Early on Friday Syracuse Crunch star Tyler Johnson was named AHL MVP.
Little did hockey fans know, Johnson was just getting warmed up.
With just three games remaining in the regular season, Johnson scored three goals as Syracuse trounced Norfolk 6-1 at the War Memorial on Friday.
The Crunch has games against Worchester on Saturday and Binghamton on Sunday before getting going in the playoffs next weekend.
Below is the release from the Crunch on the big win:
Syracuse, NY -- â?? The Syracuse Crunch defeated the Norfolk Admirals 6-1 as Tyler Johnson, the 2012-2013 AHL MVP, recorded his second hat trick of the season.
The Crunch improve to 42-21-6-5 on the season and are now 18-11-4-3 at the War Memorial. The Admirals drop to 37-32-4-1 this season and a 15-19-1-1 away record. The Crunch lead Binghamton by three points for first place in the East division.
Mike Angelidis sparked the surge of Crunch offense after netting a shot from the slot 14:20 into the first period. JT Wyman and JT Brown collected assists on the play. Thirty-eight seconds later, Tyler Johnson scored his first goal of the evening off a rebound in front of the net. Wyman and Dan Sexton were credited with assists. With less than a minute remaining in the first, Wyman added a goal after a series of transition passes by Ondrej Palat and Johnson â?? given assists on the play. Wymanâ??s wrist shot increased the Crunch lead to 3-0.
The Admirals replaced starting goalie Frederik Andersen with backup John Gibson to begin the second period. Andersen surrendered three goals after facing 12 shots in the first period.
Midway through the second, Vladislav Namestnikov showed off some fancy stick handling in the slot, sneaking a goal past Gibson at the 11:56 mark. Philip-Michael Devos and Brett Connolly contributed assists on the play as the Crunch led 4-0. Shortly after, Patrick Maroon scored Norfolkâ??s only goal of the game with 6:28 remaining in the second. Again the Crunch added a goal within the last minute of the period as Johnson buried a breakaway assisted by Palat and Sexton.
Johnson completed the hat trick at the 7:48 mark of the third period, scoring his 36th goal of the season on the unassisted play.
Sound Crunch defense set the tone throughout the game successfully killing all three Norfolk power-play opportunities. The Crunch have killed seven consecutive power plays and are 20 for 21 on the penalty kill in the month of April. Cedrick Desjardins provided a sturdy backbone for the Crunch defense stopping 26 shots faced surrendering the lone second period goal.
Crunchables: Since returning from Tampa Bay, Tyler Johnson has scored at least a goal in each gameâ?¦ This is the second straight game with a Crunch hat trickâ?¦ This is the seventh time the Crunch have scored six goals in a game this season... The last time the Crunch scored six goals in a game was March 16 against Albany at the War Memorial.