Game 17 Preview: Crunch vs. Bruins



The Crunch continue their Thanksgiving week homestand tonight with the first of back-to-back games against the Providence Bruins at Upstate Medical University Arena.

Tonight marks the first game of their four-game head-to-head series in 2022-23. This is the first time since 1994-95 that the Crunch and Bruins are scheduled to meet more than twice in the regular season.


The Crunch broke a 3-3 tie with back-to-back goals in the third period to top the Toronto Marlies, 5-3, Wednesday at Upstate Medical University Arena.

The Marlies opened the scoring on Kyle Clifford’s end-to-end rush 4:31 into the first period. The Crunch responded four minutes later when Darren Raddysh blasted a shot from the slot for his seventh tally of the season, tying the score at one.

Syracuse opened a two-goal lead in the second period on goals separated by less than a minute. Gemel Smith capitalized on a loose puck at the left circle to swipe in his fifth goal of the year for a 2-1 lead. Moments later, Daniel Walcott scored on a slot-area deflection off a feed from Ilya Usau at 3:03 to make it 3-1. Toronto roared back with two goals later in the frame to send the game into the third period tied at three.

Gage Goncalves broke the tie by stashing in a rebound at 6:23. Less than a minute later, he set up Ryan Jones for a goal from the left circle to make it 5-3, which held as the final score.


Syracuse’s five-game winning streak is the longest active streak in the AHL; a win tonight would make them the sixth team this season to win six straight games. Last season, the Crunch had one winning streak of at least five games (six-game streak April 16-29).

The Crunch (7-6-1-2) have wins in six of their last seven overall to move up to fourth place in the North Division with 17 points. They are above 0.500 for the first time after starting the season 1-5-1-2.

The Crunch have won their last three home games to rebound from a three-game home losing streak (0-2-1-0). They are 4-2-1-0 this season at Upstate Medical University Arena. They’ve outscored their opponents 17-8 during the three-game winning streak.


Despite going winless in the last four games (0-1-2-1), the Bruins sit atop the AHL standings with 25 points in 17 games. The have earned at least a standings point in 15 of their 17 games this season (10-2-3-2). The Bruins began the week by suffering their first road defeat of the season with a 4-3 overtime loss in Rochester on Wednesday.

Vinni Lettieri leads the Providence offense with a point per game pace—logging 17 points (9g, 8a) in 17 games. His nine goals also lead the team. Three rookies—Fabian Lysell, Georgii Merkulov and Luke Toporowski—are right behind Lettieri and have at least 10 points.

Three goalies have seen action in six games this season. Brandon Bussi has start six of the last eight games; the rookie has a 4-0-2 record with a 2.18 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage. He, Keith Kinkaid and Kyle Keyser have combined for a .930 team save percentage.


The Crunch’s five-game winning streak is their longest since a six-game run at the end of last season (April 16-29). During this streak, the Crunch have scored at least four goals in each game, and they’ve scored at least five goals in the last four games. They’ve totaled 27 goals (5.4 goals per game), bringing their goals per game average up from 3.18 to 3.88, which ranks fourth in the AHL.

They have allowed 16 goals in that span, an average of 3.2 goals allowed per game. That has brought down their season average from 3.91 prior to the win streak to 3.69 entering play tonight. As a team the Crunch had a minus-8 goal differential heading into the winning streak and they are now at plus-3.

During the streak, 18 different players have logged at least one point, while 16 different players have scored a goal. Alex Barré-Boulet leads the way with 11 points (2g, 9a). Daniel Walcott’s three goals are the most on the team.


AHL leading scorer Alex Barré-Boulet has been recalled by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The fifth-year-pro leads all AHLers with 24 points (4g, 20a) in 16 games. He has notched at least one point in 12 of the Crunch’s 16 games this season.

He has more points (223) than games played (218) in his AHL career. He ranks third all-time in Crunch history in scoring, and he is just 18 points shy of the franchise record. Since debuting in the AHL in 2018-19, Barré-Boulet ranks third among all players in scoring, behind only T.J. Tynan (266) and Andrew Poturalski (243).

He has appeared in 31 career NHL games with Tampa Bay and Seattle, totaling nine points (6g, 3a).


The Crunch swept last season’s two-game series against Providence. They won, 4-1, at Providence and earned a 2-1 overtime win in Syracuse. Both games took place in April.


Crunch goaltender Hugo Alnefelt left Wednesday’s game with an injury suffered in the first period. In response, the Crunch have recalled goalie Jack LaFontaine from the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL.

LaFontaine, signed by the Crunch to an AHL contract this summer, has appeared in nine games for the Solar Bears this season. He is 3-5-0 with a 3.79 goals-against average and a .894 save percentage.

Last season, LaFontaine played in the NCAA (University of Minnesota), NHL (Carolina), AHL (Chicago) and ECHL (Norfolk).

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