CRUNCH REMATCH WITH AMERKS
The Crunch play the back end of a home-and-home series with the Rochester Americans tonight at Upstate Medical University Arena.
Tonight closes out the 12-game season series between the teams. The Crunch have won the last four games – and six of the first 11 in the series – following Wednesday’s overtime win at Rochester.
LAST TIME OUT
Phil Myers scored 32 seconds into overtime to deliver a 3-2 win for the Crunch over the Rochester Americans Wednesday at Blue Cross Arena.
The Crunch raced out to a 2-0 lead in the opening five minutes of the first period. Jack Finley struck first at 1:07, converting on a give-and-go with Gabe Fortier for his 11th goal of the season. Just over three minutes later, Ilya Usau ripped a one-timer off a pass from Lucas Edmonds for a 2-0 lead.
The Amerks grabbed one back on a quick stick by Linus Weissbach at 9:42 of the first period. Brandon Biro then tied the game 6:23 into the second period with a power-play goal.
After a scoreless third period, Myers and Barré-Boulet connected on a give-and-go early in overtime, with Myers tipping in a back door pass for the game-winning goal.
SCOUTING THE CRUNCH
The Crunch have picked up nine of 10 possible points during their five-game point streak (4-0-0-1). They are 34-24-5-4 this season and are in second place in the North Division with 77 points.
Syracuse forward Simon Ryfors has stayed focused on the Crunch’s playoff push, and he has four points (4a) in his last four games. He has helpers on two overtime goals in the last four games. Ryfors has been a reliable contributor for Syracuse in his second North American season; he’s second on the team with 51 points (21g, 30a) in 67 games.
Defenseman Phil Myers has found his clutch offensive gene late in the season. Myers has two game-winning goals this season, both coming in the last week. Prior to that, he only had one career game winner (2018-19). The overtime hero has collected three points (2g, 1a) in his last four games.
The Crunch have five games remaining in the regular season, including tonight. This is the last game against Rochester and they have two remaining against Utica and two against Laval – all three teams currently hold playoff spots in the North Division.
The Crunch are looking to secure a playoff berth for the fifth straight season (excluding the Covid-effected 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons). The Crunch can clinch a playoff berth tonight with either (a) a point versus Rochester, OR (b) a regulation finish in the Cleveland-Laval game.
The Crunch have earned a playoff spot every year of eligibility since head coach Ben Groulx took over the helm ahead of the 2016-17 season. If the Crunch make the Calder Cup Playoffs this season, the Tampa Bay-Syracuse affiliation will join the Boston-Providence affiliation as the only two to make both the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Calder Cup Playoffs in each eligible season since 2017-18.
MORE OT MAGIC
The Crunch have played four straight overtime games for just the second time in franchise history (March 21-31, 2012). It’s only the 12th time they’ve played at least three straight overtime games.
The Crunch have won three of the four games, and five of their last six wins overall have required overtime. Syracuse is now 8-9 in overtime games this season.
The Crunch improved to 4-5 in games decided in the five-minute overtime period. All four overtime game-winning goals have been scored by defensemen, including two straight by Phil Myers in a five-day span. They are his first two career overtime goals, and the second and third career game-winning goals in his 172 game AHL career. Darren Raddysh and Declan Carlile have scored the two other overtime goals for the Crunch this season.
SCOUTING THE AMERICANS
Starting with a shootout loss to the Crunch on March 21, the Americans have earned a standings point in eight straight games (5-0-2-1), which is their longest of the season. The Amerks have surged to 33-25-6-3 and have 75 points, which is good for third place in the North Division. They clinch a playoff berth today with a win versus Syracuse AND a Laval regulation loss versus Cleveland.
Six of the eight games during Rochester’s point streak have required overtime, and four of those have gone to a shootout (3-1). Brandon Biro returned following an eight-game injury absence and promptly scored Wednesday night. He was leading the team in scoring prior to his injury and he now is second on the team with 51 points (16g, 35a) in 49 games.
Malcolm Subban is 18-13-5 with a 2.94 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage this season, including a 3-0-3 mark in his last six appearances.
The Crunch look to win the regular season series versus the Amerks. The Crunch (6-5-0-0) have won four straight in the series, but the Amerks (5-3-2-1) have earned a point in three of the four. The Crunch went 4-2 in Rochester, but they are only 2-3 at home.
With a helper on Wednesday’s overtime goal, Simon Ryfors continues to lead Crunch players in scoring against the Amerks with 10 points (2g, 8a) in 11 games. Ryfors has 16 points (4g, 12a) in 21 career games against Rochester.
Brandon Biro paces the Amerks with 10 points (2g, 8a) in 10 games, after he scored a power-play goal Wednesday night.
The Amerks have earned 16 more power play chances than the Crunch in the series; Rochester is 9-for-50 (18.0%) while Syracuse is 4-for-34 (11.8%).
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