SYRACUSE, NY- Matthew Peca’s game-winning goal was one of the three unanswered goals in the third period for Syracuse, as the Crunch defeated the Toronto Marlies 6-3 in a decisive game seven of the Calder Cup North Division Finals. Crunch goaltender Mike McKenna made 14 saves in the win to improve his home playoff record to 6-0.
The Crunch got on the board 6:26 into the opening period. Mathieu Brodeur made the cross-zone pass to Ben Thomas, who ripped a one-timer that Gabriel Dumont was able to tip past Marlies goaltender Kasmir Kaskisuo to make it 1-0.
The Marlies answered late in the first period with two goals. Trevor Moore tied the game with 2:23 remaining with a feed from Seth Griffith to make it 1-1. Cal O’Reilly added the second assistant to Moore’s goal. Brendan Leipsic gave the Marlies the lead late in the first period with a wrist shot past McKenna to go up 2-1.
The Marlies extended their lead to two halfway in the second period. Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson went on an odd man rush. Kapanen made the pass from the slot and Johnsson redirected past McKenna to go up 3-1.
The Crunch responded with two goals to tie the game in the second period. They cut the deficit to one when Matthew Peca setup Matt Taormina to put it past Kaskisuo to make it 3-2. The Crunch tied the game with 4:46 left in the second period as Taormina fed Cory Conacher. His shot was deflected by Adam Erne into the twine to tie it at 3-3.
Matthew Peca scored the game-winning goal for the Crunch eight seconds into the third period. Jake Dotchin and Slater Koekkoek setup Peca as he went on the breakaway and put it past Kaskisuo to make it 4-3.
The Crunch would add two more goals for insurance late in the third period. Yanni Gourde setup Cory Conacher from the goal line and Conacher was to able to put it in while crashing the net to make it 5-3. Erik Condra also received an assist on the goal.
Yanni Gourde added an empty-net goal with 31 seconds remaining in regulation to seal the deal for the Crunch and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals to make it 6-3.
The Crunch will take on the Providence Bruins in the Calder Cup Eastern Conference Finals with game one on Friday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence at 7 P.M.
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