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Crunch Swept By Penguins in First Round


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Down to the final buzzer, the Syracuse Crunch couldn't find a way out of their slump.

The Crunch tied the score late in the first period but the Penguins finished with three power play goals and goalie Matt Murray shut the door with 33 saves, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton beat Syracuse, 5-2, in Game 3 the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.

The Crunch lost 12 of their final 13 games and was swept 3-0 in the series.

"I thought we had a great run up until the last three weeks of the season," said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. "I didn't see a lot of ups and downs. I saw a pretty consistent hockey team that won a lot of games and worked extremely hard and played really well."

NHL Playoff Game Night: 4-29-15 Red Wings at Lightning

Bishop rises up.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Game Seven

DET-0
TB-2

Tampa Bay Wins the Series 4-3

Ben Bishop stopped all 31 shots he faced for the shutout win in the clutchest of clutch moments. He was not on his game to start, fighting the puck hard for the first 25 minutes or so of the game. But, the longer it went on, the stronger Bishop got. By the end, Bishop looked sharp as a razor and ready to hand out his brand of U of Maine Justice in the postseason for the very first time. It's appropriate that on the night of Bobby Taylor's last broadcast at color of Sun Sports that his fellow Goalies Union, Local 813 member stole the show.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
3:58 TB Coburn (1), (Callahan, Killorn)
18:42 TB Stralman (1), (Bishop)(EN)

The Lightning pilfered this one. They were incredibly nervous and played about 45 minutes of scared, hot potato hockey. That said, they hustled, they worked hard, and they capitalized on the break when it came to them on Coburn's goal. It wasn't pretty. Cripes, even the anthem singer was playing hurt. But, in the end, figuring out how to pull out a series like this is so critically important for an extremely young team trying to make a transition to becoming an elite franchise. Now that they have that experience, it's going to get easier from here on out because they've lived through a tight series against a difficult, veteran opponent where they had to overcome a lot of adversity. It bodes well for the Montreal series and on into the future.

It also bodes well, in a weird way, that Stamkos and Kucherov still couldn't get a goal. For those two guys to go 7 games without a goal has to be the very definition of, "due." If I were the Canadiens, I'd be pretty terrified because if either of those guys get 1, especially Stamkos, the floodgates are liable to open. Both players had ten bell opportunities they just missed in Game Seven.

Going against hometown Montreal, might we also see Jonathan Drouin again starting Friday? It still seems that Stamkos needs a little more speed/skill on his wing, and Drouin has it. Just sayin'.

Nikita Nesterov had 1 shot in 10:02. For the little he played, he was very assertive and nearly won the game himself with a near end to end rush on one power play. He's forced his way into the lineup and forced Cooper and the staff to play 7 defensemen.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4-29-15 Penguins at Crunch

Too little, too late.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Game Three

WBS-5
SYR-2

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Wins the Series 3-0

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 23 shots for the loss. He finishes the playoffs with the ugly 0-3 mark and an .833 save percentage after seeing his regular season save percentage slip to .900 at the finish line. He's a prospect at a crossroads.

First Period
WBS Wilson, (1) (Sheary, Ebbett), 7:53 (PP)
SYR Gourde, (1) (Witkowski, Peca), 16:53

Second Period
WBS Sheary, (1) (Kostopoulos, Pouliot), 2:39

Third Period
WBS Sheary, (2) (Wilson, Dumoulin), 1:59 (PP)
WBS Pouliot, (1) (Kapanen, Chorney), 4:30 (PP)
SYR Richard, (1) (Koekkoek, Gourde), 5:36
WBS Ebbett, (1) (Uher), 18:42 (EN)

Yanni Gourde was the game's second star.

This team accomplished a lot of good things this season, particularly when you look at the development of their young defensemen. It's a shame they just ran out of gas at the end of the season, because they showed amazing resiliency and the ability to really fight above their weight class all season long. There are some reinforcements coming in the way of some top Lightning prospects like Erne and DeAngelo next season, but it'll be critical for the team to find the right mix of veterans and semi-veterans to form the heart of the team next year.

We'll see which prospects go up top to join Tampa Bay as Black Aces. For the ones that do, it'll be a great opportunity to see what the big time is like up close.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-28-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Semifinals

QMJHL-2 Moncton Wildcats 0 @ QMJHL-4 Quebec Remparts 7
Quebec wins best-of-7 series, 4-0

W Adam Erne, QUE: 2-2-4, +5, 0 PIM, 6 SOG, 3 Hits, *Second Star*
Playoff totals: 15 GP, 15-5-20, +11, 6 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 41-45-86, +21, 102 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 48 GP, 21-41-62, -3, 65 PIM

Adam Erne scored 1:13 into Game 4, and five minutes later had an assist and another goal to give Quebec an early 3-0 lead. Kurt Etchegary (undrafted) added on a natural hat trick and Quebec coasted to a 7-0 elimination-game win over the higher-ranked Moncton Wildcats. Erne is now averaging a goal a game in the playoffs. The Remparts await the winner of Rimouski-Val-d’Or, which is currently 3-0 Rimouski, in the QMJHL Finals.

Ontario Hockey League
Western Conference Finals

West-1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 5 @ West-2 Erie Otters 7
Erie leads best-of-7 series, 3-1

D Anthony DeAngelo, SOO: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM
Playoff Totals: 11 GP, 0-14-14, +14, 12 PIM
With SSM: 26 GP, 15-36-51, +33, 51 PIM
With Sarnia: 29 GP, 10-28-38, +1, 64 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 25-64-89, +34, 115 PIM
2013-14 totals: 51 GP, 15-56-71, -34, 90 PIM

Anthony DeAngelo was back in the Soo lineup after missing Game 3 due to an injury. DeAngelo continued to quarterback the Greyhounds’ power play, but was unable to shoot with any force due to the injury. The Otters tried to shut off passing lanes as DeAngelo became predictable before managing to get at least one wrist shot on net. The game was tied 4-4 late before Erie exploded for two goals. SSM got it back within one before an empty net goal. DeAngelo took a late penalty with the frustrated Greyhounds down 6-4 and Connor McDavid on a breakaway looking to put the game away. McDavid was stopped, but at the other end DeAngelo got into a shoving match with an Erie defenseman. The ref watched closely as DeAngelo gave the defenseman a closed-hand glove to the jaw and called the penalty. DeAngelo was back on the ice with the goalie pulled down one, but the Nicholas Baptiste (Sabres) scored his fourth goal of the game. McDavid (future Oiler) had four assists. Game 5 is back in the Soo on Thursday.

Western Hockey League
Eastern Conference Finals

East-1 Brandon Wheat Kings 1 @ East-2 Calgary Hitmen 2 (OT)
Brandon leads best-of-7 series, 2-1

D Ben Thomas, CAL: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 14 GP, 0-4-4, -2, 2 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 7-24-31, +11, 39 PIM

Calgary scored on their second shot of overtime to beat the visiting Wheat Kings and get back in the series. Ben Thomas was on the ice for the OT winner. Game 4 is Wednesday in Calgary.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-27-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Semifinals

QMJHL-2 Moncton Wildcats 1 @ QMJHL-4 Quebec Remparts 5
Quebec leads best-of-7 series, 3-0

W Adam Erne, QUE: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 4 Hits, *Third Star*
Playoff totals: 14 GP, 13-3-16, +6, 6 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 41-45-86, +21, 102 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 48 GP, 21-41-62, -3, 65 PIM

Quebec returned home but kept the momentum in the series, winning 5-1 and taking a commanding 3-0 series lead. Adam Erne scored for the second straight game. The Remparts can break out the brooms on Friday.

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