SYRACUSE, NY – The Syracuse Crunch lost 4-2 to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to open the Eastern Conference Final tonight at the War Memorial Arena.
The loss was the Crunch’s first of the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs and snapped the franchise’s record of seven consecutive postseason victories.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins opened the scoring 1:55 into the first period. Alex Grant released a one-timer from the glove side circle that beat Cedrick Desjardins. Derek Nesbitt and Trevor Smith assisted on the goal.
Brendan Mikkelson tied the game at the 16:41 mark of the period with a shot from the right point. Matt Taormina and J.T. Brown were credited with the assists on Mikkelson’s first goal of the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs.
The Penguins regained the lead less than a minute later with a power-play goal. Thirteen seconds into a Radko Gudas boarding penalty, Brian Gibbons passed across the crease to Trevor Smith for the goal. Chad Kolarik also assisted on the play.
The Crunch evened the score 5:38 into the second frame. Tyler Johnson scored his eighth goal of these playoffs with Joey Mormina sitting in the box for delay of game . Brett Connolly and Mark Barberio picked up the assists on Johnson’s power-play goal.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton grabbed the lead for the third time in the game halfway through the period. Christiaan Minella’s unassisted goal put the Penguins up 3-2.
The Penguins extended their lead to 4-2 with a power-play goal late in the second period. Grant capitalized on a J.P. Cote cross-checking call and scored his second of the night. Nesbitt and Riley Holzapfel assisted the goal.
Neither Syracuse nor Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored in the third period. Dejardins ended the night with 19 saves on 23 shots and Brad Thiessen made 24 saves on 26 shots.
Crunchables…With a goal by Brendan Mikkelson, the Crunch now have 11 players will a goal during the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs…Mikkelson’s goal was his first as a member of the Crunch…For the first time during these playoffs, both Ondrej Palat and Richard Panik were held pointless in a game…