Quick-strike Crunch bury Falcons early

Game 1

Four first-period goals set the tone early and the Syracuse Crunch rolled to a convincing 5-2 win over the Springfield Falcons in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Friday night.

Tyler Johnson tallied a goal and two assists, giving the AHL MVP nine points in four games this postseason. Richard Panik notched a goal and an assist, and Cedrick Desjardins stopped 22 shots as the Crunch improved to 4-0 in these playoffs.

Syracuse scored twice in a 20-second span to take a 2-0 lead at the 9:00 mark of the opening period. Nick Drazenovic got Springfield on the board a little over a minute later, but J.T. Brown and Brett Connolly responded to give the Crunch a 4-1 lead at the first intermission.

Johnson’s goal 10:10 into the second made it 5-1 and chased started Curtis McElhinney, who was stung for five goals on nine Crunch shots. Allen York stopped all 11 shots he faced the rest of the way.

Game 2 between the Crunch and Falcons is set for Saturday night at the MassMutual Center.