Penguins Sweep Syracuse To Advance To AHL's Eastern Conference Semifinals

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
AHL Penguins advance to second round of the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are on to the second round after completing the three-game sweep of the Syracuse Crunch with an impressive 5-2 win at The OnCenter War Memorial tonight in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

The Penguins' man advantage came through again for them, going a perfect 3-for-3 on the night including a pair of power play tallies early in the third to pull away from the Crunch en route to the series-clinching win.

Scott Wilson opened the scoring and finished with a goal and an assist in his first AHL playoff game after being re-assigned from Pittsburgh, while Conor Sheary had a game-high three points (2G-1A) for the WBS Pens in the win. Andrew Ebbett and Derrick Pouliot recorded a goal and an assist each while the Pens got 33 saves on 35 shots from Matt Murray to improve to 3-0 on the postseason.

The Crunch never quit despite the score, tying the game in the 1st period on Yanni Gourde's 1st of the postseason late in the opening period and coming back to within two early in the third but ultimately were out-matched by some serious depth on the Penguins roster - aided by four players re-assigned from the NHL following Pittsburgh's first round exit in the NHL postseason. 


Syracuse Crunch head coach Rob Zettler:
They work hard. I've got a lot of respect for John Hynes. I think he's probably if not the best one of the best coaches in the league. Gets these guys playing hard. They're not a physical team if you look at them individually, but collectively they play a hard strong game and they move the puck well.
They had some help tonight from their guys, but at the end of the day they played well, the play hard, they have a good goalie who is stopping pucks and they play a good defensive system - they don't give up much.
Jonathan Marchessault on what made Penguins so difficult to play against:
Their goalie was very good, but they have really good defensive play. Everybody is really involved defensively and they have a good defensive team. They are limiting a lot of chances on the opponent, so I think that's the biggest credit I have to give to them.

The Crunch came out much like you'd expect a team fighting for their playoff lives on home ice would - fast and hard. The Crunch registered the first five shots of the hockey game before a series of back-to-back penalties created some 4-on-4 hockey and a brief Penguins power play.

In the final seconds of the Pens' first man advantage, they cashed in to take a 1-0 lead. Conor Sheary had his point shot blocked, but he nudged a pass to Scott Wilson atop the right-wing face-off circle for a one-timer that beat Kristers Gudlevskis. Andrew Ebbett tallied a second assist on Wilson's power play tally 7:53 into the contest.

The Crunch didn't go away quietly, dominating play after the Pens' goal and later tying the game on a Yanni Gourde rebound attempt with 3:07 left in the opening frame. Murray stopped the initial shot from Luke Witkowski, but the rebound popped out to Gourde who got a stick on it and directed it into the top shelf past Murray to even the score.

The Penguins were out shot 17-8 in the first frame but were opportunistic with their chances in the middle frame - taking a 2-1 lead 2:39 into the period on a 3-on-2 rush. Derrick Pouliot made a nice play, joining the odd-man rush and driving to the center - creating a lane for Conor Sheary to skate into the slot and let loose a low but hard shot that eluded Gudlevskis to put the Pens back in front, 2-1.

From there, the period was evenly played with series of nice stops from both goaltenders and some good blocked shots by the defense to keep it at a 2-1 score heading into the third period.

The Pens didn't sit back on a one goal lead in the third period, instead adding a pair of early power play goals in the first 4:30 to break open the game to a 4-1 lead.

First it was Sheary on his 2nd goal of the night. A perfect pass from Wilson allowed Sheary to one-time a puck past Gudlevskis 1:59 into the final frame to extend the WBS lead to 3-1. Then, Kasperi Kapanen wheeled a puck into the offensive zone and left a pass at the point to Derrick Pouliot, who's point shot eluded a screened Gudlevskis to put the Pens ahead 4-1 with 15:30 to play.

The Crunch didn't go away quietly, answering right back just over a minute later on a bouncing puck that Tanner Richard got enough of to direct past Murray to bring the Crunch with two at a 4-2 deficit with 14:24 left in regulation.

In the end, the Penguins clamped down defensively and got all the necessary saves from Murray and an empty net tally by Andrew Ebbett with 1:18 left to seal the deal on the first round sweep and advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in a best-of-seven series against an opponent to be determined.


Matt Murray (33 saves - 35 shots) got the start in net for Game 3 with Jeff Zatkoff serving as backup for the third straight playoff game.

Defensemen Taylor Chorney, Brian Dumoulin and Derrick Pouliot were all back in the lineup for the Pens tonight. Danny Syvret, Nick D'Agostino and Ryan Parent were scratched to make room on the back end.

Up front, Scott Wilson returned to the lineup after being re-assigned from Pittsburgh. Josh Archibald took warmups, but was scratched to make room for Wilson. J-S Dea remained the 4th line center.

WBS Scratches:

Injured - Nick Drazenovic, Bryan Rust and Anton Zlobin

Healthy - Tristan Jarry, Sean Escobedo, Alex Boak, Josh Archibald, Danny Syvret, Nick D'Agostino, Ryan Parent, Adam Payerl, Clark Seymour and Steven Shamanski


Conor Sheary - Andrew Ebbett - Tom Kostopoulos
Scott Wilson - Jayson Megna - Kasperi Kapanen
Tom Kuhnhackl - Carter Rowney - Dominik Uher
Bobby Farnham - Jean-Sebastien Dea - Pierre-Luc Leblond

Brian Dumoulin - Taylor Chorney
Scott Harrington - Barry Goers
Reid McNeill - Derrick Pouliot

Matt Murray - Jeff Zatkoff


Kristers Gudlevskis (19 saves - 23 shots) got the start in net for the third straight time for Syracuse, with Adam Wilcox backing him up.

No changes on defense for the Crunch, though there were a few changes up front - with Tanner Richard and Cody Kunyk back in the lineup for Kevin Lynch and Dalton Smith.

SYR Scratches: Dan Milan, Justin Courtnall, Kevin Lynch, Mike Blunden, Cameron Darcy, Eric Neilson, Dalton Smith, Jared Nightingale, Charlie Dodero and Phillippe Paradis.


Brayden Point - Ryan Martindale - Jonathan Marchessault
Yanni Gourde - Matthew Peca - Carter Ashton
Henri Ikonen - Mike Angelidis - Joel Vermin
Cody Kunyk - Tanner Richard - David Broll

Luke Witkowski - Slater Koekkoek
Joey Mormina - Jake Dotchin
J-P Cote - Dylan Blujus

Kristers Gudlevskis - Adam Wilcox


1st Period

4:27: WBS - (PP) Chorney, minor (cross-checking)
5:57: SYR - (PP) Koekkoek, minor (tripping)
7:53: WBS - PPG Wilson (1) - Sheary, Ebbett
11:59: WBS - Farnham, minor (charging)
11:59: SYR - Broll, minor (roughing)
16:53: SYR - Gourde (1) - Witkowski, Peca
19:56: WBS - Farnham, minor (roughing)
19:56: SYR - Witkowski, minor (roughing)
20:00: WBS - McNeill, major (fighting)
20:00: SYR - Ashton, major (fighting)

2nd Period

2:39: WBS - Sheary (1) - Kostopoulos, Pouliot

3rd Period

1:35: SYR - (PP) Cote, minor (boarding)
1:59: WBS - PPG Sheary (2) - Wilson, Dumoulin
2:59: SYR - (PP) Bench minor, too many men (served by Richard)
4:30: WBS - PPG Pouliot (1) - Kapanen
5:36: SYR - Richard (1) - Koekkoek, Gourde
18:42: WBS - ENG Ebbett (1) - Uher


Post a Comment