Crunch Finish Penguins, Season Ends in June

Saturday, June 1, 2013
Not the way the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins wanted to end their season, bowing out in five games to the Syracuse Crunch tonight in New York. The final score is rough, a 7-0 loss, but the end result is the same no matter what the score reads in the deciding game. The season is over.

The Crunch capitalized on two gaffes by the Penguins in a 52 second span in the first period, added three goals in a span of 4:21 in the middle period, and for good measure added two more in the third period.

"We couldn't get the one we needed at the right time," head coach John Hynes said. "We couldn't get it within one early in the game and then it just snowballed a little bit after that."

The Crunch are a very good team. They've only lost one game this entire postseason (Game One vs. these Penguins) and dating back to last year's Norfolk team that was moved here, have swept four out of their last five playoff series. They are worthy of the Eastern Conference championship they've earned tonight. They will be tough to beat in the Finals.

The first period was much like Games Two, Three and Four. Chances both ways but more sustained pressure by the Crunch.

The Penguins had trouble clearing a puck out and a partially tipped Ondrej Palat shot found its way fluttering over Jeff Zatkoff to Vlad Namestnikov on the other side. Namestnikov smacked it home to give the Crunch a 1-0 lead.

Just 52 seconds later, a turnover in the defensive zone later turns into a point shot goal from Radko Gudas on an ensuing faceoff, extending the Crunch lead to 2-0.

Things went from bad to worse in the middle frame as Phillipe Paradis, Dan Sexton and Ondrej Palat extended the Crunch lead to 5-0 in a matter of about four and a half minutes. Paradis added two more goals in the third to complete his hat trick perforamance and put the finishing touches on the Eastern Conference Finals.

"After the first we really felt like we were in it," team captain Joey Mormina said.  "We were playing well in the 2nd period. We felt we came out strong again and just a couple of mistakes unraveled and then the next thing you know it's 5-0."

For the AHL Penguins, the season is over. For me, it's never really over. I have a ton of things to touch on and plan on doing so periodically over summer.

The Pens will hold exit interviews in the near future and I will try to get some final thoughts from some of the guys before they head home for the summer, or head to Pittsburgh to join their Black Aces squad.

The next thing on the agenda is a look at the list of returning players, restricted free agents and unrestricted free agents. Player profiles and other tidbits will be mixed throughout things in the summer so definitely keep this website in mind in the coming weeks.

I'll end by thanking everyone who has helped me out this season. The media relations heads of several teams made me feel right at home and treated me with the utmost professionalism at all times. The guys in the locker room and the coaching staff need to be thanked for taking the time to talk with me after games, at practice, etc. I wouldn't be getting their thoughts out there without them.

And, of course, you the reader deserve my gratitude. Thanks to everyone who reads, shares, promotes anything I have done this season. It really means a lot to me and I hope I was able to help you learn a little more about the AHL Penguins this season.

Thanks again and take it easy Penguins nation.


perez edwards said...

Penguins are always good and it was a great game from their side. I still can't the finishing move from their side. I would like to wish good luck to all the team members inside the hockey goalie camp

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