Penguins Ousted from Playoffs by Crunch
Syracuse wins series to claim Eastern Conference Championship
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Crunch punched their ticket to their first-ever Calder Cup Final with a 7-0 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final at the Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter.
Looking to close out the series on home ice, the Crunch scored in quick succession at the end of the end of the first period to take a 2-0 lead into the intermission. After intercepting a reverse pass behind the Penguins net, Tyler Johnson fed Andrej Sustr on the far circle for a quick snap shot. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalie Jeff Zatkoff made the initial save, but the rebound was batted in by Vlad Namestnikov at 16:04.
Fifty-two seconds later, a clean faceoff win by Syracuse came to the point for Radko Gudas, who had his wrist shot bank off a body in front of the crease and float inside the near post.
Syracuse completely broke open the contest in the second frame, scoring three times to stretch its lead to 5-0. At 13:37 of the period, Philippe Paradis gathered a loose puck on the near side of Zatkoff and quickly cut behind the net for a wraparound shot that squeezed inside the far iron.
Less than two minutes later, it was Philip-Michael Devos holding in a puck on the far side boards of the Penguins zone and centering a pass toward the crease that was knocked in by Dan Sexton to make the score, 4-0.
The Crunch added to their lead with 2:02 remaining until the second intermission during on a 5-on-4 advantage. Sexton dished out the primary assist for this goal, throwing a backdoor pass from the right circle that Ondrej Palat tipped to the back of the twine.
After picking up his first pro playoff goal earlier in the game, Paradis capped off Syracuse’s Eastern Conference Championship by netting goals with goals at 1:02 of 5:43 of the third period to complete the hat trick.
Cedrick Desjardins turned aside all 23 shots he faced to record his third shutout of the postseason and raise his record to 11-1. Zatkoff stopped 22 saves for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as he suffered the loss. Brad Thiessen made one save in 14:17 of relief.
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