Game 37 Preview: Crunch vs. Checkers



The Crunch finish off their four-game regular season series with the Charlotte Checkers tonight at Upstate Medical University Arena.

Syracuse (16-16-3-1) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the Belleville Senators last night to earn a split in their two-game set at CAA Arena.

The Checkers (22-16-2-0) also won last night, defeating Rochester 5-2 to finish a 1-1 series at Blue Cross Arena this week.


The Crunch jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead and cruised to a 4-2 win over the Belleville Senators last night at CAA Arena.

Syracuse dominated the first period and capitalized on three of their 16 shots to score three goals in a period for the fourth time this season. Charles Hudon opened the scoring with a breakaway strike at 2:31. He netted his second goal off the rush at 15:23 and then Daniel Walcott scored 28 seconds later to pad the advantage. The Crunch were credited with the final 16 shots of the period and outshot Belleville 16-3 in the frame.

The Senators clawed one back with a power-play goal from Lassi Thomson in the second period. Sean Day fired home another odd-man rush goal for the Crunch in the third to re-instate a three-goal advantage. The Sens potted one late while with an empty net, but got no closer than 4-2 as the Crunch evened the season series at two wins apiece.


The Crunch split two games in Belleville and stand at 0.500 at 16-16-3-1. Syracuse still holds the final playoff position in the North Division, ranking in fifth place out of seven teams.

Sean Day has found a scoring touch lately, netting two goals in his past three games. The defenseman scored the final goal in the Crunch’s 4-2 victory over the Senators last night. That score helped Syracuse to its first win in four games, snapping a three-game losing skid. Day leads all Crunch defensemen in scoring with 21 points (5g, 16a) in 33 appearances.

Simon Ryfors posted assists in both games at Belleville. The center got back on the scoresheet for the first time since Jan. 15, snapping a seven-game pointless streak. Ryfors has 13 points (4g, 9a) in 36 games this season.


Charlotte comes into tonight’s matchup fresh off the heels of a 5-2 win over Rochester last night. Checkers captain Zac Dalpe registered a hat trick in the win, becoming the fourth Checker to do so this season. Charlotte is in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, with a 0.575 points percentage.

Charlotte is wrapping up a week-long trip to New York tonight. This is the Checkers fifth consecutive road game against either Syracuse, Utica or Rochester. Charlotte is 3-1 on the road trip so far, including a 6-1 victory over Syracuse at Upstate Medical University Arena last Saturday. The Checkers’ lone loss of the road stint came against the Amerks on Wednesday.

After scoring his first AHL hat trick against Syracuse last Saturday, Scott Wilson has registered goals in both games in Rochester, bringing his goal streak to three.


Earlier this week, the Tampa Bay Lightning traded Jimmy Huntington for Anthony Richard. Richard has played in one game for the Crunch since the trade – last night in Belleville – and he will make his home debut tonight against the Checkers.

Prior to the trade, the Quebec native had 12 points (7g, 5a) in 31 games with the Milwaukee Admirals, the Nashville Predators’ AHL affiliate. The left winger has 152 points (79g, 73a) in 323 games in the AHL.


Alex Barré-Boulet notched three assists in the two games at Belleville, including his seventh multi-point game of the season last night.

The fourth-year pro has 21 points (3g, 18a) in 19 games this season. That has boosted his career total to 157 points (72g, 85a) in 163 Crunch games since the 2018-19 season. He jumped into a tie with Yanni Gourde (215 games played) for eighth on the Crunch’s all-time scoring list; the duo is now tied for second in scoring during the Lightning affiliation behind Cory Conacher (205 points).


Daniel Walcott scored the game-winning goal for the Crunch last night in Belleville. The first period marker snapped a streak of 13 games without a goal or a point for the alternate captain. Last night was the first-time all season Walcott has scored the game-winner for the Crunch and the tenth time in his Crunch career.


Charles Hudon is clicking for the Crunch, tied with Gabriel Dumont for the team lead in goals (15) off the back of a tremendous scoring stretch. Hudon notched three goals during the two-game trip to Belleville. In a broader scope, the forward has fired in nine goals in his last 10 games, including three power-play goals.

The last time Hudon matched that pace was 2019-20 with the Laval Rocket, where he scored nine goals in as many games.


Syracuse has a tall task ahead as they wrap up their season series with Charlotte. The Checkers have won two of the first three games of their four-game series; the teams split a pair in Charlotte before the Checkers routed the Crunch, 6-1, last Saturday.

Charlotte has made itself at home at Upstate Medical University Arena. The teams have met in Syracuse seven times since the 2017-18 season; the Crunch won the first meeting 5-3, but the Checkers own a six-game winning streak in this building. In that six-game span, the Checkers have outscored the Crunch, 32-12, and defeated them in two Crunch home openers.

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