Crunch Blow Past Comets, 6-2, Clinch Playoff Berth
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Syracuse Crunch blew past the Utica Comets, 6-2, tonight at the War Memorial Arena to clinch a berth in the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Alex Barre-Boulet potted his 31st goal of the season to set a new franchise record for goals by a Crunch rookie as the team moved to 42-18-4-2 on the season and built a 6-4-0-0 lead in the 12-game season series with the Comets.
Goaltender Eddie Pasquale earned the win turning aside 32-of-34 shots. Michael Leighton allowed four goals on 12 shots before being relieved by Marek Mazanec. Mazanec went on to stop 9-of-11 between the pipes for the Comets. Syracuse converted on 2-of-3 power play opportunities and went a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
The Crunch opened scoring with a power-play goal right off the draw 6:19 into the game. Andy Andreoff won it back for Cory Conacher to rip home from the top of the left circle. Just 25 seconds later, Conacher came in on an odd-man rush with Gabriel Dumont and chipped in his second of the game. Alex Volkov earned the secondary helper.
The Comets finally responded at the 15:10 mark of the first period. Tanner Kero dug the puck out from the end boards for Stefan LeBlanc in the right circle. He quickly passed over for Reid Boucher to redirect in from down low.
Syracuse went back up by two with 31 seconds remaining in the opening frame. Conacher carried the puck across the blue line and centered it for Volkov to send home from the slot. Hubert Labrie earned a point on the play.
The Crunch added two more goals in the middle stanza to build a 5-2 lead. At the 6:27 mark, Dumont got the puck from Boris Katchouk, sped down the left wing and fed Ben Thomas for a shorthanded marker from the right circle that chased Leighton from the game.
At 11:05, Barre-Boulet jammed the puck across the goal line during a scramble in front of the cage while on the man-advantage. Assists went to Taylor Raddysh and Cal Foote. Utica immediately stole it back 37 seconds later when Kero poked in a waffling puck with the help of Jesse Graham and Boucher.
The Crunch potted their second shorthanded goal of the game late in the third when Volkov stole the puck off Mazanec's stick as he left his crease to play it and threw it into an open net.
The Crunch travel to face the Bridgeport Sound Tigers tomorrow at 5 p.m.
Single game tickets and packages for the 2018-19 season are on sale now and can be purchased in person at the Crunch office located inside the War Memorial Arena at 800 S. State St. in Syracuse, by calling the office at 315-473-4444 or online through Ticketmaster. For the latest Crunch news, visit www.syracusecrunch.com or follow the club on Facebook (www.facebook.com/syracusecrunch), Twitter (@SyracuseCrunch) and Instagram (@syracusecrunch) using #SyrCrunch.
Crunchables: Alex Barré-Boulet now holds the franchise record for most goals by a rookie with 31...The Crunch are tied for the league lead with 16 shorthanded goals this season. Eight have come against the Comets...The Crunch are the only team in the Eastern Conference with four 20-plus goal scorers - Cory Conacher, Alex Barre-Boulet, Carter Verhaeghe and Andy Andreoff.
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