Crunch shut out Falcons to take 3-0 lead


Game 3

The Syracuse Crunch kept on rolling Wednesday night, taking a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series with a 3-0 win over the visiting Springfield Falcons.

The Crunch can secure their second consecutive sweep with a win in Game 4 on Friday night.

Syracuse opened the scoring at 15:15 of the first period when Ondrej Palat intercepted a Springfield pass and fired a long outlet to Richard Panik, who got behind the Falcons defense and beat Curtis McElhinney on a breakaway for his fourth goal of the playoffs.

After a scoreless second period, Springfield carried a power play over into the start of the third, but Palat picked off another Falcons pass off the opening faceoff, skated in deep down the left side and scored on a shorthanded wraparound just eight seconds into the final frame to make it 2-0.

Palat and Tyler Johnson then combined on another shorthanded goal at 7:24, effectively putting the game out of reach at 3-0. Trying to bleed time off the Falcons’ power play, Palat entered the offensive zone with all five Springfield skaters back and threaded a pass to Johnson, who scored his seventh goal of the playoffs and recorded his 21st point in nine games since rejoining the Crunch from Tampa Bay (NHL).

Cedrick Desjardins (6-0) did the rest, finishing the night with 24 saves for his second career playoff shutout.

McElhinney (3-4) stopped 22 of 25 shots in defeat.