STREAKING CRUNCH TAKE ON ISLANDERS
The Crunch continue their second consecutive three-in-three weekend tonight as they make their only trip to Bridgeport to face the Islanders.
The Crunch (27-21-6-2) extended their point streak to six games (5-0-0-1) with a 1-0 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last night.
The Islanders (23-25-6-4) have used a three-game point streak (2-0-1-0) to edge closer to the playoff line in the Atlantic Division. They have not played since an overtime loss at Springfield on Wednesday.
LAST TIME OUT
The goaltending duel between Max Lagace and Louis Domingue saw the teams enter the third period deadlocked 0-0. Gage Goncalves broke the scoreless tie 12:10 into the third period. He received a pass from Gabriel Dumont, skated to the bottom of the left circle and sent a puck toward the crease. It bounced in off a Penguin to give the Crunch a 1-0 lead.
Lagace made that goal stand by making eight saves in the third period and 25 in the game for his first shutout with the Crunch.
SCOUTING THE CRUNCH
The Crunch are on a season-high six game point streak (5-0-0-1), earning 11 of 12 possible points over the last 10 days. That has pushed the Crunch into a playoff position with a 27-21-6-2 record and a 0.554 points percentage.
They have also found success on the road and they’ve pushed their road winning streak to four games. They’ve earned points in their last five road contests (4-0-1-0) since Feb. 27. The Crunch have improved to 13-11-5-0 away from Syracuse this season.
Gage Goncalves scored the lone goal in their 1-0 win last night. It was the rookie’s second goal in the last three games and it was his second game-winning goal this season. Goncalves has now scored five first goals this season, which ranks second on the Crunch to Gabriel Dumont (6) and is tied for second among all AHL rookies.
SCOUTING THE ISLANDERS
The Islanders have remained in the Atlantic Division playoff race by earning points in their last three games (2-0-1-0) and in six of the last 10 (5-4-1-0). With their 0.483 points percentage (23-25-6-4), Bridgeport is trails Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (0.509) for the final playoff spot in the division.
Like the Penguins last night, the Islanders are also a low scoring team; they rank 26th in the AHL by averaging 2.78 goals per game. They did put up a season-high seven in a 7-4 win over Providence to kick off this three-game point streak. Veteran Chris Terry leads the way with a team-high 45 points and 21 goals. He has 17 points on the power play.
Corey Schneider has started the last two games for the Islanders. After earning his first shutout of the season last weekend, he took an overtime loss in Springfield on Wednesday and is now 8-10-3 with a 2.85 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage.
Tonight is the final game of three straight games against Atlantic Division teams.
Over the final 20 games of the regular season, Syracuse has nine games remaining against the Atlantic Division and 11 game versus the North Division. The Crunch are 8-3-1-1 in their first 13 games against Atlantic Division opponents. Tonight is their final meeting against the Islanders, who dealt the Crunch one of their three regulation losses against the division.
As a whole, the North Division has dominated the Atlantic Division in head-to-head games. They went 3-0-0-0 last night and North Division teams have combined for a 55-9-7-2 record against teams within the Atlantic.
LAGACE’S LEADING THE WAY
Veteran goaltender Max Lagace continues to receive the lion’s share of action in the Crunch crease while Hugo Alnefelt is out due to injury. Lagace has played in six straight games—including five straight starts—since March 9. He has won all five of his starts and is 5-0-1 over the six games, posting a 1.83 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage in that span.
With the Crunch wrapping up a stretch of three straight games against Atlantic Division teams, it’s worth noting that Lagace has gone 5-0-0 this season against Atlantic Division teams. He spent the previous two seasons with Providence and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, two Atlantic Division teams.
The 29-year-old leads the Crunch this season with 11 wins. He is 11-7-1 with a 2.89 goals-against average and a .883 save percentage this season.
LOW SCORING HOCKEY
The Crunch earned their second shutout win of the season last night. Max Lagace delivered 25 saves for the team’s first 1-0 win this season.
It was the Crunch’s 23rd shutout since the start of the 2017-18 season and their seventh that has finished 1-0. Three of their last five shutout wins have ended in 1-0 scored and the most recent Crunch goaltender record a 1-0 shutout win prior to last night was Scott Wedgewood when he made 33 saves against Binghamton Feb. 12, 2020.
It was the Crunch’s 126th all-time regular season shutout and 28 have ended in 1-0 Crunch wins. That was the fourth time they’ve done it against the Penguins (Last: Cedrick Desjardins, March 20, 2013).
HITTING THE MARK
Last night, two Crunch players hit notable games played marker. Charles Hudon skated in his 300th career AHL contest. The veteran forward has 233 career points (123g, 110a) with 36 (21g, 15a) coming in 47 games this season.
This season Daniel Walcott joined former captain Luke Witkowski as the only players to skate for the Crunch in seven different seasons. Last night, Walcott moved past Ben Thomas with his 291st game, setting a new mark for games played for the Crunch during the Lightning affiliation. Walcott ranks fourth all time in franchise history.