Syracuse Crunch Weekly
Crunch close in on playoff berth after three-in-three
Syracuse collected three points during its third three-in-three weekend of the season to move to the cusp of a playoff berth. The Crunch are 36-19-3-4 and remain in second place in the North Division with 79 points.
Syracuse lost, 2-1, to the Hershey Bears Friday to begin the three-in-three, snapping a seven-game point streak. They rebounded with a 4-2 win against Rochester Saturday night then rallied from a two-goal deficit to earn a point in a shootout loss to the Amerks in Rochester Sunday afternoon.
The Crunch can clinch a playoff berth as early as Wednesday in Binghamton. Syracuse needs any combination of four points gained by the Crunch or lost by the Laval Rocket. A Crunch win coupled with a Rocket regulation loss would send Syracuse to the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
With goals in all three games in Week 23, rookie Mathieu Joseph extending his point streak to a career-high six games, the second-longest active streak in the AHL behind teammate Gabriel Dumont and Toronto's Ben Smith. Over the six games, Joseph has eight points (5g, 3a) and his three-game goal scoring streak is also tied for the longest currently in the league.
Joseph, 21, leads the Crunch with 42 points (14g, 28a), which is tied for fifth among all AHL rookies. His 28 assists lead the Crunch and are tied for third among rookies.
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Gabriel Dumont had his second straight five-point week in Week 23. He assisted on the only Crunch goal Friday vs. Hershey then had back-to-back two assist games against Rochester Saturday and Sunday. Dumont's point streak is up to seven games, tied for the longest active streak in the AHL. He has 12 points (2g, 10a) in those seven games. This matches the longest point streak of Dumont's career; he had a seven-game run with the Hamilton Bulldogs Jan. 23-Feb. 20, 2015, also amassing 12 points (6g, 6a).
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Defenseman Erik Cernak recorded his first career multi-goal game in Sunday's comeback against Rochester. With the Crunch down 4-2 in the third period, Cernak scored back-to-back goals in less than four minutes to tie the game. He entered the game with two goals in his first 60 games, but doubled that total in the third period to earn the Crunch a point on the road.
In his rookie campaign, the 20-year-old has 13 points (4g, 9a) in 61 games. After potting two goals in the first six games of the season, he went 54 games without scoring. Cernak leads the Crunch, AHL rookies and ranks fifth overall in the league with a +29 rating.
Domingue back with the Crunch
With goalie Peter Budaj returning to Tampa Bay following his brief conditioning assignment with the Crunch, the Lightning have loaned goalie Louis Domingue to Syracuse.
Domingue is 11-5-0 with a 2.20 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage in 16 games for the Crunch. In eight games with Tampa Bay, Domingue is 5-2-0 with a 3.09 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage.
Upcoming: Binghamton, Springfield, Laval
The Crunch play three games in four nights in Week 24. They hit the road for matches in Binghamton and Springfield before opening a six-game homestand Saturday against Laval.
Syracuse and Binghamton continue their 10-game season series Wednesday. The Crunch have won the last five head-to-head meetings over the Devils (20-31-7-3), including their most recent matchup, a 3-2 win March 2 in Syracuse.
The Crunch travel to Springfield Friday to conclude their series with the Thunderbirds. The only other match between the teams this season was a 4-1 win for the Crunch Oct. 21. The Thunderbirds (28-29-4-1) recently were on a nine-game point streak, but they remain 12 points back of the final playoff position in the Atlantic Division.
The weekend wraps up Saturday against Laval as the teams play their eighth and final head-to-head match. With an overtime win over the Crunch March 3, the Rocket have four wins and the Crunch have three.
Week 23 Results
Friday, March 9 | Game 60 vs. Hershey | L, 2-1
Hershey 0 1 1 - 2 Shots: 5-7-6-18 PP: 1/5
Syracuse 0 1 0 - 1 Shots: 8-13-9-30 PP: 1/4
2nd Period-Joseph 11 (Bodie, Dumont), 7:56 (PP). . . . Budaj 0-1-0 (18 shots-16 saves). A-5,277
Saturday, March 10 | Game 61 vs. Rochester | W, 4-2
Rochester 0 1 1 - 2 Shots: 5-8-10-23 PP: 2/4
Syracuse 0 3 1 - 4 Shots: 10-11-10-31 PP: 0/2
2nd Period-Joseph 12 (Volkov, Dumont), 5:24. Thomas 4 (Archambault, Yan), 12:06. Walcott 3 (Dumont, Condra), 15:55. 3rd Period-Joseph 13 (Condra), 19:08 (EN). . . . Pasquale 12-6-6 (23 shots-21 saves). A-5,914
Sunday, March 11 | Game 62 at Rochester | SOL, 5-4
Syracuse 1 1 2 0 0 - 4 Shots: 7-7-15-3-0-32 PP: 0/3
Rochester 2 2 0 0 1 - 5 Shots: 18-10-3-4-1-36 PP: 0/1
1st Period-Joseph 14 (Verhaeghe, Dumont), 0:15. 2nd Period-Masin 9 (Dumont, Thomas), 3:20. 3rd Period-Cernak 3 (Archambault, Stephens), 14:00. Cernak 4 (Stephens), 17:52. Shootout-Rochester 1 (O'Regan G, Porter NG, Redmond NG) Syracuse 0 (Joseph NG, Volkov NG, Peca NG). . . . Budaj 0-1-1 (35 shots-31 saves). A-4,244
Category Average/Total AHL Rank (Prev)
Power Play 14.9% (41-for-276) 25th (24th)
Penalty Kill 84.2% (255-for-303) 8th (T-6th)
Goals For 3.11 GFA (193) T-9th (T-11th)
Goals Against 2.63 GAA (163) 4th (5th)
Shots For 30.24 SF/G (1875) 11th (12th)
Shots Against 26.42 SA/G (1638) 2nd (2nd)
Penalty Minutes 15.73 PIM/G (975) 3rd (3rd)
Points 42 Joseph
Goals 18 Stephens
Assists 28 Joseph
PIM 154 Gallant
Plus/Minus +29 Cernak
Wins 16 Ingram
GAA 2.40 Pasquale
Save % 0.915 Pasquale
Single game tickets and packages are on sale now and can be purchased in person at the Crunch office located inside the War Memorial Arena at 800 S. State St. in Syracuse, by calling the office at 315-473-4444. For the latest Crunch news, visit www.syracusecrunch.com or follow the club on Facebook (www.facebook.com/syracusecrunch), Twitter (@SyracuseCrunch) and Instagram (@syracusecrunch) using #SyrCrunch.
Fri., March 9 - Crunch vs. Hershey - L, 2-1
Sat., March 10 - Crunch vs. Rochester - W, 4-2
Sun., March 11 - Crunch at Rochester - SOL, 5-4
Wed., March 14 - Crunch at Binghamton - 7:05 p.m.
Fri., March 16 - Crunch at Springfield - 7:05 p.m.
Sat., March 17 - Crunch vs. Laval - 7 p.m.
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