Game 48 Preview: Crunch at Amerks




The Crunch play their third straight road game this afternoon as they take on the Rochester Americans at Blue Cross Arena.


It’s the eighth game of this season’s 12-game series. The Amerks have won five of the first seven meetings, including a 4-1 win in Syracuse last week.




The Crunch snapped their five-game losing streak with an 8-5 win over the Utica Comets at the Adirondack Bank Center last night.


After the Comets scored first, the Crunch netted two goals in the final six minutes of the first period to grab a 2-1 lead. Simon Ryfors scored a power-play goal to tie the game and Trevor Carrick tapped in a crafty set up by Gage Goncalves to make it 2-1.


A see-saw second period saw the Crunch emerge with a 4-3 lead. The Comets tied the game at two before Lucas Edmonds ripped home a shot from the slot to make it 3-2. The teams traded goals again and it was Gabriel Dumont who scored with just over 25 seconds left in the frame that gave the Crunch a lead entering the third.


That lead was also wiped away, but the Crunch rattled off four straight goals to pull away. Ryfors gave the Crunch the lead for good with a deflection goal. Edmonds then scored twice more to complete a hat trick, and Rudy Balcers sandwiched one in between as the Crunch scored eight on the Comets for the second time this season (also Nov. 12).




The Crunch snapped their offensive funk, and ended their five-game losing streak, with last night’s 8-5 win in Utica. It matched a season high in goals in a game (also against the Comets) for the Crunch, who had scored four goals total in the previous three games.


The win moved the Crunch to 22-18-4-3 and pulled them within two points of the Comets for second place in the North Division. Syracuse has 51 points and also has two games in hand over Utica.


Leading goal scorer Simon Ryfors netted a pair of goals last night in the win. He scored the Crunch’s first tally and then put the team ahead for good in the third period. It was his second two-goal game of the season, and the third of his AHL career. Ryfors paces the Crunch with 19 goals, while his 38 points rank third on the team. 




Rookie forward Lucas Edmonds helped power the Crunch to their win last night, picking up his first career hat trick. His three goal performance garnered him first star honors for the second time in Utica this season; he also took home top billing for scoring the shootout winner at the Adirondack Bank Center Feb. 1.


Edmonds now has six goals and 11 points in 28 games this season. He is the second Crunch player with a hat trick this season following Felix Robert’s three-goal performance Oct. 22 vs. Rochester. 


His is the Crunch’s third hat trick in Utica, joining Adam Erne (Dec. 6, 2017) and Taylor Raddysh (May 5, 2021). Prior to last night, the last hat trick by a Crunch rookie was scored by Nikita Kucherov (Oct. 12, 2013).




Forwards Alex Barré-Boulet and Gabriel Dumont both recorded multi-point outings to extend their road point streaks to 10 games apiece. Both players have earned at least one point in every road game in 2023, helping the Crunch to a 7-3-0-0 record in that span.


Barré-Boulet has 16 points (4g, 12a) in the 10 games, while Dumont has 11 (6g, 5a). They are now tied with Darren Raddysh for the longest road streak for the Crunch this season; the league high is 13 games held by Calgary’s Connor Zary.


Barré-Boulet has notched a point in 20 of the team’s 24 road games this season, gobbling up 33 points. Dumont has picked up points in 13 of the 17 road games he’s played in 2022-23.




Rochester has alternated wins and losses over the last six games, posting a 3-3-0-0 record. The Amerks are playing their third game in three days after splitting a pair of games against the Toronto Marlies in a home-and-home series Friday (in Rochester) and Saturday (in Toronto).


After losing, 5-1, yesterday in Toronto, the Amerks are 23-20-2-1 this season, and they are tied with Laval for fourth place in the North Division with 49 points. They are just 2-5-0-0 in the last seven home games.


Lukas Rousek (10g, 21a) and Brandon Biro (9g, 22a) are tied for the team lead with 31 points; Biro has that mark in 10 fewer games (36). It was Vinnie Hinostroza, however, who helped lead Rochester to its win in Syracuse last week with his two-goal outing.




The Amerks have claimed five of the first seven meetings in the season series, and they can guarantee at least a split of the series with a regulation win today. It has been over two months since the last meeting in Rochester, when the Crunch routed the Amerks, 5-1, Dec. 7.


Darren Raddysh is the top scorer in the series, netting eight points (1g, 7a) in seven games. He has at least one point in six of the seven games, while two of his 12 total multi-point outing are against the Amerks. Brandon Biro tops the Americans scorers with seven points (1g, 6a) in the series.




After scoring just three total power-play goals in the previous 12 games (3-for-30), the Crunch were a perfect 3-for-3 on the power play last night. That improved the Crunch’s power play from 17.6% to 19.2% on the season.


They were also 2-for-2 on the penalty kill last night, and improved to 11-4-2-2 when not allowing a power-play goal. 


Rochester is also operating at 19.2% on the power play, while its penalty kill is at 78.5% this season.



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