CRUNCH KICK OFF HOMESTAND
The Crunch begin a three-game homestand tonight as they take on the Rochester Americans at Upstate Medical University Arena.
It’s the fourth of 12 head-to-head matches with the home team winning the first three. The Crunch defeated Rochester, 6-2, in their home opener Oct. 22.
The Crunch also play host to Belleville and Utica later this week. The Amerks host Cleveland Friday before traveling to Belleville on Saturday.
LAST TIME OUT
Hugo Alnefelt stopped all 28 shots he faced to shut out the Charlotte Checkers, 4-0, at Bojangles Coliseum Saturday night.
Defenseman Declan Carlile provided the offense for the Crunch, scoring twice in four minutes in the second period to give the Crunch a 2-0 lead. They were Carlile’s first two goals of the season.
Alnefelt made that lead stick for the Crunch, making 20 saves over the final two periods. The Crunch finally put the game away with back-to-back empty-net goals from Darren Raddysh and Simon Ryfors in the final two minutes of regulation.
It was the Crunch’s first road win of the season (1-4-0-2).
SCOUTING THE CRUNCH
The Crunch are in sixth place in the North Division after last week’s win over the Checkers. Syracuse shook off a five-game losing streak (0-4-1-0), improving to 2-5-1-2 on the season.
Defenseman Declan Carlile was a bright spot in the Charlotte series last weekend. Carlile was a +3 through two contests, supplemented by the first multi-goal game of his career. The Merrimack alumnus also recorded his first game-winning goal. He signed an entry-level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning (and an amateur try-out with the Crunch) last March to jump right into the Syracuse lineup for the final 10 regular season games. Carlile has tallied five points (2g, 3a) through 19 career games.
Another new source of production has come from forward Lucas Edmonds. The winger potted the first points of his career last weekend. Edmonds notched an assist in each game at Charlotte. The rookie was drafted in the third round, 86th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2022 NHL Draft. He’s totaled two points (2a) in seven games played.
SCOUTING THE AMERICANS
Rochester comes into tonight’s contest sitting at second place in the North Division with 12 points, trailing only Toronto. The Amerks are coming off a 2-1 loss to Utica on Saturday in the back half of a weekend home-and-home with the Comets. The loss snapped a three-game win streak for Rochester, during which it had scored over five goals per game.
Linus Weissbach paces the Amerks in goal scoring through 10 games. The Swede has notched six goals, three of which have come against the Crunch. Weissbach scored only one goal in 11 games against Syracuse last season. Saturday’s loss in Utica snapped Weissbach’s streak of three straight games with a goal.
In net, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been the main man between the pipes for Rochester. The former second round pick of the Sabres is 5-3-0 through eight games, and has a 3.34 goals-against average.
RADDYSH READY FOR 300
Darren Raddysh racked up points in all three games in Week 4 to extend his scoring streak to four games (3g, 2a). Raddysh has collected at least one point in nine of the Crunch’s 10 games this season. He leads AHL defensemen and is tied for fifth overall in the league with 13 points (5g, 8a).
Raddysh, who is set to play in his 300th career AHL game tonight, has 133 career points (34g, 99a). He already has more than half of his total points from last season (7-18—25) in 10 games versus 61 games.
ALNEFELT ACES TEST
Goaltender Hugo Alnefelt collected his first win of the season, and did so in shutout fashion Saturday at Charlotte. The 21-year-old turned aside all 28 Checkers shots to earn his first career shutout. Alnefelt did combine for a team shutout with Max Lagace in Game 4 of the North Division Semifinals against Laval (May 17).
The Swedish-born netminder improved to 1-1-1 on the season, boasting a 2.71 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. Last season, Alnefelt saw action in 23 regular season games for the Crunch, logging a 10-7-4 record.
It was the Crunch’s first ever shutout against the Charlotte Checkers. Charlotte becomes the 33rd different AHL city to host a team shut out in a game by the Crunch since 1994.
BARRÉ-BOULET COLLECTING POINTS
Alex Barré-Boulet has points in seven of the Crunch’s 10 games this season. The forward ended a two-game dry spell with an assist on Declan Carlile’s first goal in the 4-0 win over Charlotte on Saturday.
Last season, Barré-Boulet punctured the stat sheet in eight of his first 10 Crunch games. In that span, the Quebec native scored two goals, the same number of goals Barré-Boulet has scored to start this season.
Barré-Boulet is an even point-per-game player for his career. The fifth-year winger has 212 points in 212 career games. He is currently tied with Joe Motzko for third place on the Crunch’s all-time scoring list.
PK BACK ON TRACK
In the Crunch’s 4-0 win over the Checkers on Saturday, Syracuse went a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill to snap a seven-game stretch in which the Crunch had surrendered a power-play goal.
Before blanking Charlotte on Saturday, Syracuse had allowed nine power-play goals over seven contests including three power-play goals in three games against today’s opponent, the Rochester Americans.
Currently, the Crunch kill off 76.3% of penalties, a mark that ties them for 21st in the league despite tying them for second best in the North Division.