SYRACUSE CRUNCH WEEKLY RELEASE
Wed., Feb. 20 – Crunch vs. Laval – W, 4-2
Fri., Feb. 22 – Crunch vs. Toronto – W, 1-0 (OT)
Sat., Feb. 23 – Crunch vs. Toronto – OTL, 3-2
Tue., Feb. 26 – Crunch at Binghamton – 7:05 p.m.
Fri., March 1 – Crunch vs. Lehigh Valley – 7 p.m.
Sat., March 2 – Crunch vs. Rochester – 7 p.m.
Sat., March 3 – Crunch at Rochester – 3:05 p.m.
HOME SUCCESS CONTINUES FOR THE CRUNCH
The Crunch kept pace in the red-hot race for a North Division playoff position, collecting five of six possible points on home ice in Week 21. They pulled within two points of the Rochester Americans for the top spot in the division, but they also hold a five-point cushion on the fifth-place Belleville Senators-the first team on the outside of the division’s playoff positions.
Syracuse played its second of two Wednesday home games this season and opened the week with a 4-2 win over the Laval Rocket. The Crunch hosted the Toronto Marlies Friday and Saturday and split a pair of overtime games. First, Eddie Pasquale made 26 saves in a 1-0 overtime win; the Marlies responded with a 3-2 overtime win the next night. Syracuse rides an 11-game home points streak (8-0-1-2) into the week; it’s the Crunch’s longest home points streak since a 10-game run (9-0-0-1) Oct. 29-Dec. 10, 2016. It is also the longest since affiliating with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012.
Syracuse takes to the ice four times in Week 22, including their first three-in-three weekend of the season.
Rookie forward Alex Barré-Boulet scored four goals in three games in Week 21, extending his goal-scoring streak to a season-long four games. After snapping a nine-game goal drought last Monday in Toronto, the 21-year-old scored an insurance power-play goal-his league-leading 13th of the season-Wednesday against Laval. He then scored the only three goals the Crunch scored in back-to-back games against Toronto; his tally Friday was his first career overtime game-winning goal in a 1-0 Crunch win and then he netted a pair Saturday night in a 3-2 overtime loss.
Over the course of the week, Barré-Boulet climbed from ninth to a tie for fourth in franchise history for goals by a Crunch rookie. His 26 goals lead the Crunch and are the most by a Crunch rookie during the Lightning affiliation. With 48 points (26g, 22a), Barré-Boulet ranks second among all AHL rookies, one point behind Belleville’s Drake Batherson.
Goaltender Eddie Pasquale started all three games for the Crunch in Week 21, going 2-0-1 and collecting his second shutout of the season. The 28-year-old turned aside 25-of-27 shots in Wednesday win over Laval. He then made 26 stops in the Crunch’s 1-0 overtime win against Toronto; it was Pasquale’s second shutout in a five-start span and his third in two seasons with the Crunch. In Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss, he made another 26 saves.
Pasquale leads the Crunch with 31 appearances and holds a 17-9-5 record with a 2.52 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage. After working through a five-game losing streak, the Toronto native has logged a 5-1-2 record with a 1.59 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage-plus two shutouts-since Jan. 18. It was around this time last year when he joined the Crunch in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers and went 10-1-3 with a 1.72 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage for the remainder of the regular season.
Syracuse’s leading scorer, Carter Verhaeghe, has bounced back from a season-long five-game scoring drought to record five points (1g, 4a) in the last five games. The 23-year-old ranks second overall in the AHL in scoring with 59 points (23g, 36a) in 53 games for the Crunch.
UPCOMING: BINGHAMTON, LEHIGH VALLEY, ROCHESTER
After completing a stretch of seven games in 11 days last week, Syracuse begins a run of seven games over 12 days.
The Crunch open the week Tuesday night in Binghamton with their make-up match against the Devils; the game was originally scheduled for Jan. 19, but was postponed due to inclement weather. It’s the ninth match of the 10-game season series; Syracuse holds a 7-1-0-0 record against the Devils with the last game-a 2-1 Crunch win-coming Jan. 21.
Friday begins the Crunch’s first three-in-three weekend of the season as they host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. It’s the second of two matches between the teams this year after the Crunch defeated the Phantoms, 3-2, in a shootout at PPL Center Dec. 21.
The Crunch close the week with their second home-and-home series in three weeks against the division-leading Rochester Americans. The teams are separated by two points in the standings entering the week and this week features the eighth and ninth matches of the season series. The teams won’t play again until they square off three times in a nine-day stretch at the end of the season.
WEEK 21 RESULTS