Game 7 Preview: Crunch vs. Monsters



The Crunch host the Cleveland Monsters tonight at Upstate Medical University Arena.

It’s already the third of four scheduled meetings between the clubs in 2022-23. The Monsters won a pair of shootout games in Cleveland during AHL opening weekend two weeks ago.

The Crunch (1-2-1-2) have dropped their first two games this week to the Toronto Marlies in a home-and-home series. The Monsters (3-4-0-0) are on a three-game losing streak, including a pair of 5-1 losses this week.


The Crunch rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third period, but came up short in overtime, 4-3, to the Toronto Marlies last night at Upstate Medical University Arena.

Syracuse fell behind 2-0 in the first period, in part due to five Marlies power plays in the opening 20 minutes. Joey Anderson scored on one of those and Jordie Benn cashed in moments after another to stake Toronto to a 2-0 advantage.

Trevor Carrick scored on a bouncing puck from the blue line 2:16 into the second period to cut the deficit to one for the Crunch. They controlled play most of the frame, but Anderson snuck in a shot from the left circle late in the period to make it 3-1 heading to the third.

Alex Barré-Boulet sparked the third period comeback for the Crunch. He scored his first of the season at 2:42 to make it 3-2 and then tied the game three and a half minutes later on a rebound.

The Marlies used a power play to control overtime, and they eventually scored at even strength to win, 4-3, at 3:58 of overtime.


The Crunch have earned points in four of their first six games of the season, posting a 1-2-1-2 record. Their five points leave them in fifth place in the North Division heading into their final game of October.

A pair of defensemen logged their first points of the season in last night’s loss. Ryan Jones collected a pair of helpers and Sean Day added his first assist. It was Jones’ second career two-assist game (also Feb. 12, 2021 at Cleveland) and his fourth career multi-point performance. Day had gone five games without a point, which did not happen at all last season when he led Crunch defensemen in scoring with 40 points. He suffered a season-ending injury in Hershey near the end of the regular season last year.

Gemel Smith extended his point streak to a career-high tying six games with an assist last night. He last did it twice in the 2018-19 season with Providence.


The Monsters enter on a three-game losing streak, including two losses by identical 5-1 scores to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Utica this week. Tonight wraps up a six-game road trip for the Monsters, who are 1-4-0-0 so far on the trip.

Emil Bemstrom leads the Monsters and is tied with three other players, including the Crunch’s Felix Robert, for the AHL lead with 10 points (5g, 5a). Bemstrom pumped in three points (2g, 1a) in the opening-weekend series versus the Crunch.

Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo has been assigned to the Monsters on a conditioning assignment from the Columbus Blue Jackets. He is expected to start his first game of the season tonight. Korpisalo has 182 games in the NHL with the Jackets since 2015-16. That season he also helped the Monsters win the Calder Cup, posting a 6-2 record during the postseason. He last played in the AHL on one-game conditioning assignment in 2020.


Veteran defenseman Trevor Carrick is slated to skate in his 500th career AHL game tonight. The Stouffville, Ontario native is in his ninth pro season, and his first in the Lightning organization after signing with the Bolts over the summer.

A fourth round pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2012, Carrick began his pro career with the Charlotte Checkers, skating in Charlotte from 2014 to 2019, when he helped the Checkers win their first Calder Cup. He spent the following three seasons with San Jose and San Diego before joining the Crunch this season.

Carrick, 28, has three points (2g, 1a) in four games for the Crunch this season. He has 249 career points (63g, 186a) in his first 499 AHL games. Carrick has also played in seven career NHL games for Carolina and San Jose.


The Crunch have had a propensity to overcome third period deficits so far this season. Through their first six games of the season, the Crunch have trailed at some point in the third period in five games. They have at least tied the game at some point in the third period in each instance, and have at least earned a point in three of those games.

Syracuse has only trailed entering the third period twice and both times the Crunch have forced overtime (0-0-1-1). That includes the season opener in Cleveland when the Crunch rallied from a 4-3 deficit entering the final period before losing in a shootout.


Half of the Crunch’s games in 2022-23, including both matches versus Cleveland, have required overtime to determine a winner. The Crunch and Monsters are tied for the league lead in overtime games this season.

The Crunch played 18 games past regulation last season, and went 9-9 in those games; they were 8-7 in games decided in overtime and 1-2 if it went to a shootout.

All three of Cleveland’s wins this season are in overtime (1-0) or the shootout (2-0). The Monsters led the AHL in overtime games last year with 23, and they posted a 10-13 overall record.

This is the second season in a row the Crunch have played in three overtime games through their first six games of the season. Last year they started with four of their first seven games going into overtime, including two matches versus Cleveland.
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