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Syracuse Crunch

Crunch Surge Early, Hang On Late in Game 2 Win Over Marlies


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch surged early, but had to hang on at the end.

The Crunch scored three times before the Marlies got a shot on goal and limited the Marlies to two shots in the first 20 minutes. Toronto was able to capitalize on three power plays to cut its deficit to two, but Syracuse held on for an 8-5 win in Game 2 of the North Division Finals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

Syracuse leads the series 2-0 as the series continues in Toronto Tuesday.

“I think tonight showed some of our best hockey and then later in the game maybe not some of our best,” Crunch forward Matthew Peca said. “Limiting a team to two shots is pretty good. It’s all a part of how well we started. We were hitting. We were shooting. We were keeping the puck in their zone. We just have to play in their end and we’ll be fine.”

AHL Playoff Game Night: 5-6-17 Marlies at Crunch

Crunchning Death Star snowmans unsuspecting Marlies.

TOR-5
SYR-8

Syracuse Leads the Series 2-0

Mike McKenna allowed 5 goals on 19 shots for the victory. Maybe not a banner night for McKenna, but he got that sweet nectar known as goal support.

First Period
3:27 SYR Conacher (2), (Froese, Thomas)(SH)
4:48 SYR Bournival (1), (Conacher, Gourde)
9:30 SYR Peca (1), (Bournival, Erne)
15:15 TOR Johnsson (3), (Holl)
19:39 SYR McGinn (3), (Froese, Taormina)(PP)

Second Period
2:29 SYR Vermin (2), (Walcott, Lynch)
4:00 SYR Peca (2), (Condra, McGinn)
8:15 TOR O'Reilly (1), (Grundstrom, Griffith)(PP)
12:00 TOR Kapanen (1), (Dermott)(PP)

Third Period
10:46 TOR Grundstrom (1), (Nielsen, Griffith)(PP)
11:58 SYR Conacher (3), (Gourde)(SH)
16:18 SYR Vermin (3), (Masin, Gourde)(EN)
18:56 TOR Griffith (1), (Greening)

Cory Conacher, Matthew Peca, and Michael Bournival were the game's three stars. There's little doubt this has been a veteran-heavy effort in the playoffs thus far, but it's good to see Matthew Peca having a good playoff run too, and he's now up to a point a game so far.

Syracuse did an excellent job to hold serve at home in Game One and Two, making sure that Toronto suffered properly for stubbing their toe in their regular season finale on the way to losing the North Division crown. That said, the old adage is still true: it's not a series until someone loses a game at home. Syracuse's challenge now is to win at least one game in the Marlies' barn with a view toward winning this series as quickly as possible in preparation for the colossal challenge that awaits if they can make it to the conference final.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Froese Haunts Former Team, Crunch Take Game 1 Against Marlies


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Dealt at the deadline, Byron Froese had a chance to show what he could do against his former team.

Froese finished with a goal and an assist to lift the Syracuse Crunch over the Toronto Marlies, 3-1, in Game 1 of the North Division Finals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday. Game 2 is set for Saturday in Syracuse.

“It’s not personal, but you always want to play well against a team that traded you away, right?” Froese said. “I don’t think I left on bad trms at all, but it’s an exciting series and it’s a big series for us.”

AHL Playoff Game Night: 5-5-17 Marlies at Crunch

Crunch win Game Uno on Cinco de Mayo.

TOR-1
SYR-3

Syracuse Leads the Series 1-0

Mike McKenna allowed 1 goal on 25 shots for the victory.

First Period
1:39 TOR Johnsson (2), (Nielsen, Moore)
14:40 SYR Condra (3), (Froese, Taormina)(PP)

Second Period
16:15 SYR Froese (2), (Erne, Walcott)

Third Period
18:43 SYR Gourde (1), (Conacher, Condra)(EN)

Byron Froese, McKenna, and Erik Condra were the game's three stars. Froese, the ex-Marlie, with a first taste of vengeance against his ex-organization.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Top IceCaps in OT, Advance to North Division Finals


By Jeremy Houghtaling

A former member of the IceCaps came back to haunt the team.

Gabriel Dumont scored 2:18 into overtime to lift the Syracuse Crunch to a 2-1 overtime win over St. John’s in Game 4 of the North Division Semifinals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

The Crunch take the series 3-1 and advance to the North Division Finals, while the IceCaps’ franchise is set to move to Laval next season.

“There was two guys in front, so I didn’t really see it go in. I just heard the puck hit the middle post and the goal light go on,” Dumont said. “I was pretty excited and I didn’t know what to do.”

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4-28-17 IceCaps at Crunch

Crunchning Death Star moves on to its next target.

STJ-1
SYR-2 (OT)

Syracuse Wins the Series 3-1

Mike McKenna allowed 1 goal on 27 shots for the victory. After an uneven close to his regular season after the trade deadline, McKenna's upped his game for the postseason.

First Period
16:41 SYR Condra (2), (McGinn, Peca)(PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
14:27 STJ Matteau (3), (Audette, de la Rose)(PP)

Overtime
2:18 SYR Dumont (1), (Froese, Erne)

McKenna, Gabriel Dumont, and Erik Condra were the game's three stars as the veterans continue to drive the bus for the Crunch.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Win Game 3, Push IceCaps to Brink of Elimination


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Despite letting an early two-goal lead slip away, the Syracuse Crunch found a way to pull out a win.

Byron Froese scored with 3:55 left in the second period and the Crunch held the IceCaps off the board the rest of the way, as Syracuse beat St. Johns, 3-2, in the North Division Semifinals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday. Syracuse leads the series 2-1 and hosts Game 4 of the best-of-five series on Friday.

Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx knew the series would be a physical back-and-forth battle.

“It’s been like that since day one and we don’t expect anything different Friday,” he said. “It’s a hard-fought battle and we found a way to win, so it’s good.”

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4-26-17 IceCaps at Crunch

Crunchning Death Star on the cusp of advancing.

STJ-2
SYR-3

Syracuse Leads the Series 2-1

Mike McKenna allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the pivotal Game Three victory.

First Period
11:30 SYR Vermin (1), (Howden, Ikonen)
13:28 SYR Condra (1), (McGinn, Taormina)

Second Period
12:17 STJ Redmond (1), (Hudon, Scherbak)(PP)
12:45 STJ Matteau (2), (Friberg, Lernout)
16:05 SYR Froese (1), (unassisted)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Mike McKenna, Byron Froese, and Erik Condra were the game's three stars, as the vets continue to lead the way. That said, it should be noted that Brett Howden continues to be a contributor for the club since coming on board late in the regular season.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4-22-17 Crunch at IceCaps

Crunchning Death Star comes from behind to quell rebel IceCaps uprising in 2OT.

SYR-4
STJ-3 (2OT)

Series Tied 1-1

Mike McKenna allowed 3 goals on 41 shots for the victory.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
8:33 STJ de la Rose (1), (Matteau, Friberg)
10:10 SYR Koekkoek (1), (Peca, Condra)

Third Period
4:46 STJ Hudon (1), (Terry, Scherbak)
8:30 STJ Matteau (1), (Friberg, Redmond)
15:43 SYR Taormina (1), (Condra, Conacher)
17:16 SYR Conacher (1), (Taormina, Thomas)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Double Overtime
10:37 SYR McGinn (2), (Peca, Taormina)

Tye McGinn and Cory Conacher were the game's first and third stars.

In these shortened best-of-five opening round series, it's not necessarily a death sentence to fall behind 2-0 on the road, but it seriously puts the favorite behind the eight ball if they do. Syracuse faced that dire prospect tonight down 2 goals with 6 minutes to go in regulation, when the Crunch veterans decided to put their stamp on this game and quite possibly change the course of this series.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4-21-17 Crunch at IceCaps

Crunchning Death Star finds it harder to destroy worlds in opening playoff tilt.

SYR-1
STJ-2

St. John's Leads the Series 1-0

Mike McKenna allowed 2 goals on 21 shots for the loss.

First Period
16:05 STJ Scherbak (1), (Hudon, de la Rose)(PP)

Second Period
2:59 STJ Terry (1), (Hudon)

Third Period
10:21 SYR McGinn (1), (Peca, Howden)(PP)

McKenna was the game's third star.

Seems like the 'ning part of the equation may need to be a little more assertive in Game Two. Among the cadre of forwards who returned from Tampa Bay at season's end, the Crunch got 0 shots on goal from Conacher and Vermin and just 1 shot on goal a piece from Dumont and Gourde. At this time of year, your best players need to be your best players.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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