Crunch take Game 1 of East Finals

Photo: Providence Bruins

Six different Crunch players scored, 11 skaters recorded a point and Mike McKenna made 33 saves as Syracuse took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, 6-3, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence on Friday night.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is set for Sunday night (7:05 p.m. ET).

Syracuse, which entered the game with four losses in five previous road contests this postseason, got on the board first at 3:57 of the opening period when Erik Condra forced a turnover in the Bruins zone and Tye McGinn snapped home a shot for his fourth goal of the postseason.

Michael Bournival made it 2-0 for the Crunch at 12:20, finding a loose puck in front and knocking it in for his third of the playoffs.

Alex Grant cut the deficit in half at 4:37 of the second period, denying a Syracuse clearing attempt and firing a blast from the left point that beat McKenna. Grant’s goal, his second of the playoffs, came on Providence’s 20th shot.

But the Crunch restored their two-goal lead at 6:56 as Matthew Peca feathered a back-door pass to Joel Vermin and Vermin put home a power-play goal to make it 3-1.

Gabriel Dumont opened up a 4-1 lead, collecting a loose puck that Zane McIntyre could not corral and scoring his fourth goal of the playoffs at 4:23 of the third.

Providence quickly got right back in it when rookies Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen scored on consecutive shots 13 seconds apart, pulling the Bruins to within 4-3 with 6:51 remaining.

But the Crunch were able to hang on, sealing the win thanks to empty-net goals from Yanni Gourde and Byron Froese.

McKenna (8-4) stopped all 16 shots he faced in the first period en route to his eighth win of these playoffs, one more than he had previously in his entire AHL career.

McIntyre (7-6) turned aside 19 of 23 shots in the loss for Providence.

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
A4-Providence Bruins vs. N1-Syracuse Crunch
Game 1 – Fri., May 19 – Syracuse 6, PROVIDENCE 3
Game 2 – Sun., May 21 – Syracuse at Providence, 7:05
Game 3 – Wed., May 24 – Providence at Syracuse, 7:00
Game 4 – Fri., May 26 – Providence at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 27 – Providence at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 6 – Tue., May 30 – Syracuse at Providence, 7:05
*Game 7 – Wed., May 31 – Syracuse at Providence, 7:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern