Game 36 Preview: Crunch at Comets




The Crunch play the first of three straight games against the Utica Comets tonight in the opening game of a home-and-home series at the Adirondack Bank Center.


It’s the fourth match of the Galaxy Cup series and the first one to be played in Utica. The Crunch have won the first three games, outscoring the Comets, 18-5.




The Crunch slipped past the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 3-2, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza Wednesday night.


Alex Barré-Boulet put the Crunch ahead, 1-0, 2:27 into the second period. He fired a shot from above the right circle that glanced in off the arm of goaltender Filip Lindberg for his 10th goal of the season. After Drake Caggiula tied the game for the Penguins midway through the period, Gabriel Dumont redirected a feed from Gage Goncalves in the final minute to make it 2-1. 


Daniel Walcott made it 3-1 at 12:28 of the third period by stuffing home another pass from Goncalves. The Penguins scored late with their net empty to make it 3-2, but Hugo Alnefelt shut the door to earn his sixth straight win. 




The Crunch have earned four straight wins for their third streak this season of at least four straight victories. They also have a five-game and another four-game winning streak this year. The Crunch have outscored their opponents 20-8 during the winning streak. They are 17-13-2-3 this season and remain in fourth place in the North Division with 39 points.


Alex Barré-Boulet grabbed the team’s scoring lead with his goal Wednesday at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He ranks fourth overall in the AHL with 42 points (10g, 32a) in 33 games. He also became the fifth player on the Crunch to reach 10 goals this season; only the Toronto Marlies (seven players) have more than the Crunch’s five players with 10 or more goals.




Crunch captain Gabriel Dumont’s goal Wednesday against the Penguins was his 400th career AHL point. The veteran, who is in his fifth season with the Crunch, has skated in 651 career AHL games, producing 176 goals and 224 assists. His 176 goals rank eighth among active AHL players.


Dumont will represent the Crunch at the upcoming 2022 AHL All-Star Classic in Laval. He has points in six straight games and has scored a goal in four of the last five contests. He has 15 points (9g, 6a) in 22 games this season.




Gage Goncalves has rattled off three consecutive multi-point games for the first time in his career. He notched two primary assists to spur the Crunch to their win against the Penguins Wednesday night. That came on the heels of his first career two-goal game on his birthday (Monday) and a one goal, one assist outing Saturday at Lehigh Valley.


Goncalves, 22, has logged a point in six straight games (4g, 5a) and ranks fifth on the team with 29 points (8g, 21a) in 35 games this season.




The Comets have not played since losing to the Crunch in Syracuse on Monday afternoon. It was just their second regulation loss in the last 15 games (11-2-2-0) and they remain in second place in the North Division with 44 points and a 19-11-5-1 record. 


Utica has a 10-4-2-1 record at the Adirondack Bank Center this season and the Comets have won six straight at home, one shy of Colorado for the longest in the AHL this season.


Nolan Stevens scored the Comets lone goal in Monday’s loss to the Crunch. It was his 11th goal of the season and gives him 25 points on the year. That only trails Graeme Clarke (31 points) among Comets players this season.


Nico Daws took the loss in net, dropping his to 10-8-1 with a 2.76 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage. Akira Schmid spent a chunk of time in New Jersey, but he is 7-1-3 for the Comets with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage.




Alex Barré-Boulet moved into a tie for the Crunch’s franchise scoring record with his goal Wednesday against the Penguins. It was his 241st career point for the Crunch, tying with Brad Moran for the Crunch record. Barré-Boulet has reached that mark in 235 games versus Moran’s 334 games.


Last week, Barré-Boulet moved past Moran for the most assists in team history with number 144. He is also five goals away from becoming the third player in team history with 100 goals.



Forward Jaydon Dureau celebrates his 22nd birthday today by being reassigned to the Crunch from the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. Dureau has been with the Solar Bears since Nov. 11 and he has skated in 23 games, producing 12 points (4g, 8a). 


The rookie had one assist in seven games for the Crunch at the start of the season.




The Galaxy Cup series really takes off tonight as the Crunch and Comets begin a home-and-home series. The teams are playing each other four times in a five-game span, which began Monday.


The Crunch have won the first three games of this year’s series after winning just three all season against the Comets (3-10-1-0). 


Darren Raddysh leads all players in scoring with seven points (1g, 6a) in three games, including his five-assist performance in the first match. In total, 18 different Crunch players have picked up a point. 


Graeme Clarke paces the Comets with three points, and only nine different Comets have a point. 



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