Although some teams are getting started tonight, tomorrow night will mark the official start of the Syracuse Crunch’s playoff run.
In case you need a refresher, here it is: the Crunch comes into the playoffs in third place in the Eastern Conference after capturing the East Division Title this past Saturday with a shootout win over the Sharks. This gives them home ice advantage for their first round tilt against the Portland Pirates, a team the Crunch hasn’t played all year.
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With a strong showing from newly returned Brett Connolly and Tyler Johnson, and another goal from JT Wyman, the Crunch beat the Amerks last night by a final score of 5-1. The Crunch clearly benefited from having some finishers back in the line up, and performed strong in front of a sold out crowd of Crunch faithful.
Wyman’s performance earned him a call up today, as Tampa needed a player to temporarily replace forward Nate Thompson. Thompson is out for Sunday’s game after a scary situation Saturday night, but it’s been said that it’s only a precaution, so Wyman should be back in Syracuse for the final weekend of the season. In the “good news” column, defenseman Mark Barberio has been returned to the Crunch today after his first NHL call up. It’s hoped that Radko Gudas and forward Richard Panik won’t be far behind.
Brett Connolly and Tyler Johnson have been returned to the Syracuse Crunch! Neither will play tonight, which is too bad, but they’ll be available for tomorrow’s game vs. Rochester. It’s expected that Richard Panik, Radko Gudas and Mark Barberio will also eventually be finding their ways back to Syracuse in the next two weeks as the team and its fanbase gears up for playoffs.
It’s been reported that the Crunch will face former NHL netminder Rick DiPetro tonight, which is pretty damn cool, seeing as he’s Cheetah’s favorite NHL player. The Sound Tigers are 12th in the Eastern Conference with a 30-30-6-5 record. They’ve won four of their last ten games, which is, coincidentally, what we’ve also won.
It’s been reported that Pat Nagle will be backing up Hufflepuff tonight, as Riku Helenius has had to return home again for family matters. Our thoughts are with Riku and his family, and we very much hope things are okay. Hang in there, Riku!
After a pretty crazy week or so, things have gone quiet here. A few highlights from the last few days:
- Crunch d-man Matt Taormina was sent back down
- Crunch d-man Mark Barberio was called up and played in his first NHL game last night
- Former Crunchie PC Labrie scored his first NHL goal last night
- Crunch d-man and Lightning prospect Andrej Sustr scored his first professional goal last night in an OT-losing effort against the Monsters
- The Crunch ended a power play goal drought that had lasted 8 games with two goals against Lake Erie last night
- Former Crunchie Troy Bodie has been loaded to Portland
- Former Crunchie John Kurtz netted an NHL deal with Anaheim
- My sangria slushy is stuck in its glass
The last Fan Advisory Board of the season is coming up soon. Let me know if there’s anything you want me to bring to the table.