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Syracuse Crunch Preview: Lightning call up five players, Goncalves rejoins Crunch

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It’s the last game of the season!

Syracuse Crunch Boris Katchouk (13) skating with the puck against the Utica Comets in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Upstate Medical University Arena in Syracuse, New York on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Syracuse won 5-2.
Credit: Scott Thomas

It’s been a... season, which is more than I could’ve imagined in the summer. There were scares, uncertainty, and delays, but the league got through it and are happily optimistic about a full season next year.

The Crunch were hoping to see growth in a lot of players, and they got that with breakout years for Boris Katchouk, Taylor Raddysh, Sean Day, and several others. Daniel Walcott, Ross Colton, Alex Barre-Boulet, Ben Thomas all made their NHL debuts with the Tampa Bay Lightning, which was great.

The team took a big step this year, and genuinely played to the level of a playoff team. Hopefully with a full AHL season, we can see them compete for a Calder Cup in 2022.

But until then, there is one more game to go.

The (Last) Game this Week Season

Game #32: Syracuse Crunch at Rochester Americans (Sat, May 15, 7pm)

The Crunch will close the season on the road against the Rochester Americans, who have a pretty stacked lineup for the last game of the season. All of the team’s top players are back after time on the Buffalo Sabres, while the Crunch have lost most of their top players (see below). The Amerks finish the season with a 3-in-3 against Utica, Syracuse, and then Utica again on Sunday, the last day of the regular season (for teams not in Canada). The Toronto Marlies, who had their own outbreak, still have a week to go before they’re done.

Five Key Players Head to Tampa Bay for Playoffs, One Returns

With the playoffs on the horizon, the Lightning have dissolved their Taxi Squad and called those players, along with five from the Crunch up to the playoff roster ahead of Game 1 on Sunday. The players called up include:

Boris Katchouk, Taylor Raddysh, Andreas Borgman, Cal Foote, and Spencer Martin.

Gage Goncalves has made his way back to the Crunch after his short, but sweet, season in the WHL. He joins a final roster that looks like this:

Forwards

Otto Somppi, Jimmy Huntington, Peter Abbandonato, Ryan Lohin, Antoine Morand, Declan McDonnell. Henry Bowlby, Gabriel Fortier, Serron Noel, Cole Koepke, Nikita Pavlychev, Odeen Tufto, Brad Morrison, Gage Goncalves, Boo Nieves (inj)

Defense

Luke Witkowski, Chase Priskie, Devante Stephens, Lucas Carlsson, Sean Day, John Ludvig, Alex Green, Vladislav Kolyachonok, Jack Thompson

Goalies

Tyler Johnson (not that one), Ryan Bednard

Around the AHL

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers have changed their name to the Bridgeport Islanders. The social media campaign was odd, and both the name and logo have fans confused and upset because there are no islands in Connecticut and they liked their tiger.

The Central Division is a place where families collide, apparently.