CRUNCH GO TOE-TO-TOE WITH ROCKET
The Crunch are back home to begin a two-game weekend tonight as they host the Laval Rocket at Upstate Medical University Arena.
It’s game six of the eight-game season series, with the home team winning all five previous matches. This is the third game of four to be played in Syracuse.
LAST TIME OUT
The Crunch gave up four straight goals in a 6-4 loss to the Utica Comets at the Adirondack Bank Center Sunday afternoon.
After the Comets took a 1-0 lead early, the Crunch rattled off three straight goals to close the first period. Alex Barré-Boulet tied the game with a goal immediately after a faceoff. Lucas Edmonds scored on a deflection less than a minute later, and then he added another one late in the frame to give the Crunch a 3-1 advantage.
Brian Halonen grabbed one back for the Comets early in the second period, but Trevor Carrick responded midway through the stanza to reassert a two-goal Crunch lead. The Comets, however, scored twice in a three-minute span to tie the game at four later in the second period. They then netted two more in the opening 2:43 of the third period for a 6-4 lead, which stood as the final score.
SCOUTING THE CRUNCH
The Crunch had their three-game winning streak snapped Sunday at Utica. Syracuse is 27-20-4-3 this season and is in third place in the North Division with 61 points. They are five points ahead of Laval, who currently hold the fifth and final playoff spot in the North.
The Crunch are coming off a high-scoring week, which saw them score 14 goals and allow 12 over their three games (2-1-0-0). Syracuse ranks second in the Eastern Conference and fifth in the AHL with an average of 3.54 goals per game.
Forward Felix Robert found his scoring touch again and picked up four points. He extended his scoring streak to three games with an assist in Sunday’s loss at Utica. Robert’s goal Friday was his first since Dec. 16; he had gone nine games without a goal, while also missing 16 games due to injury. Robert has 26 points (14g, 12a) in 38 games this season.
SCOUTING THE ROCKET
The Rocket have dropped their last two games, falling in a shootout versus Rockford on Saturday before slipping up against Belleville two days ago. The Rocket went 2-1-0-1 during a four-game homestand, improving to 23-23-7-3 this season. Laval holds the final playoff position in the North Division with 56 points.
Despite being held to just one goal in each of their last two games, the Rocket are the most explosive offense in the Eastern Conference, with an average of 3.59 goals per game. On the flip side, the Rocket have allowed 3.66 goals per game, second most in the Eastern Conference (Cleveland).
Cayden Primeau has appeared in seven straight games for Laval. He is 3-2-1 over those games, and he is 11-9-6 with a 3.30 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage.
ONE QUARTER TO GO
The Crunch have exactly one quarter of their schedule ahead of them, starting with tonight’s match against the Rocket. Broken down into four 18-game segments, the Crunch went 7-7-2-2 in the first quarter of the season, 11-6-0-1 in the second quarter and 9-7-2-0 in the most recent 18-game stretch.
Syracuse has an even number of home and road games remaining, with nine slated at home and nine slated on the road. Thirteen of their remaining 18 games will be played within the division, including their final seven games of the season. As of today, the Crunch’s remaining strength of schedule is 0.546.
EDMONDS WITH THE HOT HAND
Rookie forward Lucas Edmonds stayed hot in Week 21, leading all Crunch players and tying for the AHL lead with six points (4g, 2a) in three games. His four goals were the most by any player in the AHL.
Edmonds, 22, posted three points (2g, 1a) to help the Crunch defeat Cleveland Wednesday. After grabbing a helper Friday against the Phantoms, Edmonds notched his second multi-goal game of the week Sunday at Utica. Edmonds is on a four-game scoring streak with seven points (4g, 3a). He has also collected eight goals and 11 points in the last eight games.
A third round pick by Tampa Bay in 2022, Edmonds now leads Crunch rookies in scoring with 19 points (11g, 8a) in 35 games.
The Crunch and Rocket square off for the sixth time this season. The home team has won all five previous matches-three in Laval and two in Syracuse.
The Crunch are led by the duo of Alex Barré-Boulet and Simon Ryfors, who have chipped in with five points apiece. Barré-Boulet leads the team with three goals in five games.
Joel Teasdale paces the Rocket with five goals and six points in the series. He has scored goals in the last four games against the Crunch, including a pair of tallies in their last meeting Feb. 10 at Laval.
The home team is 12-1 in the last 13 regular season games; the lone loss was a defeat by the Crunch in the final game of last season when they were resting players ahead of the playoffs.
The Crunch were held off the board on the power play in Sunday’s loss to the Comets. In the last eight games, the Crunch are 6-0-0-0 when scoring a power-play goal, and 0-2-0-0 when failing to score a power-play goal. They are 15-7-1-3 this season when scoring at least one power-play goal, including a 10-0-1-0 mark in the last 11 instances. They are 12-13-2-0 when not scoring on the power play, losing six straight since Feb. 4.
Laval is 1-for-15 on the power play over the last two games, but the Rocket are still tied for sixth overall in the AHL with a 22.7% conversion rate.
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