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Photo: Scott Thomas

Crunch strike first in North finals

Byron Froese‘s first goal against his former team proved to be the game-winner as Syracuse opened the North Division Finals with a 3-1 win over Toronto on Friday night.

Game 2 is Saturday in Syracuse.

Froese, who was the Marlies’ leading scorer when he was acquired by Tampa Bay from Toronto on Feb. 27, took a pass from Adam Erne and snapped a shot from the right-wing circle that beat Kasimir Kaskisuo inside the far post with 3:45 to go in the second period, breaking a 1-1 tie.

Toronto had struck first just 1:39 into Game 1 when Andreas Johnsson pounced on a rebound and shoveled a shot past Mike McKenna for his second goal of the postseason.

The Crunch tied it on Erik Condra‘s goal at 14:40, a deflection of Froese’s shot during a Syracuse power play.

Yanni Gourde finished things off with an empty-net goal late in the third.

McKenna (4-1) finished with 24 saves, shutting out the Marlies over the final 58:21 of the contest. Kaskisuo (2-1) stopped 26 of 28 shots for Toronto.

North Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
N1-Syracuse Crunch vs. N2-Toronto Marlies
Game 1 – Fri., May 5 – SYRACUSE 3, Toronto 1
Game 2 – Sat., May 6 – Toronto at Syracuse, 7:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 9 – Syracuse at Toronto, 7:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 10 – Syracuse at Toronto, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 13 – Toronto at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 15 – Syracuse at Toronto, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 17 – Toronto at Syracuse, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern