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Crunch Wrap: Syracuse ends their losing streak with a solid victory

Syracuse Crunch goalie Brandon Halverson (31) in net against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Upstate Medical University Arena in Syracuse, New York on Friday, November 10, 2023. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins won 4-0. Photo via Scott Thomas (http://sthomasphotos.com/)

The Syracuse Crunch snapped their three-game losing streak and Brandon Halverson picked up his first win in the AHL since April of 2019. Max Groshev led the way with three goals while Emil Lilleberg scored a short-handed goal for his first AHL goal.

There was some mixing and maxing in the line-up as Carolina recalled Pytor Kochetkov while the Lightning recalled Waltteri Merelä and Philppe Myers during the week. A little flu bug and some banged up players over the weekend let to some more juggling in the games against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

After starting the season as one of the top-scoring teams in the league, things cooled off during their losing streak as they averaged just 2 goals per games. Special teams was a bit of an issue as well as they were 0-for-14 on the power play prior to their Saturday night win. So it was nice to see them get one on the man-advantage as well as putting up six goals to close out the week.

The week got underway on Wednesday in a divisional game against Belleville. Groshev scored first, but the Senators tied the game with a 5-on-3 goal. Belleville took the lead with a shorthanded goal in the second, but Lilleberg answered with a shorthanded goal of his own in the third period that carried the Crunch into overtime. Despite several chances by both teams in the extra frame, it went to a shootout where Josh Currie scored the only goal and Belleville earned the extra point. Hugo Alnefelt stopped 24-of-26 shots.

The loss on Friday to the Penguins broke a couple of streaks for the Crunch. Their four-game points streak on the season was snapped, and they also lost a 12-game points streak against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as they came into the game with a 11-0-1 record over the last few seasons.

With a final score of 4-0, it seems that the game was a blowout, but in fact it was just 1-0 after 40 minutes of play. A couple of goals in the first five minutes of the third stretched things out and Alex Nylander’s second goal of the game midway through the period chased Hugo Alnefelt who finished with 16 saves on 20 shots. Brandon Halverson stopped the only shot he faced.

Halverson was back in net for the back half of the home-and-home of the series against the Penguins. He benefited from the Crunch remembering how to score as they dropped two on the Penguins in the first period and then added three more in the second.

Mitchell Chaffee scored twice while Groshev, Joe Carroll and Gage Goncalves also found the back of the net. Max Groshev scored his third of the week with an empty-netter in the third period to put the icing on the cake for Haleverson’s first win since April 7th, 2019 when he was with Hartford and beat Binghamton.

It’s another three-game week for the Crunch as they head to Bridgeport on Tuesday for a 10:30 AM game then have a home-and-home against Hartford on Friday and Saturday.

The Games

Belleville Senators 3, Syracuse Crunch 2 (SO)

Max Groshev (unassisted)

Emil Lilleberg (Max Groshev) Shorthanded

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 4, Syracuse Crunch 0

Syracuse Crunch 6, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3

Joe Carroll (Sean Day, Devante Stephens)

Mitchell Chaffee (Max Crozier, Gage Goncalves) Power Play

Max Groshev (unassisted)

Gage Goncalves (Jack Thompson, Mitchell Chaffee)

Mitchell Chaffee (Gage Goncalves)

Max Groshev (Max Crozier, Emil Lilleberg) Empty Net

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