Crunch drop Marlies again, take 2-0 series lead home

Derek MacKenzie tallied the eventual game-winning goal and added an assist as Syracuse dropped Toronto by a 3-1 final on Sunday in Game 2 of the North Division finals at Ricoh Coliseum.

Goaltender Karl Goehring stopped 44 of 45 shots in net for the Crunch, who have won four straight contests and own a 2-0 series lead heading home for Games 3 and 4.

Syracuse took advantage of an early power play opportunity to grab a 1-0 lead, as team captain Zenon Konopka scored just 2:32 after the opening face-off. Derick Brassard and Duvie Westcott earned assists on Konopka’s second goal of the playoffs.

MacKenzie made it a 2-0 edge at 7:18 of the second period, his fourth of the playoffs and second of this series.

The Marlies cut the lead in half less than four minutes later, as Bates Battaglia netted his third of postseason play at the 10:44 mark, with Kris Newbury picking up the lone assist.

Toronto could not get the equalizer, though, and Syracuse’s Mark Rycroft finished the game off with an empty-netter at 18:37 of the third stanza.

The 44 saves marked the highest total by Goehring all year, including the regular season. Goehring secured his eighth career playoff win in a Crunch uniform, tying him with J.F. Labbe and Mike Fountain for the franchise lead in that category.

Syracuse will take its 2-0 series lead home to the Onondaga County War Memorial for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday.