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 Syracuse Crunch

Crunch Fall to Comets, 5-2, in Regular Season Finale

April 20, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Syracuse Crunch News Release

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Syracuse Crunch fell to the Utica Comets, 5-2, in the regular season finale tonight at the Upstate Medical University Arena.

The team completes the 2023-24 regular season with a 39-24-4-5 record and 87 points.

Crunch goaltender Brandon Halverson stopped 13-of-17 shots. Akira Schmid turned aside 37-of-39 between the pipes for the Comets. The Syracuse power play was unable to convert on three opportunities, while the penalty kill was a perfect 2-for-2.

The Crunch were first to score just 2:03 into the game. Waltteri Merelä forced a turnover along the boards where Jordy Bellerive grabbed the puck and skated it down to the goal line. His quick feedback out into the right circle set up Merelä for a one-timer.

The Comets stole the lead with two goals in the middle frame. At 6:13, Brian Halonen fired in a close-range wrister from the slot. Just 1:09 later, Nolan Stevens came down the left wing and centered a shot that ricocheted off a skate and in.

Utica added two more in the final frame to build up a three-goal lead. Dylan Wendt sent in a shot from the slot halfway through the frame followed by Ryan Schmelzer with a long wrister from the right circle at the 12:56 mark. The Crunch halted the scoring and stole one back at 14:03 when Max Crozier blasted a slap shot from the top of the right circle, but Xavier Parent responded by hitting the empty net and locking in a Comets win.

The Crunch have secured their spot in the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs, but their opponent is yet to be decided.

Ticket packages for the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs are on sale now and can be purchased in person at the Crunch office located inside the Upstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial at 800 S. State St. in Syracuse, by calling the office at 315-473-4444 or online through Ticketmaster. For the latest Crunch news, visit or follow the club on Facebook (, Twitter (@SyracuseCrunch) and Instagram (@syracusecrunch).

Crunchables: Waltteri Merelä has goals in back-to-back games.

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