Game 26 Preview: Crunch vs. Rocket




The Crunch play their final home game of the calendar year tonight as they host the Laval Rocket at Upstate Medical University Arena.


It’s the first game of an eight game season series between the clubs after they squared off in the 2022 North Division Semifinals. They meet three times in the next 10 days.




Gabriel Dumont scored twice and the Crunch fended off the Bridgeport Islanders for a 4-3 win Saturday at Upstate Medical University Arena.


The captain opened the scoring with a wrist shot off the rush to give the Crunch a 1-0 lead at 8:56 of the first period. He doubled the team’s lead early in the second period by finishing a tic-tac-toe pass play with Gage Goncalves and Gemel Smith.


From there, the teams traded goals. Andy Andreoff scored a power-play goal to make it 2-1 before Phil Myers responded with a power-play goal of his own for a 3-1 advantage. Kyle MacLean made it 3-2 and then Gemel Smith answered again for a 4-2 lead. 


The Islanders grabbed one in the final seconds of the middle period, but Hugo Alnefelt denied 13 shots in the third period to preserve the win.




The Crunch have won three straight games and have collected wins in five of their last six games. Syracuse is 12-9-2-2 and is in third place in the North Division with 28 points.


Darren Raddysh continues to pace the Crunch in scoring with 34 points. He has logged points in 12 of the last 13 games and in 21 of his 24 total games played this season. He is the top scoring defensemen in the AHL and he ranks second overall to Tucson’s Michael Carcone (39 points). 




The Rocket are trying to dig themselves out of their 4-9-3-0 start to the season. With points in four of the last five games (3-1-0-1) and in six of the last 10 games (5-4-0-1), the Rocket are now 10-14-3-1 this season. They are in last place in the North Division with 24 points.


Laval has struggled on the road with just five wins in 14 games (5-9-0-0). The Rocket have been outscored 58-46 away from Place Bell.


Anthony Richard is Laval’s leading scorer with 31 points, including a league-high 18 goals. He finished last season with the Crunch, producing 26 points in 40 games. He also led the team in scoring during the playoffs. He was recalled to Montreal and made his Canadiens debut Monday. 




Tonight is the final game of the Crunch’s season-high five-game homestand. It’s their first five-game homestand since Oct. 19-Nov. 2, 2019. They are 3-1-0-0 in the first four games of this stretch.


It is also the final home game of the calendar year. 2022 has been a bountiful year on home ice for the Crunch. Syracuse is 7-4-2-0 at Upstate Medical University Arena this season and the Crunch are 28-9-3-1 at home in the regular season since the start of 2022. 


With 60 points earned out of a possible 82, they have played to a 0.732 points percentage this year.




Gemel Smith extended his scoring streak to a career-high 12 games by earning at least one point in both games in Week 10. He scored an empty-net goal in Friday’s win over Springfield before tacking on an assist and the game-winning goal Saturday versus Bridgeport. Smith has picked up 17 points (7g, 10a) during his 12-game scoring streak, which is the longest active streak in the AHL. He is two games shy of the longest streak by a Crunch player during the Lightning affiliation (Boris Katchouk, 14 games).


The Toronto native is third on the Crunch in goals (10), assists (17) and points (27). He has registered at least one point in 19 of his 21 games played.




Crunch captain Gabriel Dumont notched his first multi-goal game of the season to lead the Crunch to their win over the Bridgeport Islanders. 


After missing 13 games due to a lower body injury, Dumont has picked up seven points (4g, 3a) in the last 10 games. He has played to a plus-10 rating in the last seven games. 




Phil Myers collected his first three points with the Crunch in Week 10. The defenseman picked up an assist on the game-winning goal Friday against the Thunderbirds. He then scored his first Crunch goal and added another assist for a multi-point performance Saturday.


The veteran has played five games for the Crunch this season. He has also skated in 11 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning, logging three points (1g, 2a).




The Crunch have earned wins in five of the last six games. Over those six games, the Crunch have outscored their opponents 23-13. They have scored at least four goals in four of the six games (4-0-0-0) and have held their opponent to two or fewer goals in four games.


Syracuse ranks second in the AHL by averaging 3.88 goals per game. Only Calgary (3.96) scores more per game than the Crunch.




Tonight is the first of eight head-to-head meetings between the Crunch and Rocket. The teams met in the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time ever last spring with the Rocket pulling out a 3-2 series win in the North Division Semifinals.


Gabriel Bourque scored the overtime game-winning goal in Game 5 to win the series for Laval.

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