Providence Bruins

May 19, 2017

P-BRUINS VS CRUNCH SERIES PREVIEW

Providence and Syracuse are meeting in the AHL playoffs for the first time since 1939, when the Providence Reds defeated the Syracuse Stars in the first round, and the first since each re-entered the league. The P-Bruins and Crunch played just twice this season with each winning on home ice.

This will be the P-Bruins sixth appearance in the conference finals and first since 2009 when the team was led by Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask, Jonny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid. After falling behind 3-2 in the division finals against Hershey, Providence won the final two games on the road to become the first team in AHL history to win four elimination games on the road in the same postseason. Jordan Szwarz, Providence’s leading scorer during the regular season, was without a point through the first six games against the Bears before scoring two goals in Game 7. Danton Heinen has led the P-Bruins in scoring in both rounds so far, totaling five goals and seven assists for 12 points in 12 games. He also leads all AHL rookies in scoring through two rounds. Zane McIntyre continues to be a wall in goal, as he has allowed two regulation goals or fewer in 11 of his 12 playoff starts for a 2.11 GAA.

Syracuse enters the conference finals for the third time after an exciting, come-from-behind win in game seven of their division finals. The Crunch were behind 3-1 in the second before scoring five unanswered goals to win 6-3. Cory Conacher and Matt Taormina co-led the crunch in scoring during the regular season and have continued to play well in the postseason. Taormina has two goals and eight assists for 10 points while Conacher has four goals and five assists for nine points. Yanni Gourde and Eric Condra were tied for third on the team and each has made their presence felt as well. Gourde recorded a team-high eight points in the series after being held off the scoresheet in the first round vs. St. John’s, but all eight points came on home ice. Condra meanwhile leads the Crunch in scoring with four goals and seven assists this postseason. Syracuse has four players in the top ten in playoff scoring so far this postseason.

The Crunch have visited the Dunk ten times in their history, but have only won twice with the last victory coming in 2010. The team is 1-4 on the road this postseason, but Syracuse goalie Mike McKenna played Providence twice this season while with Springfield. He went 1-0-1 with a 1.94 GAA, saving 92% of the shots he faced. This makes special teams a real focus for the P-Bruins, who struggled last round on the power play after a dominant round one. The team was 6-for-22 on the power play in the first round but just 1-for-16 in the second round. Syracuse had four shorthanded goals last series vs. Toronto.

The series opens up Friday at the Dunkin Donuts Center when the teams meet for game one at 7:05pm.

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