CRUNCH CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH, SWEEP WEEK
For the first time since March 2015, the Crunch won three games in three consecutive days, and in the process punched their ticket to the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs in Week 28.
The week began with two big North Division matchups and Syracuse earned wins of 6-0 and 5-1 over the Belleville Senators and Laval Rocket respectively. In the process, the Crunch climbed from fourth to second in the division, leapfrogging one team each night. Sunday, the Crunch completed a three-in-three sweep and officially clinched a playoff berth with a 5-3 win over the Hershey Bears.
At the start of the final week of the regular season, the Crunch can finish anywhere from second to fourth in the division. They play three homes games to close out the regular season.
Forward Riley Nash had another productive week for the Crunch, recording at least one point in all three games, including a pair of multi-point outings. He contributed one goal and one assist in Friday’s win over Belleville and followed that with a two goal performance versus Laval. That was his third two-goal outburst in 15 games with the Crunch.
The veteran capped the week with an assist at Hershey; he has 17 points (9g, 8a) during his month with the team, which is tied for second on the Crunch.
Goaltender Max Lagace pushed his personal win streak to six and delivered two stellar starts in Week 28. He pitched a 27-save shutout Friday against Belleville and then stopped 19-of-20 Saturday versus the Rocket to finish the week 2-0-0 with a .979 save percentage.
Friday’s shutout was his fourth of the year and it gave the veteran his 20th win this season, which came in his 200th career AHL appearance. Lagace is 15-2-2 with a 1.74 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage in 19 games since March 9; he leads the AHL in wins in that span.
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.
They can finish second, third or fourth in the division; if they finish either second or third they would face Laval or Belleville in a best-of-five North Division Semifinals. If they fell to fourth, they’d match up with either Toronto or Rochester in a best-of-three series.
DEFENDING HOME ICE
The Crunch extended their winning streak at Upstate Medical University Arena to 10 games, which is one shy of their franchise record of 11 set from March 14, 2008 through the end of the 2007-08 season.
This is the longest home winning streak in the AHL this season. The Crunch finish the season with three home games this week. They are 19-4-1-1 at home since January; three of the four regulation losses were against Utica.
The Crunch begin the final week of the regular season Wednesday against Providence, in the second and final regular season meeting. The Crunch knocked off the Bruins, who are battling for a first-round bye in the Atlantic Division, 4-1, April 3.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are in town Friday. The Pens have already locked up fourth in the Atlantic and will face Hershey to begin the playoffs. The Crunch have a pair of 1-0 wins over W-B/Scranton.
Saturday brings a potential playoff preview as the Laval Rocket are in town to end the regular season. Syracuse is 3-3-1-0 against the Rocket this year.
WEEK 28 RESULTS
Friday, April 22 | Game 71 vs. Belleville | W, 6-0
Belleville 0 0 0 – 0 Shots: 5-12-10-27 PP: 0/3
Syracuse 1 3 2 – 6 Shots: 14-11-15-40 PP: 2/5
1st Period-Richard 17 (Ryfors, Raddysh), 12:21 (PP). 2nd Period-Hudon 28 (Perbix, Nash), 10:22 (PP). Nash 7 (Ryfors, Claesson), 13:38. 3rd Period-Fortier 14 (Elie, Day), 16:51. Smith 4 (Dumont, Fortier), 10:11. Hudon 29 (Goncalves, Barré-Boulet), 15:55. . . . Lagace 20-9-2 (27 shots-27 saves) A-5,210
Saturday, April 23 | Game 72 vs. Laval | W, 5-1
Laval 1 0 0 – 1 Shots: 5-7-8-20 PP: 0/3
Syracuse 1 2 2 – 5 Shots: 12-16-11-39 PP: 2/6
1st Period-Perbix 2 (Unassisted), 7:45. 2nd Period-Dumont 28 (Barré-Boulet, Hudon), 5:50 (PP). Nash 8 (Ryfors, Raddysh), 14:59. 3rd Period-Nash 9 (Richard), 13:11 (PP). Dumont 29 (Unassisted), 18:19 (EN). . . . Lagace 21-9-2 (20 shots-19 saves) A-5,467
Sunday, April 24 | Game 73 at Hershey | W, 5-3
Syracuse 0 1 4 – 5 Shots: 6-13-7-26 PP: 1/3
Hershey 0 1 2 – 3 Shots: 10-12-12-34 PP: 1/6
2nd Period-Ryfors 10 (Goncalves, Nash), 13:55. 3rd Period-Hudon 30 (Perbix, Smith), 1:52 (PP). Elie 15 (Ryfors, Green), 5:10. Smith 5 (Unassisted), 9:05. Elie 16 (Barré-Boulet, Dumont), 18:05 (EN). . . . Alnefelt 10-6-4 (34 shots-31 saves) A-7,519
|Category||Average/Total||AHL Rank (Prev)|
|Power Play||18.5% (46-for-248)||22nd (26th)|
|Penalty Kill||79.8% (197-for-247)||21st (23rd)|
|Goals For||3.22 GFA (235)||12th (12th)|
|Goals Against||3.04 GAA (222)||T-15th (19th)|
|Shots For||32.16 SF/G (2348)||6th (7th)|
|Shots Against||26.66 SA/G (1865)||3rd (3rd)|
|Penalty Minutes||11.62 PIM/G (848)||22nd (25th)|
|North Division||GP||W||L||OTL||SOL||PTS||PCT||GF||GA||PIM||HOME||ROAD||LAST 10||STREAK||S/O|
|1. y Utica||70||42||19||8||1||93||0.664||241||196||771||23-8-4-1||19-11-4-0||4-4-2-0||2-0-1-0||2-1|
|2. x Syracuse||73||39||25||7||2||87||0.596||235||222||848||22-10-1-2||17-15-6-0||8-1-1-0||4-0-0-0||1-2|
|3. x Laval||69||37||26||4||2||80||0.580||232||221||849||23-8-2-1||14-18-2-1||6-3-1-0||0-3-0-0||2-2|
|4. x Belleville||71||39||28||4||0||82||0.577||214||216||883||18-15-2-0||21-13-2-0||7-3-0-0||1-0-0-0||5-0|