Desjardins, Crunch Shut Out Falcons, 3-0

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Most first impressions take all of a few seconds.

For the first 13-plus minutes in front of his new home crowd at the Onondaga County War Memorial, Syracuse Crunch goalie Cedrick Desjardins waited for his opportunity.

When the shots finally came - 26 in total - the New Brunswick native had an answer, notching his first shutout in a Crunch uniform and third of the season in a 3-0 win over the Springfield Falcons Saturday night.

"You want a good first impression at home," Desjardins said. "I don't think it gets better than that."

Syracuse, who leads the Eastern Conference with 70 points in 52 games, has won a season-high six games in a row. With the loss, Springfield remains three behind with two games in hand.

"We knew it was going to be a playoff intensity game, and that's what it was," said Crunch defenseman Mark Barberio.

The checking was tight, the defense was stingy and the goalies dueled. Springfield's Allen York turned away 11 shots in the first and 43 in the game. At the other end of the ice, Desjardins saw four shots in the first period.

"Just stay focused," Desjardins said of his mindset. "Every save was important tonight, because in a 0-0 game, every save is a key save, no matter how hard it was."

Barberio finally opened the scoring less than five minutes into the third with a highlight-reel gem.

"The rebound popped out in the slot to me, and I saw there was a guy down, so I didn't want to shoot it into him," the Crunch defenseman said. "So then I went around him, and then I realized the goalie was already down, so I figured if I could go around him again, I'll try to stuff it."

Brett Connolly and Pierre-Cedric Labrie each received an assist on Barberio's eighth of the year, and crashed the net in case of a followup opportunity.

"Even if it doesn't go in, I knew we had guys around the net that could have banged it in," Barberio said.

Ten seconds after leaving the box for a delay of game penalty midway through the third, Labrie scored on a wraparound to give Syracuse a two-goal lead.

JT Brown, in his first game back since breaking his collarbone in December, added an empty-netter to seal the Crunch victory. Jean-Phillipe Cote chipped in a pair of assists, while Dana Tyrell and JT Wyman each had one.

"Good teams find a way to win," Desjardins said. "That's the result tonight."

Syracuse (32-14-2-4) has a quick turnaround, as it hosts the Connecticut Whale Sunday afternoon. For Barberio, the attitude going into the next game it simple.

"Just try to keep it going," he said. "Just stick to what's working."

Pictured: Crunch goalie Cedrick Desjardins makes a save against the Falcons at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.