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Syracuse Crunch gears up for uphill first game of 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs

Syracuse Crunch's Matthew Peca scores the Crunch's first goal of the game against Lehigh Valley, the Crunch meets St. John's in Game One of its Calder Cup Playoff Series with the IceCaps (Niko Tamurian)

The Syracuse Crunch are headed North of the boarder to begin the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs.

The Crunch will face the St. John's IceCaps to open their quest for the Calder Cup and while they are the top seed, Syracuse will be on the road for the first two games of the series. This is due to the amount of travel required from Syracuse to Newfoundland. The first two games of this best-of-five series will take place in St.John's and the next three will be held at the War Memorial Arena. "If you think about it, it kind of doesn't really make sense that you claim the division title and you start with two games on the road..." said Crunch center Gabrial Dumont. "...but it's part of the game and something we have to do."

Dumont along with six other players were sent back to Syracuse after the parent club Tampa Bay Lightning failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. "We're happy that everybody's back." Dumont said. "...it makes our lineup a good lineup." Helping improve that lineup are Joel Vermin, Michael Bournival, Cory Conacher, Yanni Gourde, Adam Erne, and Jake Dotchin. They all played at least 11 games for the injury-plagued Lightning this season and with the Stanley Cup out of the picture this year, the focus has been shifted to the Calder Cup. "Every guy that kind of came back down from Tampa is extremely excited to get this going..." Dotchin said. "...the [Stanley] Cup was the main goal but now that we're here this Calder Cup is our main goal."

Of the seven players that returned from Tampa, four of them are among the top-10 in scoring for Syracuse. Giving the Crunch the kind of firepower needed to make a long and successful playoff run. The first game of the series starts on Friday from St. John's and the first home game will take place at the War Memorial Arena on Wednesday, April 26th at 7 p.m.

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