Game 13 Preview: Crunch at Monsters



The Crunch play the first of two consecutive games against the Cleveland Monsters at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Tonight marks the fourth of eight head-to-head matches in the season series.

The Crunch (5-5-1-1) are winless in three straight games (0-2-0-1) and are off to a 1-3-0-1 start to November. In their last game, the Crunch rallied from deficits of 1-0, 2-1 and 4-2 to earn a standings point in a shootout loss to Hershey.

The Monsters (5-3-1-3) also have just one win in November (1-2-0-1) with a pair of matches against Belleville and Rochester. They suffered their first shutout loss of the season, 4-0, at the hands of the Amerks last weekend.


The Crunch were nipped in a shootout, 5-4, by the Hershey Bears at Upstate Medical University Arena Saturday night.

The teams traded goals in the opening 1:15 of the game. Beck Malenstyn tallied for the Bears 43 seconds into the game and Sean Day answered for the Crunch at 1:15 to level the game 1-1. Joe Snively scored a power-play goal for the Bears to make it 2-1 at 11:25 before Remi Elie netted his first goal with the Crunch with five minutes left in the first period to tie the game at two.

The Bears grabbed a 4-2 lead in the second period by netting two goals in eight seconds. Snively scored his second of the game at 8:23 and on the ensuing play Ryan Dmowski tapped in a cross-ice pass double the advantage at 8:31.

Syracuse surged in the third period. Elie potted his second of the game to cut the deficit to one 23 seconds into the period. Later in the frame, Andrej Sustr connected on the power play to tie the game 4-4 at 12:29, eventually sending the game into overtime.

In the shootout, Gage Goncalves scored for the Crunch while Mike Sgarbossa and Joe Snively cashed in for the Bears to give Hershey the bonus point.


The Crunch have gone winless in three straight games for the second time this season; they dropped three straight (0-2-1-0) Oct. 16-23 before rattling off three consecutive wins. They enter tonight’s game in sixth place in the North Division with a 0.500 points percentage.

Charles Hudon logged a season-high three points—all assists—in the team’s shootout loss to Hershey Saturday. It was Hudon’s second career three-assist game and his 11th career three-point game; his only other game with three assists came Feb. 26, 2015. The veteran forward also eclipsed the 100 career AHL assists mark in the game. The Alma, Quebec native leads the Crunch with 11 points (4g, 7a) in 11 games this season and he is up to 208 points (106g, 102a) in 264 career AHL games.

He leads Gabriel Dumont (6g, 4a) and Sean Day (2g, 8a) by one point for the Crunch scoring lead. With an assist Saturday, Dumont has produced at least one point in eight of 12 games played this season, including two of three against Cleveland. Day’s 10 points rank tied for fifth in the AHL among defensemen and his eighth assists lead the Crunch and are fourth among league blueliners.


Power forward Remi Elie had his strongest game of the season Saturday against the Hershey Bears. The veteran forward, in his first season with the Crunch, helped the Crunch earn a standings point with a three-point effort (2g, 1a). It was his third career two-goal game in the AHL and his second career three-point performance; Elie last posted three points in a game Nov. 12, 2016.

The Cornwall, Ontario native has appeared in seven games this season for the Crunch, recording five points (2g, 3a). He missed the team’s first five games while recovering from a preseason injury.


The Monsters are in fourth place in the North Division at 5-3-1-3 and a 0.583 points percentage. Cleveland’s minus-6 goal differential is second-worst in the North Division, but they have managed to collect points in nine of 12 games this season.

Rookie Tyler Angle is the first Cleveland player to reach 10 points this season. He leads the team with 10 points—all assists—and he is tied for second among all AHL rookies in assists. Brendan Gaunce and Carson Meyer are tied for the team lead with four goals apiece.

J-F Berube and Daniil Tarasov have shared the Cleveland net this season. The veteran Berube is 3-1-2 in six games, posting a 2.09 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. Tarasov, an AHL rookie, is 1-2-2 to go with a 3.74 goals-against average and a .874 save percentage. The two have alternated starts since the beginning of November; if that trend continues Tarasov would be in line for the start.


The Crunch enter tonight’s fourth head-to-head match with the Monsters riding an 11-game point streak against Cleveland (8-0-2-1) dating to the 2018-19 season. Syracuse has collected five of six possible points this season, going 2-0-1-0 in three games, including a 1-0-1-0 mark at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Jimmy Huntington, who will celebrate his 23rd birthday tomorrow, leads all scorers in the series with five points (4g, 1a). He netted a hat trick in the Crunch’s overtime loss in Cleveland Oct. 16. Antoine Morand paces all players with four assists in three games; four of his five points this season have come against Cleveland.

Offensively, the Monsters are led by defenseman Jake Christiansen’s four points (1g, 3a) in three games. Carson Meyer and Justin Scott are the only Monsters with two goals in the series.

Expected Crunch starter Amir Miftakhov has not seen action against Cleveland this season. J-F Berube collected the lone win against the Crunch while Daniil Tarasov is 0-1-1 with a 3.45 goals-against average and a .881 save percentage.


The Crunch converted just once in 12 power-play chances over their three games last week. The goal was a timely one—it was Andrej Sustr’s third-period game-tying goal—but the week dropped the Crunch to 14th in the league at 19.6%. They are 2-for-9 (22.2%) against the Monsters.

Cleveland’s power play has struggled this season and ranks in the bottom five in the AHL. The Monsters are 7-for-52 (13.5%) this season and rank 27th in the league. They are 1-for-13 against the Crunch.

Tonight features two of the top penalty killing teams in the league. The Crunch are tied with Manitoba for first in the league with an 87.8% penalty kill. The Monsters are tied with Providence for fifth at 87.0%.

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