Game 11 Preview: Crunch at Comets

game-11-preview:-crunch-at-comets

CRUNCH TAKE THE ICE FOR VETERANS DAY MATCH

 

The Crunch hit the road for a Veterans Day matinee against the Utica Comets at the Adirondack Bank Center. It’s the third of 14 matches in the Galaxy Cup series.

 

The Crunch (5-4-1-0) dropped the final game of their three-game homestand last night against the Bridgeport Islanders, 3-2. 

 

The Comets (7-0-0-0) were off yesterday and last played Sunday in a 4-2 home win against Laval.

 

LAST TIME OUT

 

The Crunch scored first, but surrendered the final three goals in a 3-1 loss to the Bridgeport Islanders last night.

 

Gabriel Dumont opened the scoring at 13:29 of the first period to give the Curnch a 1-0 lead. Jesse Lees flung a shot from the right point that made its way to the net. A scrambled rebound was deposited by Dumont for his sixth goal of the season.

 

The Islanders scored the next three goals. Grant Hutton took a point shot late in the first period and the puck tipped off the stick of Daniel Walcott past goalie Amir Miftakhov to tie the game. In the third period, Chris Terry redirected a puck in the slot for a power-play goal to put Bridgeport up 2-1 at 9:44. Kyle MacLean cleaned up loose change late in the third to make it 3-1.

 

The Crunch outshout the Islanders, 36-29, but came up empty on six man-advantages.

 

SCOUTING THE CRUNCH

 

The Crunch enter their lone Thursday game of the season with a 5-4-1-0 record after going 1-2-0-0 during their three-game homestand. They rank fifth in the North Division with a 0.550 points percentage.

 

The Crunch have fared better on the road through the first 10 games of the season. Syracuse holds a 3-1-1-0 record away from Upstate Medical University Arena, a trend that is reflected across the North Division with five of the seven teams playing at least 0.500 hockey on the road. The Crunch’s last two road games both went to overtime (Oct. 27 at Hershey and Oct. 30 at Lehigh Valley).

 

Last night the Crunch outshot the Islanders by seven. It marked the eighth time in 10 games played this season that the Crunch have out shot their opponent; the Crunch are just 3-4-1-0 in those games. Syracuse is 2-0-0-0 in games when being out shot.

 

Daniel Walcott collected an assist on the Crunch’s lone goal last night, giving him points in back-to-back games. Walcott missed six games with an injury, but has two points (1g, 1a) in his three games since returning last weekend.

 

SCOUTING THE COMETS

 

The Comets remain the lone unbeaten team in the AHL with a perfect 7-0-0-0 record in their first year as an affiliate of the New Jersey Devils. Last season in Binghamton, the Devils AHL affiliate finished with seven wins (7-20-5-2) in 35 games. 

 

Five of their seven wins have been at home; Utica’s only two road games were in Syracuse. The Comets have outscored their opponents 30-13 and they lead the league both in goals for (4.29) and goals against (1.86) per game.

 

Veteran Chase De Leo leads the Comets and ranks eighth overall in the AHL with 12 points (1g, 11a) in seven games. He has three power-play assists, which also leads the team.

 

Utica’s next two leading scorers-Jesper Boqvist and Tyce Thompson-are both on recall to New Jersey. Thompson netted a hat trick against the Crunch last week. In their place, the Comets received Marian Studenic and Frederik Gauthier from New Jersey. Neither have appeared in a game yet this season for the Comets, but have combined for 13 games in the NHL this season.

 

Akira Schmid (3-0-0/1.31/.953) and Nico Daws (4-0-0/2.26/.933) have split the Utica crease this season. Both have one win over the Crunch. 

 

HEAD-TO-HEAD

 

Tonight is the third of 14 regular season matches between the clubs in the Galaxy Cup series. It’s the first of seven at the Adirondack Bank Center. The Comets have claimed two victories in Syracuse to begin the season series. The Crunch haven’t lost three straight games to the Comets since Jan. 2-16, 2019 when they lost three straight in Utica; the Crunch rebounded with five straight wins over the Comets over the following two months.

 

The Comets have defeated the Crunch by scores of 2-1 and 6-3 this season. Chase De Leo paces the teams with four points (1g, 3a) in the two-game series. The Crunch have four players tied at two points each against the Comets. 

 

Hugo Alnefelt has started both games against Utica, while Akira Schmid and Nico Daws have each started one for the Comets.

 

DUMONT STAYS HOT

 

Gabriel Dumont extended his goal-scoring streak to a career-high four games with the Crunch’s lone goal last night. It’s the longest active streak in the AHL and it is tied for the second-longest in the league this season behind Rochester’s Michael Mersch (six games).

 

The veteran forward leads the Crunch with nine points in 10 games and he is tied with Jimmy Huntington for the team lead with six goals. Dumont has matched his best 10-game start with six goals; he also produced six in the first 10 games last season with Iowa when he began the season on a 10-game scoring streak.

 

SOMPPI RETURNS

 

Last night marked the return of Crunch forward Otto Somppi to the Syracuse lineup. The Finnish forward was injured in the team’s season opener Oct. 15 in Cleveland; Somppi was taken off the ice on a stretcher in that game.

 

The 23-year-old is coming off a 26-point season over 32 games as he established new career highs in points, goals (12) and assists (14). He has been held scoreless in two games this season. Somppi signed a one-year contract extension with the Lightning this summer.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

 

Today’s game featured the top two penalty-killing units in the AHL. The Comets are back in first in the league with a 89.3% penalty kill, allowing three goals in 28 chances this season. The Crunch are responsible for two of those goals; they went 2-for-7 last week against Utica. Syracuse dropped back to second after allowing a power-play goal last night. The Crunch are 31-for-35 (88.6%) on the penalty kill this season, including 16-for-17 (94.1%) on the road.

 

The Crunch’s power play came up empty in six chances last night, including a late 5-on-3 chance. Syracuse is tied with Charlotte for 13th in the league at 20.0%. On the road, the Crunch are 6-for-22 (27.3%).

 

Utica’s power play cracked the Crunch’s code last week, going 2-for-3 against the Crunch. In addition to their top-ranked penalty kill, the Comets feature the league’s top power play at 29.4% (5-for-17).

 

 

Players Mentioned

Gabriel Dumont

#40 Gabriel Dumont

F
5′ 10″
180 lbs

Jimmy Huntington

#15 Jimmy Huntington

F
6′ 0″
200 lbs

Otto Somppi

#16 Otto Somppi

F
6′ 1″
190 lbs

Daniel Walcott

#85 Daniel Walcott

F
6′ 1″
175 lbs

Hugo Alnefelt

#60 Hugo Alnefelt

G
6′ 2″
185 lbs

Amir Miftakhov

#35 Amir Miftakhov

G
6′ 0″
182 lbs

Jesse Lees

#8 Jesse Lees

D
5′ 11″
187 lbs

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