week of the season. He then proceeded to net a hat trick in the 2022-23 home opener; Robert has six points (4g, 2a) in two home openers with the Crunch.

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Lucas Edmonds potted goals in both games in Week 1, tying Robert for the team lead out of the gates. Edmonds whipped in a power-play goal against the Comets on Friday; he scored nine goals in eight games versus Utica last year. He then potted a rebound the next night against Bridgeport. 

As a rookie last season, Edmonds didn’t score his second goal until Dec. 21 in the Crunch’s 26th game. From that point forward, he scored the third-most goals (14) until the end of the regular season. He had 27 points (15g, 12a) in 49 games in 2022-23.  

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Ilya Usau kickstarted the Crunch offense with a multi-point outing in the season opener against the Comets. Usau scored the first goal in the entire AHL with his power-play strike 2:20 into the first period Friday night. He added an assist on Lucas Edmonds’ power-play goal later in the first for his first multi-point performance since Nov. 26, 2022.

Usau finished with 16 points (4g, 12a) in 57 games as a rookie last season.

A SOLID START

The Joel Bouchard era is off and running in Syracuse. The new head coach guided the team to a pair of wins, giving the Crunch their first 2-0-0-0 start since 2016-17; that season was former head coach Ben Groulx’s first year at the helm.

It’s the seventh time in team history that the Crunch have begun a season with back-to-back wins. They have three previous starts of 3-0-0-0 or better (2008-09, 1996-97 and 1995-96).

Syracuse improved to 13-10-2-2 (with three ties) all-time in season openers, and 15-9-1-1 all-time in home openers, posting four ties along the way.


UPCOMING WEEK 

Friday, October 20 at Cleveland | 7 p.m.    

The Crunch make their lone trip of the season to Cleveland for a two-game set, beginning Friday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The Monsters opened the season with a split in Pennsylvania, winning at Lehigh Valley on Saturday before falling in Hershey on Sunday. Friday marks the Monsters’ home opener; it will be the fourth time since 2019-20 and the fifth time ever in which the Crunch have been the Monsters’ home-opening opponent. The teams have split the previous four, with Cleveland prevailing in a shootout, 6-5, last season.

Cleveland did not qualify for the playoffs in 2022-23, but the Monsters did win the season series versus the Crunch, capturing three wins in four matches.

Saturday, October 21 at Cleveland | 7 p.m.          

The Crunch and Monsters will wrap up their two-game set with one team looking for a sweep of the weekend series. The Crunch swept Cleveland’s home-opening weekend in 2019-20. The teams split in 2021-22, but the Monsters swept last year’s two-game set with both games being decided in a shootout. Cleveland finished 16-16-4-0 at home last season.

WEEK 1 RESULTS

Friday, October 13 | Game 1 at Utica | W, 4-3 (OT)

Syracuse        2 0 1 1 – 4     Shots: 12-6-5-1-24  PP: 2/5

Utica               1 0 2 0 – 3     Shots: 12-10-9-3-34 PP: 0/4

1st Period-Usau 1 (Chaffee, Thompson), 2:20 (PP). Edmonds 1 (Usau, Fortier), 16:33 (PP). 3rd Period-Koepke 1 (Unassisted), 9:44. Overtime-Robert 1 (Goncalves, Day), 4:45. . . . Kochetkov 1-0-0 (34 shots-31 saves) A-3,604

Saturday, October 14 | Game 2 vs. Bridgeport | W, 4-2

Bridgeport         1 1 0 – 2     Shots: 8-8-7-23        PP: 0/4

Syracuse            2 0 2 – 4     Shots: 13-10-14-37 PP: 1/4

1st Period-Stephens 1 (Robert, Chaffee), 9:09. Edmonds 2 (Myers), 14:48. 3rd Period-Walcott 1 (Lilleberg, Crozier), 8:06. Robert 2 (Goncalves, Thompson), 13:07 (PP). . . . Alnefelt 1-0-0 (23 shots-21 saves) A-6,141

CategoryAverage/TotalAHL Rank (Prev)
Power Play33.3% (3-for-9) T-6th
Penalty Kill100.0% (8-for-8)T-1st
Goals For4.00 GFA (8)T-7th
Goals Against2.50 GAA (5)T-7th
Shots For30.50 SF/G (61)17th
Shots Against28.50 SA/G (57)12th
Penalty Minutes12.00 PIM/G (24)T-15th
Category Leader
Points3Robert
Goals2Edmonds|Robert
Assists2Chaffee|Goncalves|Thompson
PIM4Lilleberg|Walcott
Plus/Minus+14 Players Tied
Wins1Alnefelt|Kochetkov
GAA2.00Alnefelt
Save %.913Alnefelt
North DivisionGPWLOTLSOLPTSPCTGFGAPIMHOMEROADLAST 10STREAKS/O
1. Syracuse2200041.00085241-0-0-01-0-0-02-0-0-02-0-0-00-0
2. Toronto2101030.75097521-0-1-00-0-0-01-0-1-01-0-1-00-0
3. Rochester2101030.75088360-0-1-01-0-0-01-0-1-01-0-1-00-0
4. Belleville2110020.50055310-0-0-01-1-0-01-1-0-00-1-0-00-0
5. Cleveland2110020.50077250-0-0-01-1-0-01-1-0-00-1-0-00-0
6. Utica2011010.25059330-0-1-00-1-0-00-1-1-00-1-1-00-0
7. Laval2020000.000711210-2-0-00-0-0-00-2-0-00-2-0-00-0

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