SYRACUSE CRUNCH WEEKLY RELEASE
Presented by Penske Truck Rental
Wed., April 3 – Crunch at Belleville – W, 1-0
Fri., April 5 – Crunch at Rochester – W, 6-1
Sat., April 6 – Crunch vs. Rochester – L, 5-2
Fri., April 12 – Crunch vs. Laval – 7 p.m.
Sat., April 13 – Crunch vs. Rochester – 7 p.m.
Sun., April 14 – Crunch at Utica – 5 p.m.
NORTH DIVISION RACE COMES DOWN TO FINAL WEEKEND
The Crunch won two of their three games in Week 27 to position themselves with a one point lead in the North Division entering the final week of the regular season.
Syracuse opened the week with a 1-0 shutout win over the Belleville Senators, behind a 34-save performance by Atte Tolvanen-his first career shutout. The Crunch and Rochester Americans then played a home-and-home series Friday and Saturday night, with the road team claiming a pair of wins. The Crunch trounced the Amerks, 6-1, Friday night, but the Amerks responded with a 5-2 win in Syracuse the next day.
The race for the North Division title comes down to the final weekend of the season as Syracuse ends with a three-in-three weekend, including two home games.
Alex Barré-Boulet paced the Crunch with four points in three games last week. He posted a multi-point performance (2a) Friday in Rochester then followed up with a goal and assist Saturday against the Amerks. That snapped a 15-game drought without a multi-point performance and gives his 16 this season; only Carter Verhaeghe (22) has more games with at least two points.
Barré-Boulet leads AHL rookies and ranks seventh overall in the league with 64 points (33g, 31a). He’s attempting to become the first Crunch rookie to win the Garrett Award for most outstanding AHL rookie.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
There’s a lot on the line as the Crunch prepare for their final weekend of the regular season. First and foremost is the Crunch’s pursuit of their second division championship in the last three seasons. Entering the week, the Crunch hold a one point lead over the Rochester Americans for the division title; the Crunch’s magic number stands at six.
Syracuse is also eyeing franchise records in a few departments with three games left. If the Crunch win their final three games, they would established a new franchise wins record. They currently have 45 wins this season; their team record is 47, which was done in an 80-game season (2005-06). Their record for a 76-game season is 46 wins, which they did last year.
The Crunch need three points in the last three games to tie their franchise record for points percentage (.658) and it would also be their second consecutive 100-point season. They have three 100-point seasons in franchise history and their team record is 102 points.
Carter Verhaeghe is tied with Toronto’s Jeremy Bracco at 77 points for the AHL scoring lead. No Crunch player has ever won the John B. Sollenberger trophy as the league’s leading scorer and the Crunch’s franchise record is 79 points. If Verhaeghe wins the scoring title, it would be the first time since the AHL officially started tracking NHL-AHL affiliations (1971) that an affiliation produced the scoring champion in both leagues during the same season; Nikita Kucherov won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top scorer this season. Jeannot Gilbert (Hershey) and Phil Esposito (Boston) did it in 1968-69 when those team’s had a “working relationship.”
Meanwhile Alex Barré-Boulet is tied with the Marlies Chris Mueller for the league lead with 33 goals. The last Crunch player to lead the league in goals was Tyler Johnson in 2012-13.
UPCOMING: LAVAL, ROCHESTER, UTICA
The Crunch’s final weekend presents just their second three-in-three of the season.
First up is a home match with the Laval Rocket-the sixth and final meeting of the season between the clubs. Syracuse holds a 4-1-0-0 record against the Rocket, including two wins on home ice. The Rocket-eliminated from playoff contention for the second straight season-have just three wins in the last 10 games as they arrive in Syracuse in the middle of their final three-game road trip of the season.
Saturday’s home finale features a match that could determine the winner of the North Division. The Crunch host the Amerks in the 12th and final regular season match between the teams. The clubs split a home-and-home series-their third split this season-and enter the week separated by one point in the division. Rochester has won six games and the Crunch have won five this season.
The Crunch end the season in Utica against the Comets for the Galaxy Cup series finale. The Crunch have claimed the cup for a third straight season and they’ve defeated the Comets in five consecutive meetings since Feb. 1.
WEEK 27 RESULTS
Wednesday, April 3 | Game 71 at Belleville | W, 1-0
Syracuse 0 1 0 – 1 Shots: 6-11-15-32 PP: 0/2
Belleville 0 0 0 – 0 Shots: 13-11-10-34 PP: 0/3
2nd Period-Andreoff 25 (Volkov, Conacher), 8:32. . . . Tolvanen 2-1-0 (34 shots-34 saves). A-3,155
Friday, April 5 | Game 72 at Rochester | W, 6-1
Syracuse 2 1 3 – 6 Shots: 12-6-7-25 PP: 0/3
Rochester 0 1 0 – 1 Shots: 7-10-13-30 PP: 0/6
1st Period-Volkov 21 (Andreoff, Labrie), 13:59. Dumont 14 (Barré-Boulet), 19:24. 2nd Period-Foote 10 (Volkov, Conacher), 9:27. 3rd Period-Verhaeghe 31 (Unassisted), 8:27. Brassart 3 (Somppi, Yan), 13:28. Katchouk 11 (Dumont, Barré-Boulet), 15:04. . . . Tolvanen 3-1-0 (30 shots-29 saves). A-7,564
Saturday, April 6 | Game 73 vs. Rochester | L, 5-2
Rochester 2 3 0 – 5 Shots: 15-15-5-35 PP: 1/5
Syracuse 0 1 1 – 2 Shots: 3-8-6-17 PP: 0/3
2nd Period-Barré-Boulet 33 (Andreoff, Verhaeghe), 19:30. 3rd Period-Yan 11 (Barré-Boulet, Foote), 5:54. . . . Tolvanen 3-2-0 (35 shots-30 saves). A-6,029
Category Average/Total AHL Rank (Prev)
Power Play 20.6% (62-for-301) 5th (6th)
Penalty Kill 85.0% (301-for-354) 4th (4th)
Goals For 3.45 GFA (252) 4th (4th)
Goals Against 2.45 GAA (179) 1st (1st)
Shots For 28.04 SF/G (2047) 25th (25th)
Shots Against 28.77 SA/G (2100) 13th (11th)
Penalty Minutes 14.04 PIM/G (1025) 7th (7th)
Points 77 Verhaeghe
Goals 33 Barré-Boulet
Assists 46 Verhaeghe
PIM 150 Andreoff
Plus/Minus +34 Masin
Wins 25 Pasquale
GAA 2.37 Pasquale
Save % 0.916 Pasquale