It's been four years since Syracuse Crunch fans have had the taste of playoff hockey, but the wait will be soon over. A resilient playoff clinching run to end the regular season has the Crunch as a # 2 seed in the Calder Cup Playoffs. They'll be hosting the St John's IceCaps in games one and two of a best of five playoff series this Friday and Saturday night. Syracuse's incredible late season surge included two wins in March over their first round playoff opponents, a team the Crunch were 3-1 against overall this season.
"We've played fairly well against them in the last few games," says Crunch defenseman Kyle Cumiskey "but they've been missing some guys so they're going to be a better team than we've seen lately so hopefully we can keep playing the way we have against them."
St. John's received some added talent from Winnipeg when the NHL's Jets failed to make the playoffs. The Crunch will now have to tame leading scorer Spencer Machacek, Patrice Cormier and former Anaheim Ducks forward Ben Maxwell. On top of all that added talent , the IceCaps also have a lethal defenseman in Paul Postma, with 44 points in 56 games, and talented rookie goaltender Eddie Pasquale. Crunch Head Coach Trent Yawney knows how important the first two game are of a best of five series, especially when those first two games are at home.
"Game one is as big a game as game five," explains Yawney, "and we're going to approach it the same way we've approached all the games here throughout the year. We know what we're up against, we're playing a good team but we know if we play our game it should be a good series."
Syracuse star Kyle Palmieri has played well against the IceCaps this season, scoring five goals and eight points against St. John's. The puck drops for game one this Friday night at 7:30 PM at the War Memorial, with game two slated for Saturday at 7:30 PM.