Wed., Feb. 28 - Crunch at Toronto - W, 4-3 (OT)
Fri., March 2 - Crunch vs. Binghamton - W, 3-2
Sat., March 3 - Crunch vs. Laval - OTL, 5-4
Fri., March 9 - Crunch vs. Hershey - 7 p.m.
Sat., March 10 - Crunch vs. Rochester - 7 p.m.
Sun., March 11 - Crunch at Rochester - 3:05 p.m.
Crunch collect five of six points; streak hits seven
Syracuse took two out of three games in Week 22 and earned five of six points to keep pace in the North Division playoff race. Despite an overtime loss Saturday, the Crunch's points streak increased to seven games (6-0-1-0). They improved to 35-18-3-3, giving them 76 points which is within six of the division-leading Toronto Marlies.
Syracuse took down the Marlies in overtime, 4-3, in a Wednesday morning match at Ricoh Coliseum. Mathieu Joseph's overtime goal gave the Crunch their third win over Toronto this season. They then rallied from 2-0 down with three goals in less than three minutes during the third period to jet past the Binghamton Devils, 3-2, at home Friday night for their sixth straight win. The winning streak was snapped Saturday, when Laval come back from 4-2 down to win, 5-4, in overtime. It was the first time since Dec. 20 they allowed five goals in a game, a 31-game span.
Gabriel Dumont led Crunch skaters with five points (1g, 4a) in three games in Week 22. His three assists Wednesday at Toronto gave Dumont his first three-point game since a four-point outing (3g, 1a) in the third game of last season, Oct. 21, 2016 vs. Utica. He added another assist Friday against the Devils and scored his second shorthanded goal of the season Saturday against Laval.
Dumont, 27, rides a four-game scoring streak into Week 23, collecting seven points (2g, 5a).
Captain Erik Condra had three points in three games last week, including goals in back-to-back games for the second time this season. He set up the tying goal then scored the game-winning goal less than two minutes apart during the third period Friday vs. Binghamton. The next night, he scored his eighth goal of the season in a loss to Laval.
Condra, 31, has six points (3g, 3a) in the last seven games and 17 points (8g, 9a) in 33 games this season.
Budaj joins the Crunch
Goaltender Peter Budaj has joined the Crunch on a conditioning assignment and he's expected to start in his Crunch debut Friday vs. Hershey, the team he started his pro career with in 2002. Budaj, 35, has spent all season with Tampa Bay, but suffered a lower-body injury Dec. 29 vs. Philadelphia and has not played since. That prompted the emergency recall of Louis Domingue to the Lightning.
Budaj will be the sixth goalie to appear in a game for the Crunch, which matches a franchise record, done four other times. The most recent instance was in 2013-14 with goalies Kristers Gudlevskis, Cedrick Desjardins, Allen York, Riku Helenius, Anders Lindback and Charles Lavigne.
Cirelli shines in NHL debut
Forward Anthony Cirelli became the 48th player during the Crunch's affiliation with the Lightning to earn the call to Tampa Bay. He debuted for the Lightning Thursday in Dallas and scored a goal and had an assist in a 5-4 win. He became the third Lightning player with a multi-point game in his NHL debut, the first since Cory Conacher in 2013.
Cirelli ranks second on the Crunch with 37 points (14g, 23a) in 51 games this season.
Upcoming: Hershey, Rochester
The Crunch have their third three-in-three weekend of the season in Week 23, matching up with Hershey once and Rochester twice over three days.
Syracuse and Hershey wrap up their two-game season series Friday at the War Memorial Arena. The Bears snagged the first match with a four-goal third period in a 4-2 decision. 2018 U.S. Olympian Chris Bourque scored twice for the Bears, including the game-winning goal with seven minutes to play in the third period to lead Hershey. The Bears are in danger of missing the playoffs for the second time in the last 13 years (2013-14), sitting in last in the Atlantic at 24-27-4-5.
The Crunch and Amerks have their second home-and-home series of the season Saturday and Sunday. Syracuse has earned points in five of the six games (4-1-1-0) against Rochester this season, winning four straight games. The Crunch are 12-2-1-1 against Rochester since the start of the 2016-17 season. The teams are separated by three points in the North Division standings.
Week 22 Results
Wednesday, February 28 | Game 57 at Toronto | W, 4-3 (OT)
Syracuse 0 2 1 1 - 4 Shots: 15-8-14-2-39 PP: 0/3
Toronto 1 0 2 0 - 3 Shots: 17-15-14-1-47 PP: 1/6
2nd Period-Cirelli 13 (Joseph, Dumont), 0:23. Cirelli 14 (Thomas, Dumont), 5:19. 3rd Period-Yan 10 (Dumont, Bodie), 2:35. Overtime-Joseph 10 (Pasquale), 0:43. . . . Pasquale 11-6-5 (47 shots-44 saves). A-7,863
Friday, March 2 | Game 58 vs. Binghamton | W, 3-2
Binghamton 1 0 1 - 2 Shots: 9-14-5-28 PP: 1/5
Syracuse 0 0 3 - 3 Shots: 7-6-11-24 PP: 2/8
3rd Period-Peca 10 (Dumont, Joseph), 10:10 (PP). Verhaeghe 11 (Condra, Volkov), 11:21 (PP). Condra 7 (Peca, Walcott), 13:03. . . . Ingram 16-9-2 (28 shots-26 saves). A-5,178
Saturday, March 3 | Game 59 vs. Laval | OTL, 5-4
Laval 1 1 2 1 - 5 Shots: 8-4-7-3-22 PP: 2/6
Syracuse 2 2 0 0 - 4 Shots: 11-14-10-2-37 PP: 2/5
1st Period-Dumont 2 (Bournival), 5:02 (SH). Condra 8 (Tammela, Verhaeghe), 9:07. 2nd Period-Yan 11 (Bodie, Stephens), 4:15 (PP). Bodie 5 (Yan, Verhaeghe), 16:15 (PP). . . . Pasquale 11-6-6 (22 shots-17 saves). A-5,933
Category Average/Total AHL Rank (Prev)
Power Play 15.0% (40-for-267) 24th (27th)
Penalty Kill 84.6% (248-for-293) T-6th (7th)
Goals For 3.12 GFA (184) T-11th (T-12th)
Goals Against 2.61 GAA (154) 5th (4th)
Shots For 30.20 SF/G (1782) 12th (19th)
Shots Against 26.46 SA/G (1561) 2nd (2nd)
Penalty Minutes 16.10 PIM/G (950) 3rd (3rd)
Points 38 Joseph
Goals 18 Stephens
Assists 28 Joseph
PIM 154 Gallant
Plus/Minus +26 Cernak
Wins 16 Ingram
GAA 2.20 DomingueSave % 0.917 Domingue