The Syracuse Crunch stifled the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins all night and came away from Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza with a 2-0 victory and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Game 4 is set for Friday night back in Wilkes-Barre.
Cedrick Desjardins made 22 saves for his second shutout of the postseason and his ninth win in 10 playoff starts.
Brad Thiessen, who allowed one goal or fewer for the fifth time in his last seven starts, stopped 20 shots in the loss.
Syracuse got all the offense it would need at the 7:29 mark of the second period on Vladislav Namestnikov‘s first postseason goal. Ondrej Palat grabbed the puck off a Penguins turnover at the Crunch blue line and raced the other way. His initial shot deflected wide but Namestnikov gathered the rebound, circled back to the high slot and slapped a shot past the glove hand of Thiessen.
The 1-0 Crunch lead held up until J.T. Brown‘s empty-net tally with 4.8 seconds remaining in the third.
The Penguins were 0-for-5 on the power play, including a minute-long 5-on-3 opportunity spanning the first and second periods. The Crunch went 0-for-4.
NOTES: AHL MVP Tyler Johnson, who missed the end of Game 2 after suffering a leg injury, returned to the Crunch lineup for Game 3… 18-year-old defenseman Olli Maatta, the 22nd overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, made his professional debut for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton… Syracuse improved to 4-0 on the road during this postseason.
Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M”
3-Syracuse Crunch vs. 5-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Game 1 – Sat., May 25 – W-B/Scranton 4, SYRACUSE 2
Game 2 – Sun., May 26 – SYRACUSE 3, W-B/Scranton 2
Game 3 – Wed., May 29 – Syracuse 2, W-B/SCRANTON 0
Game 4 – Fri., May 31 – Syracuse at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 5 – Sat., June 1 – W-B/Scranton at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., June 3 – Syracuse at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 7 – Wed., June 5 – W-B/Scranton at Syracuse, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern