Game 59 Preview: Crunch vs. Penguins




The Crunch complete a difficult back-to-back tonight at home against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Crunch are looking to bounce back from consecutive road losses to Providence and Bridgeport, the latter coming 24 hours ago in Connecticut.


Tonight is the third of four games in the head-to-head series. The Crunch have won the first two games by identical 3-2 scores.




The Crunch surrendered four consecutive goals and fell to the Bridgeport Islanders, 5-2, last night at Total Mortgage Arena.


Syracuse jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead with an early power-play goal. Gabriel Dumont won an offensive zone faceoff at the right circle and Trevor Carrick blasted a shot three seconds into the man advantage to stake the Crunch to a 1-0 lead at 3:04 of the first period.


That remained the score through the halfway point of regulation, until the Islanders flipped the game with three goals in eight minutes. Andy Andreoff tied the game at 10:04 of the second period with a tap in off a pass from Chris Terry. Collin Adams scored on a rebound less than four minutes later for a 2-1 lead and then Andreoff made it 3-1 with a breakaway goal coming out of the penalty box.


A Terry power-play goal swelled the Islanders lead to 4-1 early in the third. The Crunch got another power-play goal from Rudy Balcers late in the game before Andreoff completed the hat trick with an empty-net strike to make it a 5-2 final.




The Crunch have come up short in their first two games of the week, falling in Providence and Bridgeport by scores of 4-2 and 5-2 respectively. The Crunch have now dropped four of their last five games (1-3-1-0) after winning six of their previous seven.


Syracuse has slipped to 28-22-5-3 this season. The Crunch remain in third place in the North Division with 64 points. They trail Utica by four points and lead Rochester by two as the three teams jockey for two guaranteed spots in the North Division Semifinals.


Captain Gabriel Dumont earned assists on both Crunch goals last night. His power-play faceoff wins led directly to goals within the first five seconds of a pair of power plays. It marked Dumont’s fifth multi-point game of the season and extended his scoring streak to three games. He has five points (1g, 4a) in that span and he has racked up at least one point in seven of his last eight games played. Dumont has 34 points (17g, 17a) in 43 games this season.




Forward Rudy Balcers capitalized with a power-play goal last night to push his goal streak to three. The streak began with a go-ahead goal last Saturday against Rochester and continued with a first period goal Wednesday night. It’s the fourth time in his AHL career he has goals in at least three straight games; his career high is four straight games April 4-11, 2018.


A two-time AHL All-Star, Balcers has 13 points (6g, 7a) in 23 games for the Crunch this season. The veteran has 128 points (62g, 66a) in 166 career AHL games.




Defenseman Trevor Carrick has goals in three straight games following his early power-play goal last night. It’s the first time in his 541 game AHL career that he has scored a goal in three straight games.


After reaching double figures in goals for the fourth time in his career with a tally over the weekend, the veteran has now set a new career high with 12 goals, moving past his previous high of 11 set in 2017-18. 


Carrick, 28, ranks sixth on the team, and second among defensemen, with 34 points. He has five goals in the last seven games, and he now trails Darren Raddysh by one goal for the team lead among defensemen. The two rank fourth and fifth among all AHL defensemen.




The Penguins stormed back from 3-0 down to defeat the Rochester Americans, 5-4, in a shootout last night. That snapped a three-game losing streak and capped a 1-3-0-0 homestand. They are 24-26-4-5 this season, and with 57 points they are in last place in the Atlantic Division. They are seven points behind Bridgeport for the final playoff position in the division.


Leading scorer Alex Nylander, who has produced 50 points (25g, 25a) this season, remains on recall with Pittsburgh. That leaves Valtteri Puustinen as the active leading scorer with 48 points (21g, 27a), with half (11g, 13a) coming on the power play.


Dustin Tokarski earned the win last night for his 10th victory of the season. He is 10-11-5 with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage this season.




The Crunch have won the two previous meetings with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by identical 3-2 scores. The Crunch have won five straight games against the Penguins dating to last season, with four of the five being decided by one goal.


Trevor Carrick leads the Crunch with three points—all assists—in the series, while Alex Barré-Boulet leads the team with two goals. Max Lagace and Hugo Alnefelt have both won a start by making 26 of 28 saves.


Drake Caggiula has the most points of any player in the series with four (1g, 3a). Dustin Tokarski and Filip Lindberg have both taken losses in the Penguins crease.




The Crunch connected twice on the power play last night, snapping an 0-for-16 funk in the process. It was the fifth time this season they have scored more than one power-play goal in a game; oddly the Crunch have only won two of those games (2-1-1-1). They have converted on 19.1% of their chances this year.


The Penguins scored a power-play goal in three games during their four-game homestand and they were also a perfect 12-for-12 on the penalty kill in those four games. The Penguins rank 12th (20.4%) and 13th (80.5%) on the power play and penalty kill.



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