Syracuse Crunch

Crunch's Thomas Looks to Be Impact Player at Both Ends of the Ice

By Jeremy Houghtaling

A deep playoff run last season was key to Ben Thomas’ development.

The defenseman went from earning a regular shift to more duties, including special teams, during his rookie season with the Syracuse Crunch. Each step of the way to the Calder Cup Finals added to Thomas’ confidence, and he frequently looked to join and support the rush.

Thomas looks to become more an impact player at both ends of the ice in his second pro season.

“I think it’s a part of my game. I like to jump in the rush and help create offense,” Thomas said. “I think now I definitely have the confidence to do that and get back into my position to be a good defender. It’s been one thing I’ve always liked to implement in my game, and I’m going to try and continue to do it.”

AHL Game Night: 10-21-17 Thunderbirds at Crunch

Crunch finally break through with a big win.


Connor Ingram allowed 1 goal on 23 shots for the victory. He played well in relief against the Devils and followed it up with another solid effort.

17:45 SYR McGinn (2), (Conacher, Lynch)

Second Period
14:44 SYR Akeson (1), (Erne)

Third Period
3:19 SYR Bournival (2), (Erne, Masin)
4:42 SPR Valk (1), (Hawryluk, Wittchow)(PP)
19:57 SYR Bournival (3), (Lynch, Cirelli)(EN)

Ingram, Jason Akeson, and Adam Erne were the game's three stars.

After a healthy dose of one goal losses, the Crunch finally picked themselves off the mat against the 0-6-0 Thunderbirds. Is the win impressive given the quality of opponent? Who cares. It was necessary, and the team got it.

Box score from

Crunch Thump Winless Thunderbirds

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Syracuse Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx believes his team took a big step forward.

The Crunch created significantly more scoring chances and held the Thunderbirds off the board until the third period, as Syracuse beat winless Springfield 4-1 at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“I thought tonight was pretty good. We were a second effort hockey club,” Groulx said. “Many blocked shots by many different players. They’re driving the net. That demands a second effort. I thought we played well in the three zones and we moved the puck quick.

“They had a push late in the game, but overall I thought we controlled that game pretty well.”

AHL Game Night: 10-20-17 Devils at Crunch

The struggle continues.


Michael Leighton allowed 2 goals on 2 shots before being lifted quickly in the First Period. Connor Ingram allowed 1 goal on 20 shots for the injustice of the backdoor loss.

First Period
0:11 BNG Quenneville (4), (Bastian, Strait)
3:57 BNG Speers (1), (Pietila, Rooney)
11:49 BNG Lappin (4), (Erixon, Kapla)

Second Period
11:54 SYR Bournival (1), (unassisted)(SH)
13:26 SYR Cernak (2), (Bodie)(SH)

Third Period

Michael Bournival and Erik Cernak were the game's second and third stars.

Syracuse sits alone in the North Division basement at a dismal 1-4-1-0. That said, they've only really been run off the rink in one of the losses (against the Penguins) and there's probably an alternate dimension where Syracuse could just as easily be 4-1-1-0. There's no such thing as moral victories, though, and Syracuse needs to figure out how to get on the right side of these 1 goal decisions quickly.

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PK Provides Spark, But Crunch Can't Overcome Rough Start vs. Devils

By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch’s penalty kill provided a spark in the second period, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a rough start.

Syracuse allowed goals on the first two shots and trailed 3-0 after the first 20 minutes. The Crunch netted a pair of shorthanded markers on the same penalty, but their rally came up short in a 3-2 loss to the Binghamton Devils at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“Obviously, when you have a rough start like we did tonight, you only can get better,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “When you’re down 3-0 after the first period, you have a choice. You battle back or you quit. I like the fact tonight we battled back. We had our chances. We manufactured more chances on the power play. Their goalie was good and they blocked shots.

“Other than the first period, I thought we got much better. It’s a work in progress I guess.”

Cirelli Brings Big Game Experience to Crunch

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Anthony Cirelli is used to the big stage at the junior level.

The center led Oshawa to an Ontario Hockey League championship and won the Memorial Cup with the Generals in 2015. Cirelli won silver with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships last winter, after a trade in January, Cirelli led Erie to another OHL title and trip to the Memorial Cup.

The Syracuse Crunch rookie hopes his experience in big games translates to success at the professional level.

"I've been to the (Memorial Cup) finals a couple times. Losing that second one was kind of hard and losing in the World Junior final there was tough," Cirelli said. "But just being a part of those teams, knowing those guys, playing through long playoff runs and playing those pressure games helped take my development to the next level."

AHL Game Day: 10-15-17 Crunch at Penguins

Crushing road loss caps unsuccessful weekend for Syracuse.

WBS- 6

Connor Ingram allowed 6 goals on 31 shots for the defeat. Welcome to the AHL.

First Period
0:34 WBS Dea (2), (Bengtsson)

Second Period
1:16 WBS Wilson (2), (Sprong, Quinney)
4:16 WBS DiPauli (2), (Blueger, Sestito)
12:04 SYR Conacher (3), (McBain, Joseph)(PP)
16:59 WBS Thomas (1), (Trotman, Kostopoulos)(PP)

Third Period
9:47 WBS Sprong (4), (Quinney, Corrado)
14:42 WBS Quinney (1), (Sprong)

Well, at least Mathieu Joseph got his first pro point.

Box score from

Crunch Lose Special Teams Battle to Comets

By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch lost the special teams battle.

The Crunch finished the night 0-for-5 with the man-advantage and allowed a pair of Comets power play goals, as Syracuse fell to Utica, 3-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“They were the best team in the first period. We got better as the game went along,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “Overall, I think your best players are playing on specialty teams, and I think their best players were better than ours today.”

AHL Game Night: 10-14-17 Comets at Crunch

Crunch drop another tightly fought battle.


Michael Leighton allowed 3 goals on 19 shots as the Comets overcame a 26-19 shot disparity to pull out the win.

First Period
7:57 UTI Goldobin (3), (Boucher, Holm)
19:14 SYR Conacher (2), (Bodie, Cirelli)

Second Period
12:41 UTI Holm (1), (Bancks, Goldobin)(PP)

Third Period
3:22 SYR Cernak (1), (Stephens, Walcott)
6:38 UTI Chaput (1), (McEneny, Holm)(PP)

Mitchell Stephens was the game's second star. He assisted on Erik Cernak's first professional goal in the defeat.

Box score from

Yan Scores First Pro Goals, Crunch Beat Senators

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Dennis Yan hit a career milestone, but was more concerned with the final result.

The Crunch rookie netted his first professional goal in the second period and added the eventual game-winner early in the third, as Syracuse beat the Belleville Senators, 4-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“Of course it feels good, but I’m really happy we got the first win of the season because we started with two losses,” Yan said. “So I’m happy for the guys. The first win is important and we still have two games this weekend, so it’s pretty good to have the first win this weekend.”

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