Fri., Feb. 8 - Crunch vs. Adirondack, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 9 - Crunch vs. Albany, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 10 - Crunch at Adirondack, 3:00 p.m.
Need to Know
- Syracuse lost both games in Week 17 but remains in fourth place in the Eastern Conference at 25-12-2-4.
- Among active AHLers, Alex Killorn leads rookies in scoring and Mark Barberio paces defensemen.
- Syracuse has its sixth three-in-three of the season in Week 18, including home games Friday and Saturday.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Game 42: Falcons spoil Crunch comeback
In the first matchup of the season between the Crunch and Falcons, Syracuse fell 5-3. After neither team could bury a goal in the first period, the Falcons took a 1-0 lead on a five-on-three power-play tally from Ryan Craig 42 seconds into the frame. Almost eight minutes later, Syracuse countered with a power-play goal of its own from Brett Connolly finishing at the net mouth with Alex Killorn and Mark Barberio assisting. Springfield added three straight goals, including another on the power play and a shorthanded marker, to take a 4-1 lead by the 12:01 mark of the third period. The Crunch cut into that lead with late power-play goals from J.T. Wyman and Alex Killorn, but surrendered an empty-netter to lose 5-3. Dustin Tokarski suffered the loss, stopping 21 of 25 shots while Curtis McElhinney made 34 saves. The Crunch finished 3-for-7 on the power play and 4-for-6 on the penalty kill.
Game 43: Amerks continue success vs. Syracuse
Syracuse’s struggles against its I-90 rival Rochester continued in a 5-3 loss Saturday at the War Memorial. The Crunch out-shot the Amerks 46-21, but lost for the fifth time in six matchups this season. Again, Syracuse gave up the first goal as Rochester’s Patrick Rissmiller-playing his first game for the Amerks-buried a rebound past Riku Helenius with 8:12 left in the first period. The Crunch evened up the game a period later when Richard Panik tapped home a loose puck in the crease. Less than a minute later, Rick Schofield scored the first of the Americans’ four straight goals. Syracuse added late goals from Brett Connolly and Danick Gauthier to reach a second straight 5-3 final. In the last two home losses to Rochester, the Crunch have given the Amerks 16 power- play chances which have yielded four power-play goals.
- Syracuse has one win in its last seven games (Jan. 12-Feb. 2). In that span, the Crunch have scored a game's first goal once: the lone victory Jan. 26, 6-3, vs. St. John's. Syracuse has scored a game's first goal 24 times this season with a record of 20-1-2-1 in those games. When not scoring a game's first goal (19 times) the Crunch are 5-11-0-3.
- The Crunch have scored 39 goals in first periods this season, compared to 54 in second stanzas and 49 in third frames. Ten AHL teams have more first period goals than Syracuse, with Springfield compiling the most, 53.
- Through much of the first half of the season, the Crunch led the AHL in goals per game, averaging 3.61 through through Jan. 11 (36 games). In seven games since, the Crunch have only 2.29 goals per game and their season average has slipped to second in the league, 3.40, behind Rochester's league-leading 3.52.
- Similarly, the Crunch's goals-against average has spiked to 3.71 in the last seven games, after a 2.67 mark through the first 36 contests. Now at a 2.84 goals-against average for the season, Syracuse has dropped from 11th to 17th.
- Alex Killorn has three goals and three assists in the last three games, including two points (1g, 1a) Friday at Springfield and one assist Saturday vs. Rochester. He has 37 points (16g, 21a) on the season, tied for most in the AHL among active rookies and second most on the Crunch overall behind Tyler Johnson's 39 points (20g, 19a).
- Richard Panik has five points in his last three games following a three-game suspension, inlcuding an assist Friday in Springfield and his 20th goal of the season Saturday vs. Rochester. Panik is tied with Tyler Johnson for most goals on the Crunch and tied for second most among active AHL players, tied for third overall.
- Mark Barberio has six assists in the last three games, including three Friday and one Saturday. Now at 28 points for the season (6g, 22a) he is the league's leading scorer among active defensemen, fifth overall.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Crunch vs. Adirondack—Friday, 7:30 p.m.
The Crunch play the first game of a three-in-three weekend Friday night against the Adirondack Phantoms. It is the seventh of eight meetings between the two teams, with the final match up coming on Sunday to close out the weekend. Both teams have three wins in head-to-head meetings this season, but the Crunch have earned points in all six games (3-0-1-2). Friday will be the first time the two teams meet since a 4-3 shootout victory for the Phantoms Dec. 21.
Adirondack is 4-5-0-1 in its last ten games, and sits at 18-22-2-1 or 39 points. That puts the Phantoms in fifth place in the Northeast Division and in 14th in the Eastern Conference. The Phantoms lost their two top scorers (Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier) to the NHL and are now led by defenseman Danny Syvret (3g-19a-22pts), forward Jason Akeson (7g-14a-21pts), and left wing Harry Zolnierczyk (9g-8a-17pts). Goaltender Scott Munroe has played in 23 games for the Phantoms and he sports a 9-11-0 record, with a 2.65 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage with one shutout. Alex Killorn's four goals and two assists in six games against the Phantoms leads all Crunch players.
Crunch vs. Albany—Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
For the third time this season, and for the first time at the War Memorial, the Crunch face the Albany Devils Saturday night. Including Saturday, the Crunch and Devils play six more times over the final three months of the regular season, with four of those matchups coming over the next month. The Crunch won the first two meetings this season, 3-2 Oct. 19 and 4-1 Nov. 24.
Albany has lost two in a row and is 4-4-0-2 in its last ten games, moving to 17-16-1-8 on the season. With 43 points, the Devils are fourth in the Northeast Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. Their eight shootout losses are the most in the AHL; no other team in the league has more than five shootout losses. Aside from Bobby Butler, who was Albany’s leading scorer before leaving for New Jersey, the Devils are led by left wing Joe Whitney (11g-13a-24pts), center Steve Zalewski (7g-16a-23pts), and right wing Matt Anderson (7g-14a-21pts). Keith Kinkaid has played in the majority of the games in goal for the Devils. In 27 contests he is 14-9-4 with a 2.46 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage. For the Crunch, both Dustin Tokarski and Riku Helenius have a win against the Devils. Offensively, Tyler Johnson’s two goals and two assists lead the Crunch in two games against Albany.
Crunch at Adirondack—Sunday, 3:00 p.m.
For the second time in three days, and the final time this season, the Crunch face off against the Phantoms. The two teams meet at the War Memorial in Syracuse on Friday then close out the season series in Glens Falls. Coming into the weekend, both teams have three victories in the six head-to-head meetings. The Crunch have won two of the three meetings this season in Glens Falls: 4-1 Nov. 12 and 3-0 Dec. 14. The Phantoms lone home win against the Crunch this season was a 4-3 shootout victory Dec. 8.
Before meeting the Crunch, the Phantoms have a home game Wednesday vs. Binghamton but have a day off Saturday between meetings with the Crunch Friday and Sunday. The Phantoms are 9-10-0-1 at home and have totaled the same number of wins at home as on the road despite playing three fewer home games.