April 29, 2013

Pirates scrunched in Syracuse

Now the Pirates are at risk of a first-round sweep as the Crunch lead 2-0 in the best-of-five series.

By Paul Betit pbetit@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Tyler Johnson, the AHL’s most valuable player, scored a goal and had an assist to lead the Syracuse Crunch to a 4-2 win over the Portland Pirates in an AHL playoff game at War Memorial Arena Sunday night.

click image to enlarge

Portland’s Chris Brown takes a shot as he jousts with Syracuse’s Tyler Johnson during first-period action of Game 2 of the first round of the Calder Cup series in Syracuse, N.Y., won by the Crunch. Down 2-0, the Pirates must win Thursday to avoid elimination.

Photos by Dan Hickling/Special to the Press Herald

click image to enlarge

Portland defenseman Mathieu Brodeur rushes the puck while tailed by Syracuse forward J.T. Wyman during first-period action in Sunday’s game at Syracuse.

Additional Photos Below


WHO: Pirates vs. Crunch

WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday

WHERE: Cumberland County CC

SERIES: Crunch lead, 2-0 (best-of-five)

The game wasn’t as close as the score indicated as the Crunch took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five first-round Calder Cup series, which resumes Thursday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

“We just weren’t good enough,” Portland Coach Ray Edwards said. “It’s pretty simple. (Syracuse is) a good hockey club and you’ve got to give them credit, but we weren’t good enough.”

“I didn’t think we were hard enough in the (defensive) zone,” Portland defenseman Chris Summers said.

“They’re a team when you’re not hard enough on them, they’re going to capitalize on their opportunities, and they did just that.”

The game lacked the drama of Game 1 the preceding night, when Richard Panik’s power-play goal six minutes into overtime propelled the Crunch to a 4-3 win.

The turning point of Sunday night’s game came during the first period when Ondrej Palat and J.T. Brown scored 68 seconds apart to send Syracuse to a 2-0 lead less than 11 minutes into the game.

“The first half of the game we didn’t compete hard enough,” Edwards said. “We lost a lot of battles and lost a lot of races. We’ve got to give (Syracuse) credit. They play hard, and we need to take a page out of their book.”

Palat scored his first playoff goal on a shot from the left circle moments after netminder Chad Johnson had to make his first save of the game. Just over a minute later Brown slid in Mike Angelidis’ rebound from the slot.

The Crunch’s Johnson put the game out of reach when he scored a short-handed goal less than a minute into the second period. The Pirates allowed a league-high 16 short-handed goals during the regular season.

The Crunch, who held a 34-20 edge in shots on goal, moved into a 4-0 lead when they caught the Pirates in a line change and Brett Connolly cashed in on a breakaway with less than six minutes left in the second period.

With three minutes left in the second period, Portland rookie defenseman Brandon Gormley put in a shot from the top of the right circle during a three-on-two break while both teams were skating short-handed.

Portland forward Nick Johnson completed the scoring when he tipped in rookie Lucas Lessio’s shot with less than 10 minutes to play.

“We’re still playing to win,” Summers said. “We’re taking it one game at a time, and three (wins) in a row is not that big of a stretch. Our main focus, right now, is resting up and preparing ourselves for Thursday.”

“I hope we can play our game for 60 minutes,” Edwards said. “We may give ourselves a chance.”

Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:


Twitter: PaulBetitPPH

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Portland’s Brandon McMillan shoves Syracuse defenseman Mark Barberio along the boards during first-period action.


Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)



More PPH Blogs

Winter sports 2013-2014

High School Football 2013

Fall sports photos