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Rutta slander will not be tolerated 2021 CapFriendly Bracket Challenge Champion
Forum: Tampa Bay Lightning9 hours ago
*Just a quick note on my Crunch content this season, rather than doing individual threads for games or groups of games I am just going to keep it all in one thread - this thread - so, feel free to comment in-between my update posts.*

The Crunch opened their season in Cleveland vs. the Cleveland Monsters (Columbus Blue Jackets) with a 6-4 win. It was a game of firsts and injuries for the Crunch as multiple players made their AHL debuts (one unexpectedly), scored their first AHL goals, and unfortunately ended up injured. Before I breakdown the game I will post the even-strength lines, special teams lines/players, and after the game breakdown I will include the stats for individual players with some miscellaneous thoughts to wrap things up.

Game Lines:



Special Teams Lines (what I could determine):
- Most of the forwards played on the power play except for maybe Walcott.
- Raddysh and Green looked to be the defensemen QBing the #1 and #2 power play units with Day also getting some ice-time.
- The forward PKers looked to be mainly made up of a mixture of Morand, Dumont, Fortier, Walcott, and Koepke.

<strong>Game Breakdown:</strong>
The Crunch started off slow in the 1st period of the game initially surrendering a 0-2 lead to Cleveland. Cleveland's first goal came off a well executed play at even-strength that cleanly beat Legace, but I could not fault any of the skaters for. The second was a goal on a 5-on-3 for Cleveland, which would become a trend for them as the game wore on. The Crunch eventually got on the board with a power play goal from Huntington after a nice feed from Element, and then they quickly followed it up with a tying goal from Hudon who redirected a pass from Ryan Jones in front of the net.

The 2nd period would begin with a scary incident where Hudon was pushed head first into the corner glass by the Crunch's bench. Hudon remained down for half a minute before rising up and skating to the locker room under his own power and would shortly return to the game. The hit actually resulted in the glass breaking - not shattering- or becoming dislodged and required fixing before the game could resume. Funny enough it took a fan sitting in the corner seat by the bench to start banging on the glass to call attention to the fact that it needed repairs. The scoring in the period would begin shortly thereafter with Day passing the puck up ice to Element who would fire it at the net with Cajkovic crashing in to cash in on the rebound for his first AHL career goal in his AHL debut.

The Monsters would tie the game up later in the 2nd on a bit of a freak play that Legace really should have had, but immediately after Legace was down on the ice and requiring the attention of the trainers. Replay showed him immediately grab his knee after trying to cut across the crease to stop a shot that would go in between his left skate and the post. He eventually slowly skated off under his own power and would not return for the rest of the game. Alnfelt would get to make an unexpected debut. To make matters worse for the Crunch, not long after Legace going down, Somppi was pushed down wile charging the net and went head/shoulder first into the back boards hard. Somppi was down for several minutes before being stretchered off the ice. If there was one good sign it was that he was able to get up onto the stretcher without assistance. As anyone reading this probably knows I am a big fan of Somppi, so here's to a quick recovery as this was shaping up to be an important season for him in the organization.

Fortier gets his own paragraph because he did not get the assist on this shorthanded goal he initiated. The Crunch were on the PK with Fortier and Koepke on the ice. After having chased the puck through the offensive zone Fortier tied up the puck and Cleveland player in the neutral zone before Koepke swooped in to grab the puck and pass it off to a charging Day on the weak side of the ice. Fortier even gets the video treatment for this, but unfortunately it cuts out most of the good he did in the play. You will see he has the player pinned at around the blue line before Koepke grabs the puck, but then jumps off the ice. I promise you this play does not happen without Fortier's efforts before the video starts.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">First career shorty for Day! 🚨 <a href="https://t.co/jVHsOyQFMs" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">pic.twitter.com/jVHsOyQFMs</a></p>— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) <a href="https://twitter.com/SyracuseCrunch/status/1449176769966354444?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">October 16, 2021</a></blockquote>

With the injuries done and this starting to get longer than I want it I will make the 3rd period recap brief. Dumont had a shot from the blueline that would be redirected across the crease for Gage Goncalves to record his first AHL goal. Dumont would make it a 6-3 game with an empty netter shortly after Cleveland pulled their goalie. Unfortunately with there being more than 2 minutes left everyone seemed to think it was a job well done and let a Monster waltz into the front of the net and make it 6-4. Alnefelt had been pitching a shutout since he entered the game in relief of the injured Legace, but still had a strong debut. Oh and because Fortier gets the video treatment, so does Goncalves :)
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">First pro goal for <a href="https://twitter.com/GageGoncalves?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">@GageGoncalves</a>! 👏 <a href="https://t.co/COljNYkeSx" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">pic.twitter.com/COljNYkeSx</a></p>— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) <a href="https://twitter.com/SyracuseCrunch/status/1449182439851581442?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">October 16, 2021</a></blockquote>
<strong>Game Stats: (only Goals and Assists - no +/-)</strong>
Gabriel Dumont - 1G 1A
Maxim Cajkovic - 1G 1A
Sean Day - 1G 1A
Shawn Element - 0G 2A
Jimmy Huntington - 1G 0A
Gage Goncalves - 1G 0A
Charles Hudon - 1G 0A
Ryan Jones - 0G 1A
Cole Koepke - 0G 1A
Antoine Morand - 0G 1A

<strong>Misc. Thoughts:</strong>
- Some injury issues leading into this game: 1) Odeen Tufto is still recovering from surgery over the offseason 2) Remi Elie was apparently injured in the Lightning's first preseason game and remains out 3) Gemel Smith remains out after being injured in Bolts training camp. Joe Smith mentioned today he has scheduled surgery coming up soon.
- On the Tufto injury I hope he gets healthy soon as I thought he showed promise in his limited sample size last season after turning pro after 4 seasons of NCAA hockey.
- Shawn Element had a really strong first half of the game. He is only on an AHL contract, but he was good all over the ice. Recall he was part of the Element-MacDonald-McDonnell line that impressed throughout the Prospect Tournament in September.
- Cajkovic has made me a believer in him since the Prospect Tournament. This guy might be special, but I want to see a bigger sample size.
- The obligatory Fortier thought is that even if his offense never fully shows, he does seem to be a gifted PKer. He was trusted early on the PK last season, and his work tonight led to a shorthanded goal for Sean Day. He could be a candidate to replace Maroon on the 4th line LW position once they kick him out - Maroon's words, not mine - at the very least in the future.
- Legace and Somppi both may be out extended periods of time. Legace's injury looks like it could have been a non-contact knee injury, and those are never good news. And Somppi will hopefully have escaped serious injury, but cannot ignore the fact he was stretchered off the ice.
- Alnefelt made some wicked saves on a 5-on-3 for Cleveland in the 3rd period. I don't think he was tested all that much, but he had a solid game in relief of Legace. He will likely play the second game of the weekend tomorrow assuming Legace remains out.
- The shot totals for the game will show Cleveland outshooting Syracuse 22-26, but they had 3 5-on-3's to work with. I thought Syracuse controlled most of the game and at least matched the intensity of Cleveland throughout.
- Ryfors was pretty invisible tonight. Not bad, but I don't recall him seeing much ice-time in the second half of the game.
- Dumont had 19 PIM lol. He did a lot of sticking up for other players tonight, nothing undisciplined.
- No captain has been named for the Crunch this season yet.
- If Somppi misses time, I really want to see a Fortier-Goncalves-Cajkovic line happen. I believe they were the line when Fortier had his hat trick in the preseason, and I believe that line presents a balanced set of skills among the three. Hopefully Somppi is okay, but injuries do breed opportunities for others.

*This was long, yes thanks for noticing and mentioning. I don't know if I'll do this again, but I was really excited to watch Crunch hockey again, and was lucky to have their debut happen on a Lightning off night. Bolts and Crunch play tomorrow night, so definitely nothing as in-depth tomorrow. If you have any comments or concerns about Fortier or Fortier I will be happy to answer them :)*
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