SYRACUSE, NY – The Syracuse Crunch have taken a commanding lead in the North Division Finals as they defeated the Toronto Marlies by the final score of 8-5 last night. There were 14 different Crunch players that ended up on the scoring sheet and seven of the players had a multiple point night. The Crunch held the Marlies to only eight shots through two periods including the first period when the Crunch outshot the Marlies 16-2 in the first period.
The Crunch got on the board 2:37 into the opening period. Cory Conacher scored a shorthanded goal. Ben Thomas was credited with an assist on Conacher’s goal. The Crunch scored a minute later. Michael Bournival scored with a one-timer to make it 2-0.
The Crunch extended their lead to three goals at 9:30. Michael Bournival took a shot with the backhander and went off the cross-bar. Matthew Peca was able to put in the rebound to make it 3-0.
The Marlies got on the board when Justin Holt had the puck and entered into the Syracuse zone. Andreas Johnsson was able to score with a slap shot for his second goal of the series to make it 3-1.
The Crunch scored their fourth goal of the period on the power play with 21 seconds left . Byron Froese setup Tye McGinn and McGinn put it past Marlies goaltender Kasmir Kaskisuo to make it 4-1. Matt Taormina was credited with a second assist on the goal for McGinn.
Joel Vermin got past through a Marlies defenseman and took a wrist shot that went off the shoulder of Kaskisuo’s shoulder to make it 5-1. That fifth goal would be the end of Kaskisuo night as he gave up five goals on 18 shots. Antoine Bibeau came into the game but the Crunch was not done with the scoring.
Erik Condra sent Matthew Peca on a breakaway. Peca was able to score five-hole past Bibeau to make it 6-1.
The Marlies answered quickly with two goals on the power play. Carl Grundstrom made a cross crease pass to Cal O’Reilly. O’Reilly was able to put it past Crunch goaltender Mike McKenna to make it 6-2. Seth Griffith also had an assist on the O’Reilly goal.
Kasperi Kapanen added his name to the scoresheet with a power play goal from the right side to make it 6-3. Travis Dermott was credited with an assist on Kapanen’s goal.
Carl Grundstrom added a goal for the Marlies to cut the deficit to two with 9:14 left in regulation to make it 6-4.
Cory Conacher adds his second shorthanded goal of the game for the Crunch with the pass from Yanni Gourde. Conacher shot it from the left side to make it 7-4.
Joel Vermin scored his second goal of the night for the Crunch with an empty-net goal to make it 8-4 with assists from Dominik Masin and Yanni Gourde.
Seth Griffith finished the night of the high scoring game for the Marlies with the backhand with 1:04 left in regulation to make it 8-5.
Crunch goaltender Mike McKenna made 14 saves in the win as the Crunch were able to hold the Marlies to only 19 shots on goal throughout the game. Marlies goaltender Antoine Bibeau made 15 saves on 17 shots after coming in relief for Kasmir Kaskisuo.
The series will now shift to Toronto for games three and four on Tuesday and Wednesday. The puck will drop in both games at 7 P.M.