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AHL Playoff Game Night: 5-24-17 Bruins at Crunch

Wild finish to otherwise dominant performance by the Crunchning Death Star.

PRO-4
SYR-5

Syracuse Leads the Series 2-1

Mike McKenna allowed 4 goals on 39 shots for the victory. Goal support: McKenna has it.

First Period
8:19 SYR Conacher (5), (Taormina, Gourde)(PP)
14:18 SYR Bournival (4), (Brodeur, Thomas)

Second Period
4:48 SYR Taormina (3), (Conacher)
17:35 PRO Heinen (7), (Simpson, Szwarz)

Third Period
3:59 SYR Gourde (4), (Dotchin, Conacher)
16:49 PRO Blidh (1), (Grant, Fitzgerald)
17:11 PRO Heinen (8), (Szwarz, Simpson)
17:52 SYR Conacher (6), (Dumont, Dotchin)(EN)
19:09 PRO Fitzgerald (1), (Porter)(SH)

McKenna, Cory Conacher, and Yanni Gourde were the game's three stars.

Syracuse's dominance on home ice in these playoffs remains in tact. 6-0 thus far on home ice is a serious edge with the next two games in Syracuse. Am I in love with the fact the Crunch allowed Providence to get the false hope goal in the Third Period twice? No, but it's called the false hope goal for a reason. When you stake yourself to a three goal lead in the final frame, it's a death sentence for the opposition seemingly 99.9% of the time, and those odds were reconfirmed again tonight.

At this hour, the directive for Game Four for the Crunch is clear: stomp on the Bruins' playoff throats. A win in Game Four puts them in a 3-1 hole and squarely up against the ropes. The Crunch allowed Toronto to stick around longer than they probably should've in the last round. This round? Finish them.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Memorial Cup Game Night: 5-22-17

Saint John Sea Dogs 7 vs Seattle Thunderbirds 0

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 1-2-3, +3, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, *Third Star*
Memorial Cup: 3 GP, 1-2-3, E, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals: 18 GP, 8-7-15, +17, 22 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 40-14-54, +10, 103 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 1-0-1, +2, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Memorial Cup: 3 GP, 2-2-4, +1, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals: 18 GP, 13-19-32, +20, 14 PIM
Season Totals: 54 GP, 36-44-80, +37, 57 PIM

Boko Imama had a goal and two assists and Callum Booth (Hurricanes) stopped all 31 shots he faced as Saint John stayed alive in the Memorial Cup by eliminating WHL champ Seattle Tuesday night, 7-0. The Sea Dogs exploded for six goals in the second period – five in just over three minutes – to advance to the tournament semifinals. Mathieu Joseph was dangerous all night, drawing penalties and throwing hits. His goal came off the weak side when he snapped a rolling puck into the far top corner of the net. Boko’s goal came off a turnover in the high slot when he knocked the puck carrier off the puck, spun, and snapped his shot by the goalie in one motion. He had an assist on Joseph’s goal by starting the rush through the neutral zone. Saint John will play the loser of Wednesday’s Erie-Windsor match-up. The winner of Wednesday’s game gets a bye to the finals.

Memorial Cup Game Night: 5-22-17

Saint John Sea Dogs 5 @ Erie Otters 12

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Memorial Cup: 2 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals: 18 GP, 8-7-15, +17, 22 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 40-14-54, +10, 103 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 1-1-2, -1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Memorial Cup: 2 GP, 1-2-3, -1, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals: 18 GP, 13-19-32, +20, 14 PIM
Season Totals: 54 GP, 36-44-80, +37, 57 PIM

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Memorial Cup: 2 GP, 0-2-2, +2, 0 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: 1-3-4, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 9/12 FO, *Third Star*
Memorial Cup: 2 GP: 1-4-5, +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: 2-4-6, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, *Second Star*
Memorial Cup: 2 GP, 2-6-8, +2, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals: 22 GP, 12-19-31, +16, 18 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

OHL champ Erie crushed the Sea Dogs Monday night in a game featuring five Lightning prospects. Mathieu Joseph had a strong first shift, hitting the post and knocking an Otter flying with a hard hit, but it was all downhill from there for Saint John. Taylor Raddysh scored his first of the game off a pass from Anthony Cirelli on the game’s second shift and Erie would never look back. Raddysh was temporarily tied for the Memorial Cup record for points in a game with six before his teammate Dylan Strome (Coyotes) scored his fourth goal and seventh point. Cirelli and Raddysh were strong on and off the puck all night and Erie was simply too fast and skilled for Saint John. Joseph showed good jump all night, earning a penalty shot, but he was unable to convert the opportunity. Imama wasn’t overly visible in the game. Stay-at-home defenseman Erik Cernak was solid on defense for Erie and contributed an assist. Erie will play Windsor Tuesday with the winner advancing to the championship game. The loser of that game will play the winner of Seattle-Saint John in the semifinals. Despite the Sea Dogs’ 0-2 start, they can still get to the finals.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 5-21-17 Crunch at Bruins

Crunch lose a Game Two goaltending duel.

SYR-1
PRO-2 (OT)

Series Tied 1-1

Mike McKenna allowed 2 goals on 36 shots for the OT loss. Probably wishes they saved him a couple of goals from the previous two 6 goal outbursts.

First Period
1:26 SYR Thomas (2), (Brodeur, McGinn)

Second Period
16:47 PRO Szwarz (4), (Heinen, Cross)(PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
8:28 PRO Szwarz (5), (Simpson, Heinen)

Ben Thomas was the game's third star.

Mixed emotions from this opening two game set in Providence. The Crunch accomplished what they needed to by wrestling home ice away from the Bruins and they came within an eyelash of grabbing the series by the throat tonight in an airtight Game Two. Rationally, they're in great shape, but momentum may be sitting on Providence's bench heading into an absolutely critical Game Three after an emotional OT victory. Luckily, with such a veteran laden team, I expect Syracuse to have a strong response in Game Three. They need it. That's not a must-win contest, but it's one you desperately want to have.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Memorial Cup Game Night: 5-20-17

Erie Otters 4 vs Seattle Thunderbirds 2

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
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: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 12/20 FO
Playoff Totals: 22 GP, 15-16-31, +18, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 25-39-64, +36, 12 PIM

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

Chicago prospect Alex DeBrincat had a goal and a helper to lead Erie to a 4-2 win over WHL champ Seattle in the Memorial Cup opener for both teams. The three Lightning prospects on the Otters combined for four assists. Erie plays Saint John on Monday in a match-up featuring five Tampa Bay prospects.

Memorial Cup Game Night: 5-19-17

Saint John Sea Dogs 2 @ Windsor Spitfires 3

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Playoff Totals: 18 GP, 8-7-15, +17, 22 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 40-14-54, +10, 103 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Playoff Totals: 18 GP, 13-19-32, +20, 14 PIM
Season Totals: 54 GP, 36-44-80, +37, 57 PIM

After not playing for more than a month, tournament host Windsor held on for a 3-2 win over QMJHL champion Saint John Friday at the 2017 Memorial Cup. Mathieu Joseph had an assist for Saint John, who next play OHL champ Erie on Monday.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 5-19-17 Crunch at Bruins

Crunchning Death Star continues to maraud its way through Calder Cup playoff run.

SYR-6
PRO-3

Syracuse Leads the Series 1-0

Mike McKenna allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the victory. He might want one of the goals back that he allowed to make the game close for a moment in the Third Period, but life remains good when you bathe in sweet, sweet goal support.

First Period
3:57 SYR McGinn (4), (Condra)
12:20 SYR Bournival (3), (Conacher, Gourde)

Second Period
4:37 PRO Grant (2), (unassisted)
6:56 SYR Vermin (5), (Peca, Taormina)(PP)

Third Period
4:13 SYR Dumont (4), (Vermin, Erne)
12:56 PRO DeBrusk (6), (Grzelcyk, Grant)
13:09 PRO Heinen (6), (Simpson, Cross)
18:25 SYR Gourde (3), (Dumont)(EN)
19:38 SYR Froese (4), (unassisted)(EN)

Joel Vermin and Yanni Gourde were the game's first and second stars.

After failing to take a road win in their entire 7 game series against the Marlies, the Crunch got one right off the jump tonight thanks in large part to the play of their veterans. The P-Bruins should be sweating that outcome because the Crunch have to feel very loose right now knowing they've been very good holding serve at home and they've already taken away home ice advantage for the series. Heading into Game Two, the pressure is squarely on Providence's shoulders and the Crunch are playing with a tall stack of the house's chips.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Top Marlies, Advance to Eastern Conference Finals


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Despite trailing 3-1 in the second period, Syracuse Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx liked his team’s composure.

The Crunch evened the score before the second intermission, went ahead eight seconds into the final frame and finished with five unanswered goals to top the Toronto Marlies, 6-3, in Game 7 of the North Division Finals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.

Syracuse advances to play Providence, who also won a Game 7 Wednesday, in the Eastern Conference Finals starting Friday in Providence.

“I like the composure we had on our bench tonight,” Groulx said. “The guys always believed. I’m very happy for them. They did a great job. Credit to our guys.”

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

Five unanswered goals, and the Crunchning Death Star sets course for the Eastern Conference Finals.

TOR-3
SYR-6

Syracuse Wins the Series 4-3

Mike McKenna allowed 3 goals on 17 shots for the victory. Sweet, sweet goal support!

First Period
6:26 SYR Dumont (3), (Thomas, Brodeur)
17:37 TOR Griffith (2), (Moore, O'Reilly)
18:57 TOR Leipsic (4), (Oleksy)

Second Period
11:03 TOR Johnsson (6), (Kapanen)
13:30 SYR Taormina (2), (Peca, McGinn)
15:14 SYR Erne (3), (Conacher, Taormina)(PP)

Third Period
0:08 SYR Peca (4), (Dotchin, Koekkoek)
18:19 SYR Conacher (4), (Gourde, Condra)
19:29 SYR Gourde (2), (unassisted)(EN)

Matthew Peca, Gabriel Dumont, and Jake Dotchin were the game's three stars.

Syracuse's playoff life was in doubt for about a three and a half minute span of the Second Period tonight. Down 3-1, the team looked to be in potentially dire straits. Then the comeback started, and five goals later the Crunch had made their statement. This team may just win it all. How'd they do it? After leaning heavily on their veterans for most of this run, the Crunch youth have started to chip in on the scoresheet, making an unbelievable deep team even more lethal.

Matthew Peca is starting to build a legacy in these playoffs as a big goal, big game player. If you're wondering how we celebrated his game winning goal, assisted by fellow Bolt Prospects Jake Dotchin and Slater Koekkoek: Chad had to go take a cold shower, I smoked a cigarette, and Tim demanded the misses, "Now go fix me a sammich!" We were happy/excited.

Syracuse will play the Providence Bruins for the AHL Eastern Conference crown. Providence was actually the fourth seed in a very deep and very talented Atlantic Division. It'll be a very tough series for the chance to advance to the organization's third Calder Cup Final of the Yzerman/BriseBois regime.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 5-15-17 Crunch at Marlies

Squeaker loss forces series to go the distance.

SYR-1
TOR-2

Series Tied 3-3

Mike McKenna allowed 2 goals on 25 shots for the loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
2:09 SYR Bournival (2), (Froese, Koekkoek)(SH)
7:24 TOR Grundstrom (3), (O'Reilly, Griffith)(PP)

Third Period
11:33 TOR Nielsen (1), (Griffith, O'Reilly)(PP)

It's been a homer series, and if the Crunch are to advance they'll just have to win the decisive Game Seven on home ice. Very simple.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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