After being down two goals and staring elimination right in the eyes, the Syracuse Crunch shocked the Toronto Marlies and scored five straight goals to earn a trip to Providence, R.I. and the AHL’s Final Four for only the third time in franchise history.
The Crunch beat the Marlies 6-3 in Game 7 of the North Division finals last night at the War Memorial.
The Crunch will open the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals series Friday in Providence. The Bruins will have home ice in the 2-3-2 format series.
Goalie Mike McKenna faced only 17 shots and stopped 14. At one point, the stingy Syracuse defense held Toronto without a shot for 20 minutes.
After Syracuse went down two goals on consecutive shots late in the opening stanza, coach Benoit Groulx sent the message, “Keep playing. The game lasts 60 minutes.”
“I think you’ve got to be calm, you’ve got to believe in what you’re doing. And, this is what we did,” said Groulx.
“When we scored the tying goal, we thought the roof would explode. It was amazing,” Groulx said.
“I don’t think we ever counted ourselves out,” Adam Erne said. “We flipped it around quick on them, but they could have easily flipped it around quick on us. I think we stuck to our system, and showed a lot of character.”
“You can’t go on a roller-coaster of emotions,” Cory Conacher said of the rally. “You’ve got to have an even keel. Actually, I had a pretty good feeling throughout the whole game. Obviously, maybe a couple bounces here and there didn’t go our way, and that’s why they got up there 3-1. But all the guys, especially the leadership group, brought these guys together and made sure we were on our game for the full 60 minutes. And that’s what it took tonight.”
Syracuse played Providence twice during the regular season with the home team winning a game apiece.
San Jose and Grand Rapids meet in the Western Conference finals with the winners playing for the coveted Calder Cup.
North Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
N1-Syracuse Crunch vs. N2-Toronto Marlies
Game 1 – Fri., May 5 – SYRACUSE 3, Toronto 1
Game 2 – Sat., May 6 – SYRACUSE 8, Toronto 5
Game 3 – Tue., May 9 – TORONTO 5, Syracuse 3
Game 4 – Wed., May 10 – TORONTO 3, Syracuse 2
Game 5 – Sat., May 13 – SYRACUSE 5, Toronto 1
Game 6 – Mon., May 15 – TORONTO 2, Syracuse 1
Game 7 – Wed., May 17 – SYRACUSE 6, Toronto 3
Syracuse 6 – Toronto 3
|Head Coach: Sheldon Keefe|
|Assistant Coach: A.J. MacLean|
|Head Coach: Benoit Groulx|
|Assistant Coach: Jeff Halpern|
|Assistant Coach: Trent Cull|
|6:26||SYR||Gabriel Dumont (3) ASST: Ben Thomas (3), Mathieu Brodeur(1)|
|17:37||TOR||Seth Griffith (2) ASST: Trevor Moore (2), Cal O’Reilly (6)|
|18:57||TOR||Brendan Leipsic (4) ASST: Steve Oleksy (2)|
|11:03||TOR||Andreas Johnsson (6) ASST: Kasperi Kapanen (6)|
|13:30||SYR||Matt Taormina (2) ASST: Matthew Peca (6), Tye McGinn (5)|
|15:14||SYR||Adam Erne (3) ASST: Cory Conacher (5), Matt Taormina (8)(PP)|
|0:08||SYR||Matthew Peca (4) ASST: Jake Dotchin (1), Slater Koekkoek (4)|
|18:19||SYR||Cory Conacher (4) ASST: Yanni Gourde (6), Erik Condra (7)|
|19:29||SYR||Yanni Gourde (2) ASST: None (EN)|
|01:00||TOR||Kasperi Kapanen, Hooking, 2 min PP|
|10:34||SYR||Cory Conacher, Goaltender interference, 2 min PP|
|09:01||TOR||Andrew Nielsen, High-sticking, 2 min PP|
|15:03||TOR||Steve Oleksy, Interference, 2 min PP|
|17:18||SYR||Yanni Gourde, Hooking, 2 min PP|
|02:53||TOR||Seth Griffith, Tripping, 2 min PP|
|03:48||TOR||Richard Clune, Cross-checking, 2 min|
|03:48||SYR||Adam Erne, Cross-checking, 2 min|
|07:02||SYR||Jake Dotchin, Hooking, 2 min PP|
Onondaga County War Memorial Arena
Start: 7:04 pm
End: 9:41 pm
Referee: Terry Koharski (10)
Referee: Chris Schlenker (48)
Linesman: Ryan Daisy (81)
Linesman: Kory Nagy (97)