The Syracuse Crunch entered the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Playoffs last weekend against the Portland (Maine) Pirates. A team they had not played during the regular season. Playoff hockey is very intense and the first round of these playoffs are Best-of-Five and are called short series. The team which wins three games will move on to the next round. Getting off to a good start in the first game is vital.
The Crunch played hard but a bit tight in the first half of the game and were down by two goals heading into the third period of the first game. They settled down and chipped away until they tied the game. As the game clock expired, the teams would go into Sudden Death Overtime. First team to score would win the game.
As you can imagine, everything gets magnified. Face-offs, hits, shots and goalie saves.
The fans in the stands yell louder and are at the edge of their seats. Ooooing and awwwing with each save and scoring attempt willing the home team to come through. Then it does!
When Richard Panik (14, in white) gathered in a loose puck and buried it behind the Portland Pirates goalie at the 6:36 mark of the first and only overtime period, the fans and players erupted in pent up jubilation.
With the momentum from the exciting overtime win, the Crunch took game two, 4-2, last night and a 2-0 series lead as it shifts to Portland, Maine on Thursday. If the Crunch win one more game, they will move on to the next series.