CRUNCH SHOOT FOR SECOND PLACE VS. LAVAL
The Crunch look for their second ever 10-game home win streak and also go for second place in the North Division tonight as they host the Laval Rocket.
The Crunch (37-25-7-2) opened the weekend with a 6-0 shutout win over the Belleville Senators last night to re-claim third place in the division.
The Rocket (37-25-4-2) failed to clinch a playoff berth last night in a home loss to the Toronto Marlies, but they have another chance to secure their first postseason berth in team history tonight.
Tonight is the seventh of eight regular season meetings with the home team winning all six so far.
LAST TIME OUT
Max Lagace posted his fourth shutout of the season, making 27 saves as the Crunch blasted Belleville, 6-0, at Upstate Medical University Arena.
The Crunch power play delivered a pair of goals for the first time since March 19 to stake the Crunch to a 2-0 lead. Anthony Richard scored on a rebound to convert a 5-on-3 advantage in the first period. In the second, after a string of three successful penalty kills for the Crunch, Charles Hudon ripped in another power-play goal for a 2-0 lead just past the halfway point of the game.
The Crunch pulled away from there, getting markers by Riley Nash and Gabe Fortier later in the second period to chase Senators starter Mads Sogaard. Gemel Smith and Hudon scored in the third to make it a 6-0 final in the bettle for third place in the division. The Crunch finished with a 5-3-0-0 record in the season series.
SCOUTING THE CRUNCH
The Crunch come into play tonight third in the North Division with a 37-25-7-2 record. Syracuse has won two straight overall and nine straight at Upstate Medical University Arena, just two wins off the franchise record (March 14, 2008 through the end of the regular season). They are 18-4-1-1 at home since January.
Charles Hudon scored twice in yesterday’s win over the Senators, setting a new career high for goals in a season (29). The Quebec native has fired home five goals over the past two games, and he currently sits just three points shy of tying his career high for points in a season (57), as well.
Darren Raddysh picked up an assist on Anthony Richard’s first period goal last night, extending his point streak to three games (3a). With five games remaining in the season, Raddysh sits five points back of tying a career high for points in a season (28).
SCOUTING THE ROCKET
The Rocket sit at second place in the North Division with a 0.588 points percentage. Laval carries a 37-25-4-2 record, but a loss tonight would push them back to third. They’ve lost consecutive games to Belleville and Toronto.
Center Jean-Sébastien Dea has been a dynamic force all season for Laval. He leads the Rocket with 25 goals on the year, including eight game-winning goals. That accolade is the second-best mark in the AHL and Dea’s clutch ability has hurt the Crunch as well. Of his eight game-sealing tallies, three have been against Syracuse.
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard has also amplified the Rocket’s playoff push. The winger leads his team in scoring with 51 points (19g, 32a) in 65 games played this season. Harvey-Pinard has contributed 12 points in his last nine tilts, but has yet to strike against the Crunch over five previous meetings.
MAX LAGACE STAYS LOCKED IN
Max Lagace’s 200th career AHL appearance ended in a 27-save shutout last night. It was the fourth shutout of the season for Lagace, just one short of his career high (5) that he set in 2019-20 with the Providence Bruins. The Quebec native also recorded his 20th win of the season which places him two back of his career high, a mark he set also set in 2019-20.
Lagace has gone 14-2-2 with a 1.78 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage since March 9. Among qualified goalies, both of those marks would rank him first in the league this season.
DAY REACHES 40
Sean Day’s second period assist was his 32nd of the season and moved him up to 40 points on the year. Day is just the tenth defenseman to hit the 40-point threshold in the AHL this season. The Belgian blue liner now sits in a tie for ninth in the scoring race among league defensemen.
On top of setting career highs in goals, assists and points, Day has also posted a +8 rating this season— the best of his career—to rank fourth on the team.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
After notching an assist in last night’s win versus Belleville, center Gabriel Dumont now has five points (2g, 3a) in his last four games. The Crunch captain adds to an already career-high 58-point season (27g, 31a), only one point back from Alex Barré-Boulet for the team lead
The Quebec native has had a field day against the Rocket this season, scoring four goals in six matchups against Laval. That includes three goals in the last four games against the Rocket. Dumont now sits at 20th on the all-time Crunch points list (132), just three back of leaping Matthew Peca for 19th.
In the past two games, the Crunch have gone 3-for-8 on the power play, converting to a 37.5% success rate. It’s the first time they’ve scored in back-to-back games on the power play since March 2-4, with a span of 20 games between the two instances.
On the other side of the puck, the penalty killers have not allowed a goal since April 8 against the Springfield Thunderbirds. In their past five games, the Crunch have turned aside all 20 opportunities their opponents have had with the man advantage.
In the six games of the season series, neither power play has found traction. The Crunch are 2-for-17 (11.8%) and the Rocket are 2-for-19 (10.5%).