Game 75 Preview: Crunch vs. Penguins

game-75-preview:-crunch-vs.-penguins

CRUNCH EYE FRANCHISE RECORD WIN STREAK

 

The Crunch are in search of a single-season franchise record 12th consecutive home win tonight as they host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

 

The Crunch (40-25-7-2) ride a five-game winning streak following their victory over the Providence Bruins Wednesday night.

 

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (35-31-4-4) has lost back-to-back games in regulation, but the Penguins have locked up fourth place in the Atlantic Division.

 

LAST TIME OUT

 

Riley Nash scored in overtime to earn the Crunch’s 11th straight home win, 2-1, over the Providence Bruins Wednesday night.

 

The Crunch opened scoring just 4:48 into the game on a blast from Darren Raddysh. Simon Ryfors entered the offensive zone, curled back at the right circle and dropped a pass to Raddysh, who ripped in his seventh goal of the season.

 

Elmira native Johnny Beecher evened the score at one later in the first period. He jammed in a rebound on a power play to tie the game 1-1 at 16:33. Neither team scored for the remainder of regulation, sending the game into overtime tied at one.

 

With the Crunch on a power play, Nick Perbix took a shot and Nash deflected it in to secure the 2-1 win.

 

SCOUTING THE CRUNCH

 

The Crunch sit second in the North Division with a 40-25-7-2 record. The team has won a season-high five straight games and they have the best record in the Eastern Conference over the past 10 games (8-1-1-0). This marks the third time the Crunch have passed the 40-win threshold since 2016-17 under head coach Ben Groulx; they’ve reach 40 wins in three straight completed seasons.

 

Nick Perbix is currently on a five-game point streak for the Crunch. The rookie has compiled five points (2g, 3a) in that time. Perbix is currently tied with Sean Day and Alex Green for the longest point streak by a Crunch defenseman this season.

 

THE QUEST FOR HOME ICE

 

The Crunch have officially secured their spot in the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs; the Crunch have been involved in the playoffs each season they’ve been held since Ben Groulx took over as head coach ahead of the 2016-17 season.

 

The Crunch can finish no lower than third in the division and will play either Belleville or Laval in a best-of-five North Division Semifinals series. The Crunch can lock up home ice by gaining just one standings point in either of their final two games.

 

SCOUTING THE PENGUINS

 

The Penguins come into tonight’s matchup with a 35-31-4-4 overall record. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has already clinched a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs. The Penguins will be the number four seed in the Atlantic Division, and face the Hershey Bears in a best-of-three first round series. The Penguins have suffered back-to-back losses, most recently falling to Hartford, 6-3, on Sunday.

 

The Penguins have recently been led by center Michael Chaput. The 10-year AHL veteran has logged points in five straight games, collecting two goals and four assists during that span. That streak is tied for the longest by a Penguin this season.

 

With Louis Domingue on recall with Pittsburgh, Tommy Nappier is expected to start for the Penguins. He is 13-9-2 with a 2.86 goals-against average and an .895 save percentage this season.

 

CRUNCH STARING DOWN HISTORY

 

If the Crunch beat the Penguins tonight, they’ll set a new franchise record with 12 straight home victories. Their current 11-game run has matched the single-season franchise record set at the end of the 2007-08 season. During this streak, the Crunch have outscored opponents 46-16, while notching a 22.0% power play and a 88.2% penalty kill. Max Lagace has started and won all 11 games.

 

Syracuse’s 23-10-1-2 (0.681) record at Upstate Medical University Arena this season ranks fourth in the Eastern Conference.

 

LAGACE TIES CAREER HIGH

 

Max Lagace picked up his 22nd win of the season on Wednesday over the Providence Bruins, tying the career high he set in 2019-20 with the Bruins. The Crunch goaltender has won seven straight games, the second longest win streak in his career. The 29-year-old set his career high 10-game win streak during the 2015-16 season with the Texas Stars. The Quebec native also picked up his 5000th career save in the win over Providence.

 

To this point in the season, Lagace is 22-9-2 with a 2.35 goals against average and a .909 save percentage.  He is 16-2-2 with a 1.70 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage, with four shutouts, since March 9. He has a pair of 1-0 wins against the Penguins this season.

 

GROULX CEMENTING HIS PLACE

 

Crunch head coach Ben Groulx collected his 220th win at the helm for Syracuse in Wednesday’s win over Providence. The win tied Gary Agnew for the most wins in Crunch history.

 

Groulx is the ninth all-time head coach for Syracuse. The Canadian took over ahead of the 2016-17 season for Syracuse, and brought the Crunch to their second Calder Cup Finals appearance in his first year leading the charge. In six seasons with the Crunch, Groulx holds a 220-125-28-23 record, good for a 0.620 points percentage which is the best among Crunch coaches who completed at least one full season.

 

CRUNCH STILL STREAKING

 

Four Crunch players are currently on point streaks of at least four games. Nick Perbix (2g, 3a) and Alex Barré-Boulet (7a) are both on five-game point streaks, while Simon Ryfors (1g, 5a) and Riley Nash (4g, 2a) have picked up points in four straight games.

 

Players Mentioned

Sean Day

#74 Sean Day

D
6′ 3″
218 lbs

Alex Green

#57 Alex Green

D
6′ 2″
197 lbs

Darren Raddysh

#24 Darren Raddysh

D
6′ 0″
201 lbs

Max Lagace

#33 Max Lagace

G
6′ 2″
190 lbs

Simon Ryfors

#7 Simon Ryfors

F
5′ 10″
178 lbs

Riley Nash

#20 Riley Nash

F
6′ 1″
192 lbs

Nick Perbix

#6 Nick Perbix

D
6′ 4″
200 lbs

Players Mentioned

Sean Day

#74 Sean Day

6′ 3″
218 lbs
D

Alex Green

#57 Alex Green

6′ 2″
197 lbs
D

Darren Raddysh

#24 Darren Raddysh

6′ 0″
201 lbs
D

Max Lagace

#33 Max Lagace

6′ 2″
190 lbs
G

Simon Ryfors

#7 Simon Ryfors

5′ 10″
178 lbs
F

Riley Nash

#20 Riley Nash

6′ 1″
192 lbs
F

Nick Perbix

#6 Nick Perbix

6′ 4″
200 lbs
D

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