The AHL’s north division finals get moving tonight with the Syracuse Crunch hosting the Toronto Marlies in game 1.
Last round, the Syracuse Crunch took on a very physical St. John’s IceCaps and defeated them 3 games to 1. Their final game, one that went to overtime, was certainly one for the fans to remember. Toronto played the Albany Devils last round, a series which featured their own crazy match for the memory books.
Overall, Toronto and Syracuse seem to match up well. Both teams are skilled and fast. While Crunch fans might be feeling a bit of déjà vu, Syracuse this time around has quite the different skill set than they did in 2008, which is the last time the Crunch and the Marlies met in the playoffs.
There’s many different ways that fans new and old can keep up with the Crunch during their 7-game-series vs. Toronto.
If you’re prepping for the game:
- You can’t miss Raw Charge’s own CrunchCast if you’re looking for our homegrown opinion of the series.
- Be sure to check out Brandon Curtis’ playoff preview article.
- For the Toronto perspective, you can't beat this preview by the Pension Plan Puppets.
- The Crunch’s SoundCloud has been filling up with all kinds of great stuff lately, including interviews with former Tampa Bay Lightning players Jake Dotchin and Gabriel Dumont.
- The same can be said for Syracuse’s YouTube channel if you’re looking for highlights and recaps from the last round.
- You can find coverage from the team’s beat writer and others, including our friend Brent Axe, over at Syracuse.com.
- Show your support for the Crunch on Facebook:
- Remember forward Eric Neilson? He has a very special message for the Crunch and its fans:
Game night essentials:
- The pre-game radio broadcast with Dan D’Uva will start at 6:45 EST on ESPN Syracuse. You can listen to the game in its entirety for free.
- AHL Live has special playoff pricing deals for every game of the AHL playoffs, as well as team-specific packages. There’s also a pay-per-view option.
- Be sure to follow the team on Twitter for updates if you’re away from other options.
Potential lines and pairings:
Starting goalie for Syracuse:
Returning player news:
Defenseman Daniel Walcott will be returning to the Crunch’s lineup after missing all of round one and the end of the regular season with an upper-body injury. Crunch coach Ben Groulx has said that Walcott will draw into the game as a forward, which is a position that Walcott has played in several times over the past two seasons with Syracuse. Walcott will draw in over rookie Brett Howden.
Line rushes during warm ups last Friday:
Michael Bournival-Yanni Gourde-Cory Conacher
Adam Erne-Byron Froese-Joel Vermin
Tye McGinn-Matthew Peca-Erik Condra
Gabriel Dumont-Brett Howden (healthy scratch tonight, Walcott inserted)-Kevin Lynch
Defensive pairings during warm ups last Friday:
Matt Taormina-Dominik Masin
Slater Koekkoek-Jake Dotchin
Ben Thomas-Mathieu Brodeur
Let’s #FIN15H what we’ve started!