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Crunch Corner: The Syracuse Crunch rally to defeat Rochester

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Crunch forward Kevin Lynch completed a third period rally in a winning effort against Rochester on Saturday night.
Photo by Scott Thomas

Crunch fans weren’t sure what to expect heading into this past weekend with two tough matchups slated against the first place Toronto Marlies and a much improved Rochester Americans team. The early season woes of Syracuse have been well documented. After Friday’s contest, things didn’t appear to be improving. The Crunch were outclassed in just about every facet of the game and head coach Ben Groulx was far from happy.

The good news? The Crunch bounced back on Saturday night and displayed a ton of poise and resilience.

Weekend Scores

Weekend scores

Day Home Away Boxscore Highlights
Day Home Away Boxscore Highlights
Friday, October 27th Syracuse 2 Marlies 4 https://theahl.com/stats/game-summary/1017226 https://youtu.be/zhJtcfbnlXk
Saturday, October 28th Rochester 2 Syracuse 3 https://theahl.com/stats/game-summary/1017239 https://youtu.be/D8BSCJradc4

Weekly Assessments:

  • What worked?

Perhaps the biggest and brightest takeaway from this past weekend was the steady offensive production of the Crunch’s rookie forwards. In the early going of this year it has been the veterans leading the way almost exclusively on the stat sheet, but that was far from being the case on Friday and Saturday.

Crunch fans got a glimpse of just how bright the future of the organization is with big goals coming from Mitchell Stephens, Alexander Volkov, and Anthony Cirelli. The majority of the Syracuse rookies have had a tough time adjusting to the pro ranks through the first month of the new campaign, but a weekend like the one the young guns just had is a very encouraging sign going forward. This is a tough league to play in, but it seems the kids are finally starting to figure it out.

  • What needs work going forward?

In last week’s edition of the Crunch Corner I intentionally avoided speaking on the power play unit simply because it’s obvious that it’s the team's’ biggest achilles heel. We know it’s been bad. What else is there to say right? They will come around eventually won’t they?

Well, the bad news is that as a whole, it still wasn’t a great two games when the Crunch had the extra man. Out of a total of 13 chances, the boys in blue were stymied all but one time. While Anthony Cirelli’s one power play marker on the weekend was a big one and step in the right direction, the Syraucuse special teams unit has statistically hit rock bottom.

The team now sits dead last in the entire league while on the man advantage, having converted just three out of 56 chances. That stat translates into a dismal 5.4% conversion rate. Sitting just ahead of the Crunch are the Texas Stars whose conversion rate is a lowly 8.1 percent. However, it’s noteworthy that the Stars have converted the same amount of times as the Crunch but on 19 less opportunities.

If there’s any silver lining it’s that it can only get better from here... right?

  • First star of the week:

Kevin Lynch: 1G, 1A

Crunch forward Kevin Lynch is a guy that you can’t help but root for. He’s one of those gritty blue collar players that always leaves it all on the ice every single night. The 26-year-old Michigan native won’t stun you with blinding speed or effortless dekes, but he will do all the little things that normally don’t show up on the score sheet.

As of late, however, Lynch has been showing up on the score sheet, a change of pace that nobody is going to complain about. Lynch netted the eventual game winning goal at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester on Saturday that gave the Crunch a much needed two points against their division rival. The University of Michigan product has two goals on the early season that now has him sitting just three goals shy of his total from the 37 games he played in the Salt City last year. At just 26 years of age, Lynch is finding himself in a position where he is one of the older guys on the roster and his play as of late is proof of his moxie.

Honorable mentions:

Michael Bournival: 1G, 1A

Alexander Volkov: 1G

Looking ahead:

Wednesday, November 1st @ Belleville (4-4-0-1)

Friday/Saturday, November 3rd & 4th @ Laval (5-3-2-0)