Two points the hard way.
Cedrick Desjardins stopped 19 of 20 in regulation and OT and 5 of 6 in the shootout for the win. He'll backstop most, if not all, of Syracuse's games over the next couple of weeks as Helenius recovers from the dreaded upper body ailment.
UTI Stuart, (2) (Sauve, Dalpe), 4:39 (PP)
SYR Kucherov, (6) (Taormina, Namestnikov), 6:43 (PP)
SYR- Richard, Paquette
Cedric Paquette (Dump Truck!) and Desjardins were the game's first and second stars. Paquette scored the winning shootout goal to deliver the payload! They seriously need to play a truck horn when he scores. Nikita Kucherov continues to stake his claim as the most dangerous power play weapon in the AHL, aided and abetted by partner-in-crime Vladislav Namestnikov.
Syracuse outshot Utica 34-20, and really spent the whole game hurling chances against the wall that was Joacim Eriksson. Forunately, even despite that frustration, they at least made sure to get the two points in the shootout session.
Side note, wow, Utica. The AHL stuck you with the abbreviation UTI? At best that recalls Universal Technical Institute, which is the guys that break into your Judge Mathis in the afternoons (when you're too ill to go to work) to try to entice you to learn how to fix big rigs (not to be confused with the Cordon Bleu cooking college). At worst, that gets medical, as in Urinary Tract Infection. Now, I'm not one to tell you what to do as a franchise, but I might request the AHL to switch your abbreviation to UTC instead (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga having a less negative connotation). Annnnnd a rivalry is born. You're welcome.
Syracuse draws Bridgeport tomorrow night.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Much like the big club, the Crunch have a Third Period collapse against the Pens.
Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 26 shots for the loss.
WBS Kostopoulos, (1) (Drazenovic, Harrington), 17:28 (PP)
SYR Namestnikov, (1) (Taormina, Nesterov), 10:49 (PP)
SYR Paquette, (1) (Rankin), 14:39 (SH)
WBS Kostopoulos, (2) (Mikkelson, Drazenovic), 0:55 (PP)
WBS Drazenovic, (1) (Conner, Mikkelson), 4:04 (PP)
WBS Megna, (1) (Ebbett), 8:48 (SH)
SYR Taormina, (1) (Walker, Richard), 10:26
WBS Zolnierczyk, (3) (Sill, Despres), 14:20
WBS Uher, (1) (Deslauriers), 18:34 (EN)
Eric Neilson and Mike Angelidis were the game's first and second stars. Things got out of hand in the Third Period (obviously) after Cedric Paquette (who also got his first professional goal in the game) took a Game Misconduct for boarding that led to a pair of Penguins goals that helped flip the outcome.
Syracuse is off until Friday when they'll face Binghamton.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Syracuse finishes the preseason up.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for the loss, but was also named the game's third star in defeat.
Syracuse will get an influx of 8 players from Tampa Bay, including veteran Dana Tyrell and ex-first rounder Brett Connolly. They'll have a week of practice before opening their season Saturday in Binghamton against the Senators.
Game recap from Stjohnsicecaps.com.
The teams will square off again Saturday night.
Game recap from Syracusecrunch.com.
Syracuse's 4th liners help put up a touchdown on the Penguins.
Syracuse Wins the Series 4-1
Syracuse Win the Eastern Conference Championship
Cedrick Desjardins stopped all 22 shots he faced for the shutout victory. He was the player of the series, in my opinion. By stealing Game Three, a game where the Crunch played their worst hockey, he really put the Pens behind the eight ball and tonight was the finishing touch.
SYR Namestnikov, (2) (Sustr, Johnson), 16:04
SYR Gudas, (2) (Brown, Wyman), 16:56
SYR Paradis, (1) (Barberio, Sustr), 13:37
SYR Sexton, (4) (Devos), 15:31
SYR Palat, (5) (Sexton, Barberio), 17:58 (PP)
SYR Paradis, (2) (Sustr), 1:02
SYR Paradis, (3) (Sexton, Barberio), 5:43
Phillipe Paradis, Desjardins, and Dan Sexton were the game's three stars. Best line of the night? It was Syracuse's extra forwards Paradis and Cedric Paquette (whom I have dubbed "Dump Truck" for his fleet skating ability and work rate). With the Crunch up 2-0 at the end of the First Period, they seemed to take their foot off the gas the first 5 minutes of the Second Period. It looked like the Pens would make a game of it until the 4th liners came in and started to get zone time and turn the momentum back to Syracuse. They never looked back, and Paradis eventually ran up a hat trick for the ages. None of the goals were cheapies, either. Paradis has a surprisingly good shot and absolutely took Zatkoff to school on each one.
Another highlight? Dmitry Korobov beating the tar out of Paul Thompson. You know Thompson thought he was picking a winnable opponent going up against a Belarussian. Wrong. Korobov beat him like he stole a mortgage payment worth of money from him. Remind me never to get Dmitry Korobov mad at me. He rained fists down on the top of Thompson's head with tropical storm force. Wow.
Radko Gudas sat out the Third Period with what appeared to be a lower body bruise. Richard Panik again sat out of the lineup (making room for Dump Truck), but he was in the morning skate and one would assume he will be available in the next series. Grand Rapids looks to be on the way to winning tonight's game against Oklahoma City, which would knot that series up at 2-2. That means it could be half a week before the Crunch know who their Calder Cup Finals opponent is, and you hope it's a week where Grand Rapids and Oklahoma City beat the daylights out of each other while Syracuse heals. Whichever opponent makes it out of the West, Syracuse will have home ice to begin the series, so they've done just about everything they need to strategically to set themselves up to try to collect another title.
Box score from TheAHL.com.