AHL Playoff Game Night: 6-9-17 Griffins at Crunch

Undisciplined, frustrated Crunch on the brink.

GR-3
SYR-2

Grand Rapids Leads the Series 3-1

Mike McKenna allowed 3 goals on 35 shots for the loss.

First Period
10:00 GR Street (7), (Callahan, Tangradi)
17:48 GR Renouf (1), (unassisted)

Second Period
10:33 GR Renouf (2), (Tangradi)
11:45 SYR Gourde (7), (Conacher, McGinn)

Third Period
7:29 SYR Bournival (8), (Dumont, Koekkoek)

Yanni Gourde was the game's three stars.

What a frustrating spot for the Crunch to be in, falling behind 3-1 in the series with all three losses coming by one goal margins. As with Game One, in particular, a lot of difficulty tonight was the Crunch getting into penalty trouble. That doesn't always kill you directly with goals, but it allows your opponent to build possession and momentum and it chops up your flow and ability to get on track offensively. Now, after dropping their first game of the playoffs at home, the key for Syracuse is to not try to get it all back in a single period. The old cliche of "one game at a time" applies: the mission is to pick off Game Five and extend the series back to Grand Rapids and just give yourselves a chance for the comeback.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Win Special Teams Battle, Game 3 Against Griffins


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch won the special teams battle in a crucial Game 3.

The Crunch netted a pair of power play markers and held the Griffins off the board with the man-advantage, as Syracuse topped Grand Rapids, 5-3, in Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals Friday.

The Crunch cuts the Griffins’ series lead to 2-1, with Game 4 set for Friday in Syracuse.

“I believe our specialty teams were good tonight,” Syracuse head coach Benoit Groulx said. “Our PK was solid. We had good sticks, blocked shots, our goalie was good. Our power play go had two goals. That was them the other night with three goals on the power play and a solid PK. Tonight it’s us.”

AHL Playoff Game Night: 6-7-17 Griffins at Crunch

Crunchning Death Star greets Griffins to Syracuse home ice.

GR-3
SYR-5

Grand Rapids Leads the Series 2-1

Mike McKenna allowed 3 goals on 35 shots for the victory.

First Period
7:00 SYR Froese (5), (Koekkoek, Bournival)
9:17 GR Bertuzzi (8), (Frk, Nosek)
15:31 SYR Vermin (8), (Taormina, Erne)
16:28 SYR Vermin (9), (Peca, Thomas)(PP)

Second Period
6:58 GR Turgeon (1), (Campbell, Russo)
13:22 SYR McGinn (5), (Taormina, Conacher)(PP)
15:18 SYR Conacher (11), (McGinn, Gourde)
16:38 GR Criscuolo (5), (Bertuzzi)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Joel Vermin, Tye McGinn, and Cory Conacher were the game's three stars.

There's still a lot of work to be done in Game Four and Game Five on home ice, but you get the sense the Crunch started to take the momentum of the series a little bit with their first match on home ice. After dropping a pair of painful 1-goal losses in Grand Rapids, Syracuse drew blood with the first convincing win by either team of the series. It means nothing without the follow-up effort to get the series all square, though, Like I said, still a lot of work to do.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 6-3-17 Crunch at Griffins

Pressure on Syracuse after a pair of tough 1 goal losses.

SYR-5
GR-6 (2OT)

Grand Rapids Leads the Series 2-0

Mike McKenna allowed 6 goals on 51 shots for the OT loss.

First Period
5:27 GR Frk (4), (Ford, Nosek)(PP)
10:37 SYR Gourde (6), (unassisted)
12:29 GR Street (5), (Tangradi)

Second Period
4:30 SYR Vermin (7), (unassisted)
5:41 SYR Condra (5) ASST: Matthew Peca (9), Michael Bournival (4)
12:53 GR Svechnikov (5), (Callahan, Frk)(PP)

Third Period
0:24 GR Nosek (10), (Street, Frk)(PP)
7:47 SYR Conacher (10), (Gourde, Erne)(PP)
13:36 GR Bertuzzi (7), (Paetsch, Hicketts)
15:15 SYR Bournival (7), (Dotchin, Condra)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Double Overtime
7:02 GR Street (6), (Tangradi)

Cory Conacher was the game's third star.

If the Crunch are looking for silver linings after a pair of painful one goal losses, consider the old adage that it isn't a series until a home team loses a game. Syracuse failed to do the trick and get one of the first two in Michigan, so now they've got the pressure to hold serve in three straight coming up at home. That's difficult, but not impossible, and if there's any other good news it's that Grand Rapids looks a lot more leaky in this Final that the last time when Mrazek was in net and had a forcefield over it.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 6-2-17 Crunch at Griffins

Penalty problems cost Crunch a Game One heartbreaker.

SYR-2
GR-3

Grand Rapids Leads the Series 1-0

First Period
4:56 GR Nosek (8), (Callahan, Bertuzzi)
9:25 SYR Lynch (2), (Conacher)(SH)

Second Period
0:54 SYR Vermin (6), (Gourde, Dotchin)
17:12 GR Paetsch (2), (Campbell, Bertuzzi)

Third Period
19:46 GR Nosek (9), (Ford, Lorito)(PP)

Syracuse nearly executed the Game One theft despite never getting into much of an offensive flow due to unforced penalties, but a late too-many-men call finally did them in. It's a shame. They got a lot of timely saves by McKenna and a couple of great individual efforts to generate goals by Conacher and Gourde, but they couldn't quite manufacture the third goal to get out of the rink with the win. They did start to grow into their game a bit in the Third Period and hopefully they'll build on that and put forth a truer effort in Game Two.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Look to Capitalize on Opportunity Against Griffins in Finals


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The feeling is one that Matt Taormina reluctantly remembers.

The Syracuse Crunch fell behind 3-0 in the Calder Cup Finals in 2013, but became the first team to win back-to-back road elimination games to send the series back to the Onondaga County War Memorial.

But then the disappointment of coming up short, with American Hockey League president Dave Andrews handing the cup to Grand Rapids Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan after Game 6.

For Taormina, the only current member of the Crunch who was on that 2013 playoff run, Syracuse needs to capitalize on the opportunity in front of them as the teams meet again in the Calder Cup Finals starting Friday in Grand Rapids.

"They came in and won it in front of our fans, and that was really hard to deal with," Taormina said. "You don’t really get this opportunity too often to make it all the way to the finals and have a chance of winning. You just have to take advantage of it.”

Lightning Trade Rights to Boko Imama to Kings

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft from the Los Angeles Kings today in exchange for unsigned forward prospect Bokondji Imama, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Imama was drafted by the Lightning in the sixth round, 180th overall, of the 2015 NHL Draft.

Memorial Cup Game Night: 5-28-17

Windsor Spitfires 4 vs Erie Otters 3

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Memorial Cup: 5 GP, 0-2-2, E, 2 PIM
Playoff Totals: 22 GP, 1-8-9, +17, 10 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 41 GP, 4-11-15, +7, 35 PIM

C Anthony Cirelli, Erie: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 8/17 FO
Memorial Cup: 5 GP: 1-7-8, +2, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals: 22 GP, 15-16-31, +18, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 25-39-64, +36, 12 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Memorial Cup: 4 GP, 5-6-11, +2, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals: 22 GP, 12-19-31, +16, 18 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

Windsor won the 2017 Memorial Cup Sunday with a 4-3 victory over the OHL champion Otters, completing a remarkable week for the host team. The Spits were beat out of the first round of the OHL playoffs by London despite leading the Knights 3-1 in the series. The Knights later were beaten in seven games by Erie, so the difference in talent level among the three clubs was close.

On Sunday, Erie had leads of 2-1 and 3-2, but both were relinquished within about two minutes. Windsor scored early in the third period to break a 3-3 tie and the rest is history.

For the Lightning prospects, Anthony Cirelli is already signed and will turn pro next year. He’ll be a key cog in Syracuse’s season, as will Erik Cernak, who is also signed. Taylor Raddysh will return to Erie if he doesn’t make the Lightning out of camp (possible, but not probable) and he’ll be expected to be among the OHL leaders in scoring again. Keep an eye on free agent puck-moving defenseman Darren Raddysh, who could be signed by the Lightning or any other NHL club. He was the conference's top defensive-defenseman last season and offensive-defenseman this season. Taylor’s brother could join Syracuse next season if Tampa Bay signs him.

Crunch Beat Bruins, Advance to Calder Cup Finals


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The puck went right from the pad of Malcolm Subban to the tape of Cory Conacher.

Conacher quickly rifled the rebound into the net, the Crunch focused on keeping play out of their end for the final five minutes and Conacher sealed the win with an empty-netter, as Syracuse topped the Providence Bruins, 3-1, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday

The Crunch win the series 4-1, and advance to take on the Grand Rapids Griffins in the Calder Cup Finals.

“I kind of blacked out,” Conacher said of the game-winning goal. “All I remember is seeing the puck come right to me in the slot there — I was kind of on the right side — and I couldn’t even tell you who shot the puck, to be honest with you. It was just one of those moments where you see the puck, you see the net and you just try to get everything you can on it. Luckily it found the back of the net.”

AHL Playoff Game Night: 5-27-17 Bruins at Crunch

Syracuse punches their ticket for another trip to the Calder Cup Final.

PRO-1
SYR-3

Syracuse Wins the Series 4-1

Mike McKenna allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory. Without the usual aid of gobs of goal support, McKenna came up big to finish off the B's.

First Period
0:41 SYR Thomas (4), (Bournival, Condra)

Second Period
13:27 PRO Porter (5), (Fitzgerald)

Third Period
14:54 SYR Conacher (8), (Thomas, Taormina)
19:01 SYR Conacher (9), (Gourde, Dumont)(EN)

Cory Conacher, McKenna, and Byron Froese were the game's three stars.

Providence put up the kind of effort you'd have expected to see in Game Four, but they eventually met the same fate at the hands of Cory Conacher and the veteran-heavy Crunch. Up next? It'll be a rematch in the Calder Cup Final with the Grand Rapid Griffins, who defeated Syracuse in the 2012-2013 Final. Four years later, only Matt Taormina is on Syracuse's roster from that original squad, but it's still an opportunity for the Crunch and the Lightning organization to settle up with Grand Rapids.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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