Syracuse Crunch Head Coach Ben Groulx got what he was looking for yesterday afternoon against the Laval Rocket.
Team captain Gabriel DumontThe prediction of turned out to be correct.
The Crunch earned a dominating 3-0 win in Game 4 of the Teams North Division Semi-Final Series on Saturday afternoon, setting up a decisive Game 5 at Syracuse on Tuesday night. Groulx was unhappy with his team’s discipline in a 4-1 loss in Game 3, while Dumont pointed out that the Crunch would be a much different team after the loss.
They were, and more.
The Crunch took just two penalties, none after the first period, after being shorthanded seven times in Game 3. In Saturday’s victory, Cole Koepke gave the Crunch an early lead, they survived the loss of the goalkeeper Max Lagace to an injury in the first period, Hugo Alnefelt was perfect in relief (24 saves), and Syracuse never gave Laval the opportunity to push back.
“Everything we talked about last time was much better,” Groulx told the Crunch site. “The character of our team, the character of Hugo Alnefelt when we lost Max… I think Hugo came in, and he was phenomenal when needed.”
Groulx also changed his lineup, opting for an 11-7 setup. Attackers PC Labrie and Gemel Smith did not play as a defender Alex Green has attracted.
“We decided we wanted more speed,” Groulx said of the decision. “We thought we needed more depth in defence. With all the [penalty]-kill we had to make the last game, our defensemen were on the ice a lot, so I wanted to make sure we were protected.
Now Syracuse’s reward is a chance to perform for the series in front of Crunch fans.
“It’s a huge factor,” Koepke said. “I mean, any time we can play at home, it’s great. You have your own bed, you’re used to the arena and you have your own fans. We have great fans in our arena, so we are delighted to have the ice cream at home.
The Charlotte Checkers have had a fight on their hands with the Bridgeport Islanders, and it’s not going away any time soon.
Bridgeport cut Charlotte’s lead to 2-1 in the Atlantic Club Division semi-final after a 3-2 victory yesterday afternoon. Game 3 took a very different turn from Thursday’s chaotic Game 2, a 7-6 double-overtime win by Charlotte.
“It was just a tight check,” Charlotte’s head coach said Geordie Kinnear on the team’s website. “It’s a very experienced hockey group, and again we made two mistakes that you should be able to learn from. Their experience ended up putting him in the back of the net.
Both clubs want and can play physical hockey, and they did on Saturday.
” It’s supposed to [be physical]” said Kinnear, a ruthless defenseman during his AHL playing days in the New Jersey Devils organization. “It’s meant to be fun, it’s meant to be competitive, and it’s meant to be one-on-one battles. That’s what makes our game great and that’s what makes the playoffs great. Embrace it, enjoy it and come out on the right side of the battle.
Rochester Americans rookie forward JJ Peterka says he’s adapted to the pace of the Calder Cup qualifiers, and that could be bad news for any opponent.
A key part of the parent Buffalo Sabers’ future, Peterka went wild against the Utica Comets with a hat trick in a 4-3 victory in Game 2 of the North Division Semifinals series teams last night. Peterka, 20, completed his hat trick with the game-winning goal in overtime that tied the series ahead of tonight’s rematch in Rochester.
The Belleville Senators had limited Peterka to two assists in the best-of-three first-round series the Amerks swept. Now Peterka has dented Utica for four goals in two games.
“I got more used to the difficulty of the matches, to the [much] less space you have compared to the regular season,” Peterka said via the Amerks website. “I found myself in more chances to score. I can learn a lot from this.
That overtime winner also reflected Buffalo’s bright future, as other top prospects Jack Quinn and Peyton Krebs got assists on Peterka’s goal.
Someone had to play the mighty Stockton Heat in a Pacific Division semi-final series, and the Bakersfield Condors pulled that assignment.
Bakersfield ended up falling to the Heat in a three-game sweep, losing 6-4 in Game 3 at home on Friday night. However, Game 2 was a one goal loss and the teams were separated in Game 3 by just one goal until Justin Kirklandis empty net with two seconds remaining.
Interim Head Coach Colin Chaulk took over the Bakersfield bench in February after Jay Woodcroftto the parent company of the Edmonton Oilers. In his first role as head coach at the AHL level, Chaulk and the Condors had to navigate the grueling Pacific Division as well as other challenges.
“We talked a lot about adversity,” Chaulk said via the Condors website after Game 3. “Everyone had personal challenges. Some were new dads, others personal struggles for many players. different, changes of coaches, all those sorts of things that they hadn’t planned, that they didn’t choose… [I am] really proud of how they responded, how positively they responded.
― patrick williams