It’s happening again. The Syracuse Crunch are just two wins shy of tying their season-high winning streak of ten games in a row. What is even more impressive this time around is how and with whom they have done it.
Syracuse has been without key players Dennis Yan and Anthony Cirelli for a couple of contests while head coach Ben Groulx has been forced to hand the reigns over to rookie netminder Connor Ingram; Louis Domingue is soaking up the sun in Tampa Bay. The 20-year-old keeper hasn’t disappointed, winning all six of his last starts. The “baby Bolts” are rolling and the future certainly looks bright.
Wednesday January 10th
Crunch - 4
Devils - 1
Friday January 12th
Crunch - 3
Comets - 2
Saturday January 13th
Crunch - 4
Americans - 0
- What worked?
Pretty much everything is clicking for the Syracuse Crunch right now. The goaltending has been terrific, the guys up front have been scoring at will, and perhaps most importantly, the special teams have been rolling. There’s no denying that the Crunch are an undisciplined group and that comes with the youth on the roster. They currently sit third in the Eastern Conference in penalty minutes with 624 so needless to say, the penalty kill unit sees its fair share of action.
Over the course of the three games the Crunch played this week, the penalty killers saw the ice on 18 different occasions and stymied the competition all 18 times. In addition, Groulx’s squad has killed off 74 of the last 79 power play opportunities their opponents have had. That stat has been good enough to propel the ‘Cuse penalty kill to fourth in the conference with an execution rate of 86.3 percent.
On the other hand is the Crunch power play. While the man-advantage hasn’t been nearly as efficient as the PK, they have slowly but surely improved and become more consistent in their efforts. They were good for one power play goal per game this week and while that may not be “setting the world on fire”, it’s much better than the 2-for-34 mark they posted at the beginning of the season.
First star of the week:
Mathieu Joseph - 1G, 2A
It didn’t take long for Syracuse Crunch fans to come to terms with the fact that all of the hype surrounding 20-year-old rookie forward Mathieu Joseph was real. The 2015 fourth round pick of the Lightning has proved to be a hidden gem among his draft class by stunning the War Memorial faithful with his quick release, soft hands, and overall knack for making plays.
Joseph has quietly moved up the leaderboard to fourth on the team in scoring with 25 points and if his play on Saturday against Rochester was any indication of how he is progressing at the pro level, he won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Against one of the best teams in the entire AHL, the young native of Laval scored a goal on a massive rip directly off of a faceoff and then set up two of the prettiest goals I have seen in a while.
The kid is talented. I strongly believe that he will see NHL time sooner rather than later. Get down to the War Memorial and check it out.
Adam Erne - 2G, 2A
Carter Verhaeghe - 1G, 2A
Monday January 15th vs Binghamton (11-20-5-2)
Wednesday January 17th @ Belleville (16-21-0-3)
Friday January 19th vs Toronto (28-11-0-0)
Saturday January 20th @ Utica (17-14-4-3)