The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins shut out the Providence Bruins Wednesday night in Providence, with a final score of 5-0. This means WBS advances to the next round of the Calder Cup playoffs where they will face the Syracuse Crunch. The Crunch have home ice against the Pens, so the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals will start this Saturday, May 25th in Syracuse.
The Providence Bruins (the #1 seed) elimination has also ensured home ice advantage for the Crunch in the Calder Cup Finals, should they advance.
The dates for the round three series vs. the Baby Penguins are as follows:
Eastern Conference Finals - Series "M": 2-2-1-1-1 format
3-Syracuse Crunch vs. 5-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Game 1 - Sat., May 25 - W-B/Scranton at Syracuse, 7 ET
Game 2 - Sun., May 26 - W-B/Scranton at Syracuse, 7 ET
Game 3 - Wed., May 29 - Syracuse at W-B/Scranton, 7:05 ET
Game 4 - Fri., May 31 - Syracuse at W-B/Scranton, 7:05 ET
*Game 5 - Sat., June 1 - W-B/Scranton at Syracuse, 7 ET
*Game 6 - Mon., June 3 - Syracuse at W-B/Scranton, 7:05 ET
*Game 7 - Wed., June 5 - W-B/Scranton at Syracuse, 7 ET
The Crunch were 5-3 vs. WBS during the regular season. Other than that, this series will have some interesting storylines running in the background. Trevor Smith, a former Norfolk Admiral, won the Calder Cup with many of the Crunch's current guys last year. He now plays for WBS and had a role in their historic comeback. Chad Kolarik also plays for WBS, as does Riley Holzapfel. Kolarik played for the Crunch during the Columbus years, while his brother, Tyler, also pulled on a Crunch jersey once. Holzapfel was a member of the Crunch during the Anaheim years.
Both teams are coming into this series with some ego attached. WBS came all the way back from trailing Providence 3-0 to win the series, including game 7 on the road at Providence. That was a feat no other AHL team in history has ever achieved before them. The Crunch, however, have swept the first two playoff series, defeating Portland Pirates in three games and Springfield Falcons in four. In fact, the Crunch is the only undefeated team left in the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs. The Crunch's series sweep against Springfield marked the Crunch's first four-game series sweep in franchise history. It also featured the Crunch's first post-season hat trick, potted by AHL regular-season MVP Tyler Johnson. Syracuse outscored the Falcons 18-7 in the second-round series, and outscored Portland 12-8 in their first-round series.