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Crunch begin the new campaign with a decisive win over rival Rochester

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The Syracuse Crunch entered the 2016-2017 season Saturday with high expectations from fans and they did not disappoint.

Syracuse Crunch forward Michael Bournival lining up for a faceoff.
Syracuse Crunch forward Michael Bournival lining up for a faceoff.
Photo by: Scott Thomas

Saturday night marked the 23rd season of Syracuse Crunch hockey at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena and the boys in blue did not disappoint. In front of 6,070 members of the Syracuse faithful, the highly touted new look Crunch skated swiftly past the Rochester Americans to start the new season in the win column.

After a defensive stalemate in the first 20 minutes of play, second-year pro Adam Erne was able to solve Rochester goaltender Linus Ullmark sweeping home a loose puck in the crease off of a Dylan Blujus point shot to give the home town team a 1-0 lead.

The Crunch offense came alive as the second period winded down tallying three more goals in quick succession. The first came off of an impressive cross crease feed from Adam Erne that Tye McGinn was able to shovel into the back of the Amerks net at the 6:59 mark of the stanza.

The third Crunch goal of the game came at the 2:55 mark of the second period when returning Crunch forward and former AHL MVP Cory Conacher sailed a long saucer pass from the top of the right circle and found a streaking Joel Vermin in the blue paint to extend the Crunch lead to 3-0.

The second period scoring party for Syracuse concluded just 22 seconds later as red hot Michael Bournival gathered a fat rebound out in front of the Rochester netminder and easily ripped it home to give Syracuse a 4-0 lead.

Kristers Gudlevskis looked solid in goal stopping 20 out of 21 Rochester shots and surrendering the only Amerks tally on an odd man rush. That Amerks goal was scored by Buffalo Sabres 2013 second round draft pick Justin Bailey six minutes in to the third period.

Author Notes:

- Syracuse Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx has yet to name a team captain. Matt Taormina, Luke Witkowski, and Gabriel Dumont each were alternate captains.

- Due to the veteran limit Pierre-Luc-Letourneau-Leblond and Jeremy Morin were both healthy scratches.

The Crunch and Americans will do it all over again tonight at Blue Cross arena in Rochester. Puck drop is set for 5pm.