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Crunch end 2017 on a three-game winning streak

Syracuse begins the new year in third in the AHL's North Division

by Megan Cahill /

Last Week
Wed., Dec. 27 - Crunch vs. Toronto - W, 5-4
Sat., Dec. 30 - Crunch vs. Utica - W, 3-2 (SO)
Sun., Dec. 31 - Crunch at Binghamton - W, 5-0

This Week
Sat., Jan. 6 - Crunch at Hartford - 7 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 7 - Crunch at Providence - 3:05 p.m.

Crunch close out 2017 with three wins Week 13 
Syracuse swept three games in Week 13 to end 2017 with 14 wins in their last 17 games. The Crunch (18-12-1-2) closed the gap in the North Division, but remain in third place with a 0.591 points percentage. 

The Crunch came out of the holiday break with a 5-4 win over the Toronto Marlies at the War Memorial Arena. Adam Erne broke the tie in the third period with a power-play goal to give the Crunch their second win over Toronto. Saturday featured an 11-round shootout, which the Crunch won 4-3 to defeat the Comets, 3-2. The calendar wrapped up with Connor Ingram's second career shutout, a 5-0 win in Binghamton on New Year's Eve. 

The Crunch ended December with 10 wins in 13 games; it's the fifth time in franchise history that they've won at least 10 games in a calendar month and the first time during the Lightning affiliation. The last time was March 2012, when Syracuse had 11 wins in 15 games.

Syracuse plays two road games in the first week of January, visiting Hartford Saturday and Providence Sunday.

Top Performers
Rookie forward Dennis Yan returned from a nine-game absence due to injury and potted five points (2g, 3a) in three games. He scored two goals and added an assist for his first career three-point game in his first game back Wednesday vs. Toronto. Then the 20-year-old picked up two assists Sunday in Binghamton to end 2017 with 12 points (5g, 7a) in 22 games.


Forward Carter Verhaeghe had an assist in all three games in Week 13 to continue his AHL-high scoring streak. Now at 12 games, Verhaeghe's streak includes 15 points (4g, 11a) and also includes an active seven-game assist streak. With 21 points (7g, 14a) in 20 games, the first-year Crunch forward is the only Crunch player playing at a point per game. He recorded a point in 12 of 13 games in December.


Matthew Peca had his career-high seven game point streak come to an end Saturday vs. Utica, but his goal Sunday in Binghamton gives him a goal in the last four Crunch road games. That is tied for longest active road streak in the AHL and one behind the longest road streak in the league this year.

Peca has 21 points (7g, 14a) in 17 games since Nov. 22 and leads the team with seven multi-point performances. 


Alexander Volkov ended 2017 as the Crunch's leading goal scorer with 10. He netted back-to-back two-goal games in the final two games of the month to close on a three-game scoring streak (2g, 1a). 

With three two-goal and 13 points (6g, 7a) in the last nine games, the 20-year-old is tied for third on the Crunch with 21 points (10g, 11a).


Goaltender Connor Ingram made the final two starts of Week 13 after Louis Domingue was recalled to Tampa Bay. Ingram, 20, earned wins in both games and finished the week with his second career shutout, a 29-save effort in Binghamton. For the week, he made 44 saves on 46 shots, a .957 save percentage, plus turned aside eight of 11 shootout bids Saturday.

He is 6-5-1 with a 2.74 goals-against average and .890 save percentage and his two shutouts are tied for the AHL lead.

Upcoming: Hartford, Providence
The Crunch begin 2018 with a pair of road game in Week 14.

Syracuse opens the week Saturday against the Hartford Wolf Pack for their first of two meetings this season. Hartford (13-15-3-3) enters the week on a three-game losing streak and plays in Providence Friday night. The Wolf Pack, who swept the two-game series with the Crunch last season, are led by Peter Holland, who was acquired in late November from Laval. The former Crunch forward has 11 points (3g, 8a) in 10 games for the Wolf Pack and 30 points in 30 games this year.

The weekend ends with a Sunday matinee in Providence as the Crunch and Bruins finish their season series. Syracuse won, 5-3, at home Dec. 15. The Bruins (21-8-3-0) lead the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference with a 0.703 points percentage heading into the new year. Following an eight-game road trip, the Bruins return home where they've won their last six games.

Week 13 Results
Wednesday, December 27 | Game 31 vs. Toronto | W, 5-4

Toronto 2 2 0 - 4 Shots: 8-11-7-26 PP: 0/2
Syracuse 3 1 1 - 5 Shots: 12-12-9-33 PP: 2/3
1st Period-Yan 4 (Volkov), 4:22. Yan 5 (Peca, Spencer), 10:53. Joseph 7 (Peca), 19:30. 2nd Period-Lynch 8 (Yan, Stephens), 17:46 (PP). 3rd Period-Erne 9 (Joseph, Verhaeghe), 3:48 (PP). . . . Domingue 9-4-0 (26 shots-22 saves). A-5,233

Saturday, December 30 | Game 32 vs. Utica | W, 3-2 (SO)
Utica 1 1 0 0 0 - 2 Shots: 6-6-4-1-0-17 PP: 0/2
Syracuse 1 0 1 0 1 - 3 Shots: 17-9-12-3-1-42 PP: 0/4
1st Period-Volkov 7 (Verhaeghe, McNeill), 9:59. 3rd Period-Volkov 8 (Joseph, Cirelli), 5:28. Shootout-Utica 3 (Carcone NG, Archibald G, Moynihan NG, Holm G, Wiercioch NG, MacEwen NG, Roy NG, Cassels G, Blujus NG, Brisebois NG, Cameranesi NG), Syracuse 4 (Volkov G, Yan NG, Verhaeghe NG, Joseph G, Condra NG, Cirelli NG, Peca NG, Erne G, Lynch NG, Stephens NG, Thomas G). . . . Ingram 5-5-1 (17 shots-15 saves). A-5,985

Sunday, December 31 | Game 33 at Binghamton | W, 5-0
Syracuse 1 0 4 - 5 Shots: 17-17-10-37 PP: 1/4
Binghamton 0 0 0 - 0 Shots: 10-12-7-29 PP: 0/4
1st Period-Peca 7 (Verhaeghe), 15:18. 3rd Period-Stephens 7 (Yan, Thomas), 2:25. Volkov 9 (Cirelli, Bodie), 6:31. Volkov 10 (Bournival, McBain), 14:22 (PP). Stephens 8 (Yan, Walcott), 17:34. . . . Ingram 6-5-1 (29 shots-29 saves). A-4,256

Category Average/Total AHL Rank (Prev)
Power Play 15.5% (25-for-161) T-21st (24th)
Penalty Kill 85.5% (153-for-179) 8th (9th)
Goals For 3.42 GFA (113) 5th (T-5th)
Goals Against 2.88 GAA (95) 9th (T-11th)
Shots For 29.94 SF/G (988) 18th (22nd)
Shots Against 25.33 SA/G (836) 1st (1st)
Penalty Minutes 16.55 PIM/G (546) 5th (4th)

Category Leader
Points 26 Peca
Goals 10 Volkov
Assists 19 Peca
PIM 89 Gallant
Plus/Minus +19 Cernak
Wins 9 Domingue
GAA 2.39 Domingue
Save % 0.911 Domingue

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