Game 64 Preview: Crunch vs. Senators




The Crunch begin their final three-in-three weekend of the season tonight against the Belleville Senators at Upstate Medical University Arena. 


It’s the conclusion of the six-game season series. The Senators lead the series with three wins; they’ve won three straight against the Crunch, including a shootout win in Syracuse Jan. 6.




The Crunch grabbed a 6-1 win over the Utica Comets Sunday at Upstate Medical University Arena.


The Crunch built a 3-0 lead with a strong first period. Lucas Edmonds opened the scoring by finding a loose puck in the slot and scoring at 10:13. Just over five minutes later, Felix Robert pulled a puck out from near the corner, cut in front and then shot back across the grain to make it 2-0. Alex Barré-Boulet capped the period with a power-play goal at 18:37.


The Comets scored a power-play goal early in the second period to make it 3-1, but Syracuse answered with a perfectly executed shorthanded 2-on-1 rush, which Cole Koepke finished for a 4-1 lead. Trevor Carrick added a power-play goal later to make it 5-1. 


Edmonds wrap up the scoring with his second of the night-and ninth in seven head-to-head matches against Utica-in the third period to make it a 6-1 final.




The Crunch hold third place in the North Division at 31-24-5-3 with 70 points; their magic number to secure a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs is at nine. Syracuse has a game in hand on both Utica and Rochester, and the three teams are separated by one standings point.


Forward Lucas Edmonds has settled in during his rookie season, coming off his seventh multi-point performance last game versus Utica. Edmonds, has tallied nine of his 15 goals against Utica, but has yet to register a point against Belleville in two games played. With 12 points (8g, 4a) in March, Edmonds has racked up nearly half of his 25 total points (15g, 10a) during this crucial stretch of the season; he is the Crunch’s leading scorer in March.


In the absence of AHL All-Star Darren Raddysh, who is up with the Tampa Bay Lightning, veteran Trevor Carrick has been a steadying presence on the blueline. The ninth-year pro ranks top five offensively for the Crunch with 38 points (14g, 24a) in 51 games played this season. Carrick also matches up well against Belleville with five points (1g, 4a) in four contests. He has notched 11 points in March, coinciding with Raddysh’s recall to Tampa.




The Crunch kick off the final of five three-in-three weekends tonight. It concludes with road games against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Utica. They’ve ended with a winning record in two weekends and a losing record in the other two weekends.


The Crunch went 0-2-0-1 in their first one of the season (Jan. 6-8), but won two of three (2-1-0-0) in the next two, before going 1-2-0-0 last weekend. They are 5-6-0-1 in games during three-in-three weekends.




Alex Barré-Boulet, who has gone a season-long nine games without a multi-point performance, snapped an eight-game goal drought in Sunday’s win over the Comets. The tally was his 20th of the season, marking the third time he has reach 20 goals in a season (2018-19 and 2019-20). 


Barré-Boulet is now in sole possession of second place on the Crunch’s all-time goal scoring list (105). He needs two goals to tie and three to pass Mark Hartigan for the franchise record.




The Senators enter on a three-game winless streak (0-2-0-1). They are last in the North Division at 27-29-6-2 with 62 points on the year. Belleville is just three points outside of a playoff position. Five of the Senators final eight games are on the road.


Part of what has hampered the Senators is their first period goal differential, which is a league-worst minus-35. They are positive in both the second (plus-4)and third (plus-3) periods.


Belleville forward Jake Lucchini has been stellar through his second season with the team. Lucchini is fresh off a breakout campaign in the 2021-22 season with 51 points (20g, 31a) in 72 games played. This season he’s nearly equaled that, with 48 points (16g, 32a) in only 53 appearances. Lucchini is the second-leading point-getter for the Sens; he has two goals in four games against the Crunch this season.




The Senators have three straight wins over the Crunch and lead the series with three wins in five games. They have split two matches in Syracuse; the Crunch won, 4-2, on Nov. 11 before the Senators grabbed a shootout win Jan. 6.


Alex Barré-Boulet leads all scorers in the series with six points, all assists, in five games. He has registered a point in four of the five games. Five Crunch players are tied with two goals in the series. Four Senators are tied for the team lead with five points in five games against the Crunch. Angus Crookshank leads that group with three goals. 




The Crunch busted out of their 2-for-33 (6.1%) funk on the power play with a 2-for-4 performance on Sunday against the Comets. It was just the sixth time the Crunch scored more than one power-play goal in a game. Alex Barré-Boulet netted one of the two, his first since Feb. 24, and is now tied for the team lead with six power-play goals with Simon Ryfors.


The Senators lead the league with 308 power-play chances this year, and they rank second with 63 power-play goals. Angus Crookshank leads the team and is tied for fourth in the AHL with 12 power-play goals. 


Belleville has scored a power-play goal in each game against the Crunch this season, going 7-for-26 (26.9%). The Crunch are 3-for-17 (17.6%) in the series.



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