Crunch blank Rocket to force Game 5

Photo: Vitor Munhoz/NHLI via Getty Images

Hugo Alnefelt made 24 saves in relief of an injured Max Lagace and Syracuse defeated Laval, 3-0, in Game 4 of their North Division semifinal series on Saturday afternoon.

The teams will play a winner-take-all Game 5 in Syracuse on Tuesday.

Cole Koepke opened the scoring 5:35 into the game, taking a feed from Anthony Richard and beating Cayden Primeau to put the Crunch in front 1-0.

Lagace was helped off with 9:46 left in the first period and replaced by Alnefelt, a 20-year-old rookie making his postseason debut. Alnefelt preserved the one-goal lead until Remi Elie made it 2-0 with a power-play goal early in the third period. Richard provided the final margin a little over four minutes later.

The combined effort was the first playoff shutout recorded by the Crunch since 2013, a 7-0 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Primeau (2-1) finished with 34 saves on 37 shots for the Rocket, who were shut out at Place Bell for the first time since Dec. 14, 2019.

Attendance was 10,043.

North Division Semifinals – Series “K” (best-of-5)
N2-Syracuse Crunch vs. N3-Laval Rocket
Game 1 – Fri., May 6 – SYRACUSE 5, Laval 3
Game 2 – Sat., May 7 – Laval 3, SYRACUSE 2
Game 3 – Thu., May 12 – LAVAL 4, Syracuse 1
Game 4 – Sat., May 14 – Syracuse 3, LAVAL 0
Game 5 – Tue., May 17 – Laval at Syracuse, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern