Syracuse, NY (Providence Bruins) – The Providence Bruins lost to the Syracuse Crunch Saturday night 3-1, putting an end to their season in the Eastern Conference Finals. The P-Bruins got their lone goal from Chris Porter while Malcolm Subban made his first start in net of the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs.
For the fifth straight game the Crunch grabbed an early lead, this time striking just 41 seconds into the game. As he did last night, Ben Thomas gave Syracuse the lead by scoring the game’s first goal. With space from the left circle, Thomas ripped a slapper by Subban for his fourth goal of the playoffs to give the Crunch a 1-0 lead. They took that lead into the intermission, but they could have done more damage if not for some big saves by Subban to keep them off the board.
The P-Bruins played much better in the second period, not allowing the Crunch to possess the puck for as much time as they had been in the first. Providence took advantage of a turnover in the Syracuse end created thanks to Ryan Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald’s forecheck in the right corner led to him taking the puck away, and he got the puck to Porter in front of the net. Porter, coming hard from the dot, beat Mike McKenna for his first goal of the series and fifth of the postseason as Providence tied the score 1-1 into the second intermission.
Cory Conacher, who has given the P-Bruins problems all series long, continued his hot scoring and gave the Crunch a 2-1 lead with five minutes left in the game. Off a rebound from Yanni Gourde, Conacher blasted a shot from the dot for his eighth goal of the playoffs. The P-Bruins pulled their goalie with 1:30 left, but fittingly it was Conacher that put the final nail in the coffin. He scored his ninth goal of the postseason on the empty net as the Crunch advanced to the Calder Cup Finals after a 3-1 win.
Subban stopped 29 of 31 shots while Mike McKenna stopped 27 of 28. Providence was 0-2 on the power play and 2-2 on the penalty kill. Danton Heinen ended up leading the P-Bruins in playoff scoring with 18 points while him and Wayne Simpson led the team in the Conference Finals with six points.