CRUNCH REMATCH WITH MARLIES
The Crunch and Toronto Marlies finish off their home-and-home series tonight at Upstate Medical University Arena.
The Marlies (3-2-0-0) grabbed the opening game of their six-game season series versus the Crunch (1-2-0-2), 5-3, Wednesday in Toronto.
LAST TIME OUT
The teams combined for seven third period goals and the Marlies prevailed over the Crunch, 5-3, Wednesday at Coca-Cola Coliseum.
The game was scoreless until the final minute of the second period when Simon Ryfors converted on a power-play goal to give the Crunch a 1-0 lead.
The scoring exploded from there and the Marlies struck twice in the first 2:10 of the third to grab a 2-1 lead. Gemel Smith responded 29 seconds later to tie the game at two. The Marlies scored twice more in two minutes, with one coming on the power play and one coming shorthanded. Felix Robert netted one with just over three minutes remaining to cut the deficit back to one, but the Marlies scored an empty-net goal to make it a 5-3 final.
SCOUTING THE CRUNCH
For the first time this season, the Crunch (1-2-0-2) lost a game by more than one goal. Syracuse played three one-goal games to open the season, going 0-1-0-2, before a 6-2 win in the team’s home opener last Saturday. Wednesday’s two-goal defeat was a one-goal game until the Marlies scored into an empty-net, the first empty-net goal allowed by the Crunch this season.
Defenseman Darren Raddysh and forward Gemel Smith both logged points Wednesday to extend their season-opening scoring streaks to five games. They are tied for the longest active streak in the AHL with Charles Hudon (Colorado) and Matej Blumel (Texas).
Raddysh, who is tied for the scoring lead among AHL defensemen with eight points (2g, 6a), did not have a five-game point streak at any point last year. His career-high is a seven game streak March 25-April 15, 2021.
Smith’s current streak is his longest since a five-game run for the Crunch Dec. 21, 2019-Jan. 3, 2020.
SCOUTING THE MARLIES
The Marlies enter tonight’s matchup at 3-2-0-0 through the first five games of the regular season. Toronto checks in with six points, trailing only Belleville in the North Division.
Toronto is coming off its season high in goals scored, when it netted five goals in Wednesday’s win over Syracuse. All five goals came in the third period. It’s the second time this season the Marlies have tallied 3+ goals in the final 20 minutes of regulation. On Oct. 15, Toronto used a three-goal third period to defeat Rochester, 3-1. Five goals is the most scored by any team in a single period this season.
It’s been a two-headed monster on the scoring front for Toronto so far this year. Joey Anderson and Alex Steeves each enter tonight’s game with four goals. All four of Anderson’s goals have come over the last two games, while Steeves potted all of his four scores in Toronto’s first three games of the year. Adam Gaudette is the only other player on the Marlies with multiple goals so far; he scored Toronto’s first goal Wednesday.
The Crunch’s first five games have featured plenty of scoring. They have now scored 21 goals—good for fifth most in the AHL. On the flip side, Syracuse’s 22 goals allowed are tied for the second most in the league. The Crunch and their opponents have combined to score at least seven goals in all five games.
The Crunch have four players ranked in the top 11 in scoring in the AHL. Felix Robert leads the league with 10 points while Darren Raddysh, Gemel Smith and Alex Barré-Boulet are among a group of eight players tied for fourth in the league with eight points.
ROBERT’S RED HOT
In his first year in Syracuse, Crunch forward Felix Robert finds himself atop the AHL in points through five games. The Canadian is the only player with double digit points (10) in the league. The former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguin has six goals and four assists in 2022-23. His six goals pace not only the Crunch, but also the entire league.
Robert has already matched his goal output from the 2020-21 season (with W-B/Scranton), when he scored six times in 27 games, 22 more than he’s played in so far this year. The center is coming off a season in which he set career highs in goals (16), assists (18) and points (34) before signing with Tampa Bay this summer.
The Crunch have scored a power-play goal in each of their first five games of the season. It’s the first time they’ve opened a regular season with a power-play goal in five straight games since 2016-17. The Crunch last scored a power-play goal in the first six games of the season in 2008-09.
Syracuse has the AHL’s top ranked man advantage at 43.8% (7-for-16) after scoring once in three chances Wednesday in Toronto.
Felix Robert not only leads the AHL in overall scoring, but he is also tied for the league lead with three power-play goals. That has doubled the total he produced in his first 90 career AHL games.
BARRÉ-BOULET RISING UP THE RANKS
Felix Robert isn’t the only Crunch player that finds himself toward the top of the league leaders. Alex Barré-Boulet leads the league in assists with eight through five games. He has three multi-assist games, and at least one assist in all but one game so far.
Now in his fifth year in Syracuse, Barré-Boulet is just three assists away from pulling into fourth all time in franchise history. With 122 career assists, he trails Lonny Bohonos by only two. Barré-Boulet also has 207 career Crunch points; with six more points, he’d move into third all-time in Crunch history, passing Mark Hartigan.