Game 8 Preview: Crunch at Americans



The Crunch begin a three-game road trip tonight against the Rochester American at Blue Cross Arena.

It’s the third game of the teams’ 12-game regular season series. Both teams have secured one home victory, including a last-second, 4-3 Amerks win in Rochester Oct. 21.

The Crunch (1-3-1-2) earned one point over three games last week while the Americans (4-3-0-0) split a weekend set in Laval.


The Crunch suffered their first home regulation loss of the season, 4-2, versus the Cleveland Monsters Saturday night.

The Monsters built a 3-0 lead through the first two period. They scored on their first shot of the game, 1:01 into the first period, and then cashed in on the power-play late in the period for a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. An opening-minute goal in the second period made it 3-0, which was the score entering the third frame.

Simon Ryfors got one back for the Crunch with a power-play goal at 2:26 to make it a 3-1 game, but Brendan Gaunce answered midway through the period for a 4-1 Cleveland lead. The Crunch pulled their goaltender for an extended stretch in the third period, but only scored once on a one-timer from Darren Raddysh, which made it a 4-2 final.


Despite locking down just one win in October, the Crunch have earned points in four of their first seven games of the season, posting a 1-3-1-2 record. Their five points leave them in fifth place in the North Division, ahead of Laval and Utica.

Although the team has only one win, there has been strong contributions at the top of the lineup. Four Crunch players—Alex Barré-Boulet, Darren Raddysh, Gemel Smith and Darren Raddysh—have at least 10 points. No other team has that many players with 10 or more points; Rockford and Bridgeport are next with three players each.

Veteran Max Lagace has started five of the Crunch’s first seven games in net. He is 1-2-2 with a 3.71 goals-against average and a .892 save percentage. His one win came against the Amerks, when he stopped 32-of-34 in the Crunch’s 6-2 win Oct. 22.


The Amerks are coming off a split of a weekend set in Laval, losing Friday before rebounding with a 5-1 win on Saturday. Tonight is their first home game since Oct. 21, which was a 4-3 win over the Crunch. Rochester is unbeaten at home (3-0-0-0) this season.

Linus Weissbach and Brandon Biro are tied for the team lead with seven points this season. Weissbach (4g, 3a) has gobbled up four points (2g, 2a) in just two games against the Crunch. Biro (2g, 5a) has produced two assists in two games against the Crunch.

Goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has started both matches with the Crunch, and he has appeared in six of Rochester’s seven games this season. Overall he is 3-3-0 with a 3.63 goals-against average and a .872 save percentage. He is 1-1-0 against the Crunch, allowing eight goals with a .849 save percentage.


Alex Barré-Boulet led the Crunch offensively in Week 3, producing five points (2g, 3a) in three games. He surged into the team and AHL lead with 12 points (2g, 10a) through seven games. It’s the most points he’s had in the first seven games of a season in his five-year career.

Barré-Boulet has logged at least one point in six of the first seven games of the season and he has five multi-point performances to date. That includes the final two games of Week 3; he opened the week with a single assist in Toronto before scoring his first two goals of the season to pull the Crunch into overtime Friday against the Marlies. He earned two assists in Saturday’s loss versus Cleveland.

The 25-year-old ranks fourth in Crunch history with his 211 career points in 209 games. He sits one behind Mark Hartigan for third place.


The Crunch have opened the season with a 1-3-1-2 record in October. In six Octobers under head coach Ben Groulx, the Crunch are a combined 17-20-5-2, which is a 0.466 points percentage in 44 games.

They typically find their footing once the calendar flips; Syracuse is 205-109-24-23 (0.633) in the remaining 361 regular season games under Groulx since 2016-17.


Through October, the Crunch have scored 26 goals and allowed 30 in seven games. The majority of the scoring in Crunch games has come in the third period.

In the third period, the Crunch have outscored their opponents, 14-13, which constitutes 48.2% of total scoring in their games this season. The 14 goals are the most scored by a team in the third period, while the 13 allowed are tied with Rochester for the most given up.


Tonight kicks off a three-game road trip for the Crunch, which continues in Charlotte with back-to-back games against the Checkers this Friday and Saturday.

It is one of seven instances of three consecutive road games for the Crunch during the 2022-23 season; they do not play more than three straight road games at any time this season. The Crunch began the year with a three-game road trip that began in Cleveland and concluded in Rochester.

Syracuse is still searching for its first home win of the season after going 0-2-0-2 on the road in October. The last time the Crunch went winless in their first four road games was 2009-10, when they opened 0-4-0-1.

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