Syracuse Crunch vs. Toronto Marlies preview: AHL North Division final Game 6

The Syracuse Crunch could close out this round tonight in Toronto for Game 6.

Bottom line:

The Syracuse Crunch has proven that it can win at home against the best the North Division has to offer. The team hasn’t lost a game at home in either round it has played so far against both the St. John’s IceCaps and the Toronto Marlies. However, Syracuse has struggled mightily away from the cozy confines of the Onondaga County War Memorial. In just this series alone versus Toronto, they have been outscored five-to-eight while visiting Ricoh Coliseum.

While that doesn’t seem too bad, the general consensus from both fans who were in Toronto and the players themselves is that the Crunch allowed Toronto to control those two games in ways they never would have allowed at home. For some reason, whether it’s the lack of familiar surroundings, the different crowd, not being able to start the day at home, whatever, the Crunch hasn’t been able to get its mojo working when not in Syracuse. Taking care of home ice is certainly essential, especially when a team has home ice advantage. But one of the markers of a completely successful playoff team is handling the pressures of a road game.

The Crunch has a chance to close out this series tonight in Toronto. A win would send them onto the Conference final for just the third time in Syracuse history. A loss sends the series back to Syracuse Wednesday for game 7. Needless to say, a win is certainly preferable.

What you may have missed:

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 netminder for Syracuse:

Mike McKenna

Line rushes during warm ups Saturday:

Michael Bournival - Yanni Gourde - Cory Conacher

Adam Erne - Byron Froese - Joel Vermin

Tye McGinn - Matthew Peca - Erik Condra

Daniel Walcott - Gabriel Dumont - Kevin Lynch

Defensive pairings during warm ups Saturday:

Matt Taormina - Dominik Masin

Slater Koekkoek - Ben Thomas

Jonathan Racine - Mathieu Brodeur

Note: Jake Dotchin has completed his three-game suspension and can return tonight. Will he? Great question. It seems like all indications point to yes, but Racine, who drew in while Dotchin was suspended, played a great game Saturday. He was defensively sound and netted his first goal of the playoffs. It will be interesting to see who sits if/when Dotchin draws back in.