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Syracuse Crunch Weekly: North Division postponements coming to an end, games returning

Another date with Wilkes/Barre-Scranton, but maybe a new opponent this weekend?

Syracuse Crunch and Rochester Americans face-off during an American Hockey League (AHL) game at the Upstate Medical University Arena in Syracuse, New York on Monday, March 1, 2021. Syracuse won 4-3.
Credit: Scott Thomas

As of today, it’s been fourteen days since the Rochester Americans and Utica Comets last played a game. The Binghamton Devils and Lehigh Valley Phantoms have begun playing again after their quarantines. It feels like the the outbreak that has plagued the North Division is on its last legs and finally all seven teams can start playing each other again.

If things go right, the Crunch should have three games to play this weekend against three different opponents, but that’ll be dependent on the Utica Comets and Rochester Americans being cleared and safe in their travels around the State.

Games this Week

Game #12: Syracuse Crunch at WBS Penguins (Wed, Mar 23, 7pm)

The Crunch have a three-game winning streak going over the WBS Penguins and they’ll get a chance to win a fourth tonight in Pennsylvania. Somehow, the Crunch have really found the Penguins’ number and have been beating them quite handily every game.

Game #13: Syracuse Crunch at Rochester Americans (Fri, Mar 26, 7pm) - Maybe

By the time this game comes around, it’ll be about two weeks since the Amerks were shut down due to COVID. This doesn’t guarantee anything, but there’s hope they’ll be able to play and the Crunch will be able to travel to Rochester and play them. The AHL hasn’t been pressured to decide one way or another just yet, we’ll obviously have more information on Thursday and Friday, which we’ll share on the site.

If the Amerks do get to play on Friday, the Crunch will be their first opponent in over two weeks. Without practices, they’ll likely be rusty. The Amerks have also lost a few players to the Buffalo Sabres as they also deal with COVID protocols.

Game #14: Utica Comets at Syracuse Crunch (Sat, Mar 27, 7pm) - Maybe

While it’s the third game of the week, I’m least confident in this game happening because the Utica vs. Rochester game earlier this week was postponed due to protocols affecting the Comets. If they’re still in protocol, they might not get cleared by the end of the week.

Transactions

The Crunch have returned Greg Meireles to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL. This likely indicates the Crunch have forwards coming back. They played 11 forwards over the weekend, so there’s a chance both Grigori Denisenko is out of travel quarantine and Aleksi Heponiemi is healthy from his leg injury. Both would be a significant boost to the offense.

Around the League

Good Boys and Good Boys!

Congrats to Tampa Bay Lightning / Syracuse Crunch Director of Player Development JP Cote on receiving his Stanley Cup. Feels pretty light, doesn’t it?

Chris Gibson earned Crunch Player of the Week after his season debut win on Friday.