SYRACUSE, NY – A four-point night from Cory Conacher for the second straight game and Yanni Gourde‘s own four-point performance helped the Syracuse Crunch secure a 7-2 victory over the Providence Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals Friday night. The win gives Syracuse a 3-1 series lead. They can win the Eastern Conference title tonight.
The Crunch got on the board 3:57 into the first period. Yanni Gourde faked a shot and passed it to Ben Thomas, who put it past Bruins goaltender Zane McIntyre to put the Crunch up 1-0. Cory Conacher received the secondary assist on Thomas’ goal.
Jordan Szwarz tied the game for the Bruins at 7:07 for his sixth of the playoffs with assists from Wayne Simpson and Colby Cave to make it 1-1.
The Crunch retook the lead with 11 seconds left in the first period on a two-man advantage. Matt Taormina took a shot from the right circle pass McIntyre to make it 2-1.
Cory Conacher extended the Crunch’s lead just 33 seconds into the middle frame when he fired a shot that deflected over to Michael Bournival, who was able to put in the rebound for his first of two goals of the evening to make it 3-1. Ben Thomas received the second assist on Bournival’s goal.
The Bruins cut to within one on the power play at 1:55 into the second period. Wayne Simpson took a shot from the slot and after a couple cracks at it, Danton Henien was able to put it the rebound by McKenna to make it 3-2.
From there, the Crunch pulled away, scoring the game’s final four goals. Tye McGinn was able to do a wraparound play behind the net and made a centering pass to Gourde and he put past McIntyre to make it 4-2. Conacher received his second assist of the evening on the goal. Bournival scored his second goal of the game with four minutes remaining in the second period with assist from Erik Condra and Jake Dotchin to make it 5-2. The Crunch added one more in the period with 47 seconds remaining as Gabriel Dumont tipped in a shot from Matt Taormina on the right point to make it 6-2. Joel Vermin received the second assist on Dumont’s goal.
It would be the end of the night for McIntyre as he gave up six goals on 30 shots. Malcolm Subban replaced McIntyre to start the third period.
The Crunch added one more goal at 4:31 into the third period. Gourde made a pass to Conacher, who sent a one-timer past Subban to make it 7-2. Byron Froese received the second assist on Conacher’s goal.
Crunch goaltender Mike McKenna made 33 saves in the win. Subban stopped nine shots in relief for McIntyre in the third period in the Bruins loss.
The Crunch could advance to the Calder Cup Finals for the second time in franchise history with a win tonight. Puck drop for game five of the East Finals is at 7 P.M.