After a shortened 2020-2021 season that had many challenges due to the pandemic, the Syracuse Crunch and its AHL brethren are looking ahead to what will hopefully be a normal 2021-2022 season.
On Friday, the league announced its full-season slate, with all 31 teams back in the fold and all divisions back to their original alignment from 2019-2020.
But before that, unlike the Kraken expansion draft leaks, on Wednesday fans got a sole hint of what’s to come as the league announced all 31 home openers.
Syracuse’s home opener will be on Saturday, October 23rd. You’ll never guess who the opponent will be...
What a home opener matchup.— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) July 21, 2021
You want to be here for this.
Saturday, Oct. 23
Upstate Medical University Arena pic.twitter.com/tz0M46NY52
However, the Crunch will be starting on the road on October 15th, as they pay a visit to the Cleveland Monsters. Before returning home on the 23rd, Syracuse will head west on the Thruway the night before to open Rochester’s home schedule.
As for the rest of the season, here is a further breakdown:
Schedule by Day:
Naturally, the weekend dominates, with 25 games each on Friday and Saturday, and 3 on Sunday, all road games. There are 19 Wednesday games, 2 Monday, and one each on Tuesday and Thursday. Syracuse will only have 3 3-in-3 weekend sets, and not until late February.
For a 76-game schedule, this is pretty well spaced out. Seven games to start in October, 10 in November, 12 each in December and January, 11 in February, and 12 each in March and April. The Crunch will have 7 home games during January, and 6 each in November and March.
As expected, the most matchups are against Utica (14) and Rochester (12). Against the rest of the North Division, Syracuse will face Cleveland, Laval, and Belleville 8 times each, while only facing Toronto 4 times. The Crunch will also take on the Atlantic Division, with four matchups each against Wilkes-Barre, Hershey, and Charlotte, and two each against Springfield, Hartford, Lehigh Valley, Bridgeport, and Providence.
One thing to remind everyone about this season is the uneven game schedule. Not everyone in the North will be playing the same number of games.
Friday, October 15: The season opens in Cleveland against the Monsters.
Saturday, October 23: Home opener against Utica.
Friday, December 10/Saturday, December 11: Syracuse travels to Charlotte to take on some of their former Panther teammates from 2020-21 in a two-game set.
Wednesday, December 15: The Crunch travel to Canada for the first time since March 7, 2020, to visit the Marlies, who were the opponent that day, a 2-1 win for Syracuse.
Saturday, January 29: Charlotte visits the War Memorial.
Friday, February 25-Sunday, February 27: The first 3 in 3 weekend for the Crunch, as they host Rochester on the 25th and Utica on the 26th before heading south to Wilkes-Barre for a matinee matchup on the 27th.
Friday, April 1-Sunday, April 3: A hectic final stretch begins for Syracuse with a 3 in 3 road trip, as they visit Utica, Hartford, and Providence.
Saturday, April 23: Syracuse will close out their home schedule against Laval.
Sunday, April 24: Syracuse finishes off the regular season—and their third 3 in 3—with a trip to Hershey.
For the full schedule, you can go here. Or check out the Crunch’s postcard collection.