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Crunch Score Five Unanswered Goals, Push Marlies to Brink


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch held serve on home ice and pushed the Toronto Marlies to the brink of elimination.

The Crunch quickly answered after the Marlies opened the scoring in the first period and rattled off five unanswered goals, as Syracuse beat Toronto, 5-1, in Game 5 of the North Division Finals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

Syracuse leads the series 3-2, as the series shifts back to Toronto for Game 6 Monday.

“I don’t think we have any changes to make,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said heading into Monday. “We played our game, and our challenge is to play our game Monday in Toronto.”

AHL Playoff Game Night: 5-13-17 Marlies at Crunch

Crunchning Death Star thrives on imperial home ice.

TOR-1
SYR-5

Syracuse Leads the Series 3-2

Mike McKenna allowed 1 goal on 27 shots for the victory in the kind of bounceback game you need from your goaltender in playoff time after the odd rough outing (which happens in a long playoff run).

First Period
8:26 TOR Oleksy (1), (Findlay, Clune)
11:24 SYR Peca (3), (Condra, Racine)

Second Period
3:18 SYR Vermin (4), (Conacher, Gourde)
9:25 SYR Lynch (1), (Walcott)

Third Period
1:35 SYR Racine (1), (Gourde)(SH)
16:22 SYR Dumont (2), (Condra, Bournival)(EN)

McKenna, Slater Koekkoek, and Gabriel Dumont were the game's three stars.

With the chips down the Syracuse Crunch brought their best effort to the rink tonight in an absolutely critical Game Five tilt in a tied up series. Mind you, this series should be over right now were it not for the Crunch's late game collapse in Game Three, but that contest is water under the bridge at this point. Now Syracuse gets Jake Dotchin back from suspension heading into a potential closeout game. It's never easy to finish off a good opponent on the road at playoff time, but champions typically find a way.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 5-12-17

Ontario Hockey League

Mississauga Steelheads 3 @ Erie Otters 4 (OT)
OHL Finals
Erie wins best-of-7 series, 4-1

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 3 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: 1-2-3, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 14/22 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: 3-0-3, +2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 22 GP, 12-19-31, +16, 18 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

All Anthony Cirelli does is score championship-winners. Cirelli scored in overtime to give the Otters the 2017 OHL championship, similar to his Memorial Cup overtime winning heroics in 2015. Cirelli’s overtime winner was made possible by Taylor Raddysh’s hat trick in regulation. Both Lightning prospects finished the playoffs with 31 points in 22 games – third best in the league behind Erie’s Alex DeBrincat (Blackhawks) and Dylan Strome (Coyotes). Cirelli led the league in goals, power play goals, and plus-minus for the playoffs. He was not named playoff MVP, however, as that went to ‘Canes prospect Warren Foegele.

Erie moves on to the Memorial Cup where they will join Lightning prospects Mathieu Joseph and Boko Imama with Saint John (QJMHL). Windsor is already in as the host team. The WHL is still going between Seattle and Regina.

The Lightning will have five prospects in this year’s Memorial Cup. Quite impressive.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-10-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Saint John Sea Dogs 5 @ Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 1
QMJHL Finals
Saint John wins best-of-7 series, 4-0

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM, 4 SOG, 0 Hits
Playoff Totals: 18 GP, 8-7-15, +17, 22 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 40-14-54, +10, 103 PIM

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

Saint John won the 2016-2017 President’s Cup as QMJHL champion Wednesday night with a 5-1 win over the Armada. Mathieu Joseph, who finished as playoff scoring champ, had four assists in the sweep-clinching win. The Sea Dogs, who went 16-2 in the playoffs, move on to the Memorial Cup in Windsor. Sens pick Thomas Chabot was named playoff MVP. This was the third league championship for Saint John, who also won in 2011 and 2012. The Sea Dogs won the Memorial Cup in 2011. (QMJHL photo)

Erie Otters 5 @ Mississauga Steelheads 2
OHL Finals
Erie leads best-of-7 series, 3-1

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-0-0, +2, 4 PIM, 4 SOG
Playoff Totals: 21 GP, 1-8-9, +16, 10 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 41 GP, 4-11-15, +7, 35 PIM

C Anthony Cirelli, Erie: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 6/11 FO
Playoff Totals: 21 GP, 14-14-28, +17, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 25-39-64, +36, 12 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 21 GP, 9-19-28, +14, 14 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

Erie bounced back from a Game 3 loss with a 5-2 road win in Game 4, setting themselves up to clinch the OHL championship on home ice Friday. Anthony Cirelli continues to step up in the playoffs, registering an assist on Wednesday. Warren Foegele (Hurricanes) had three goals and five points in Game 4.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 5-10-17 Crunch at Marlies

All square in the battle for the North Division.

SYR-2
TOR-3

Series Tied 2-2

Mike McKenna allowed 3 goals on 15 shots for the loss before being pulled at the First Intermission. Kristers Gudlevskis stopped all 14 shots he faced the rest of the way to give his team a chance.

First Period
4:45 SYR Erne (2), (unassisted)
5:51 TOR Clune (1), (Rychel)
8:05 TOR Rychel (2), (Kapanen)(PP)
16:24 TOR Moore (2), (O'Reilly, Griffith)(PP)

Second Period
2:23 SYR Thomas (1), (Koekkoek, Dumont)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Syracuse got outshot 29-19 in the contest and momentum is now firmly in the camp of the Marlies with the Dotchin suspension still with 1 game left to burn.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 5-9-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Saint John Sea Dogs 2 @ Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 0
QMJHL Finals
Saint John leads best-of-7 series, 3-0

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 0 Hits
Playoff Totals: 17 GP, 7-7-14, +16, 20 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 40-14-54, +10, 103 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 0 Hits
Playoff Totals: 17 GP, 13-15-28, +18, 14 PIM
Season Totals: 54 GP, 36-44-80, +37, 57 PIM

Hurricanes prospect Callum Booth stopped 22 more for his second straight shutout as the Sea Dogs went up 3-0 in the Finals on the Armada, winning Game 3, 2-0. Samuel Dove-McFalls (Flyers) had both goals for Saint John, who can close out the series Thursday.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 5-9-17 Crunch at Marlies

Late game collapse points to trouble for Crunch.

SYR-3
TOR-5

Syracuse Leads the Series 2-1

Mike McKenna allowed 5 goals on 34 shots for the loss. Man, Syracuse could've really used a couple of more timely saves in this one.

First Period
11:44 SYR Erne (1), (Froese, Taormina)

Second Period
1:54 SYR Froese (3), (Taormina, Peca)(PP)
10:07 TOR Johnsson (4), (Kapanen, O'Reilly)(PP)
13:52 TOR Johnsson (5), (Greening)

Third Period
9:05 SYR Condra (4), (Koekkoek, McGinn)
18:04 TOR Leipsic (3), (Nielsen, Kapanen)
18:22 TOR Grundstrom (2), (Griffith, Oleksy)
18:37 TOR Kapanen (2), (unassisted)

The Crunchning Death Star ran into their first serious technical problem before Game Three learning of a 3 game suspension to Jake Dotchin for a late hit thrown in Game Two. Dotchin ended Tampa Bay's regular season playing like a NHL top-four defenseman, and losing Dotchin for the lineup for a key stretch of this series is a troubling problem for the Crunch defensive corps. They really need to get one of these games in Toronto and tonight they came within two minutes of pulling off the task before the bottom fell out. Now Toronto has momentum and an opportunity to knot the series up, putting some serious pressure back on Syracuse's shoulders while they're still without Dotchin's services for two more games. Game Four looms large.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 5-8-17

Ontario Hockey League

Erie Otters 3 @ Mississauga Steelheads 4
OHL Finals
Erie leads best-of-7 series, 2-1

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Playoff Totals: 20 GP, 1-8-9, +14, 6 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 41 GP, 4-11-15, +7, 35 PIM

C Anthony Cirelli, Erie: 1-0-1, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 9/14 FO
Playoff Totals: 20 GP, 14-13-27, +17, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 25-39-64, +36, 12 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 0-2-2, +1, 4 PIM, 1 SOG
Playoff Totals: 20 GP, 9-19-28, +15, 14 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

Erie responded to a 2-0 Mississauga lead with three goals of their own, including Anthony Cirelli’s 14th of the playoffs scored in the final minute of the second period to put the Otters up, 3-2. The Steelheads scored twice in the final period, with the winner coming at 14:52 from Michael McLeod (Devils). Game 4 is Wednesday in Mississauga.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 5-7-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 0 @ Saint John Sea Dogs 4 (Saturday)
QMJHL Finals
Saint John leads best-of-7 series, 2-0

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 5 Hits
Playoff Totals: 16 GP, 7-7-14, +16, 20 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 40-14-54, +10, 103 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM, 6 SOG, 2 Hits, *Third Star*
Playoff Totals: 16 GP, 13-14-27, +17, 14 PIM
Season Totals: 54 GP, 36-44-80, +37, 57 PIM

Hurricanes prospect Callum Booth stopped 27 shots and fellow Carolina pick Julien Gauthier had two goals to lead the Sea Dogs to a 4-0 shutout win over the Armada in Game 2 of the QMJHL Finals Saturday. Mathieu Joseph had a goal and a helper for Saint John. Game 3 is Tuesday.

Ontario Hockey League

Mississauga Steelheads 2 @ Erie Otters 3
OHL Finals
Erie leads best-of-7 series, 2-0

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 19 GP, 1-7-8, +15, 6 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 41 GP, 4-11-15, +7, 35 PIM

C Anthony Cirelli, Erie: 0-2-2, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 8/18 FO, *Third Star*
Playoff Totals: 19 GP, 13-13-26, +18, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 25-39-64, +36, 12 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Playoff Totals: 19 GP, 9-17-26, +14, 14 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

Erie’s Warren Foegele scored with just under two minutes left in regulation to break a 1-1 tie and send the Otters to a Game 2 win Sunday. ‘Hawks pick Alex DeBrincat added an empty-netter with just over a minute left before Mississauga cut the lead to 3-2 with 29 seconds remaining. They couldn’t find an equalizer and now the Otters go to Mississauga up 2-0 in the Finals. Anthony Cirelli was third star Sunday with two apples.

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.”

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