Syracuse, N.Y. — 100 seventy toes and 1:30 separated the Syracuse Crunch from the Laval Rocket’s empty web and a visit to the North Division finals on Tuesday evening.
However that minute and 30 seconds remained, and as Laval stuffed Syracuse goalie Max Lagace’s crease, the almost 200 toes between the 2 nets appeared to unfold farther aside
>> Field rating
Lagace stopped the primary 14 third-period pictures the Rocket slung, deflected and knuckled his approach. Sprawling throughout the web for a unfastened puck, Lagace didn’t stop Laval’s Cédric Paquette from tying the sport with 38 seconds left.
Laval’s Gabriel Bourque then swatted a puck previous Lagace 10 minutes into extra time, shoving the Rocket over Syracuse 3-2 and into the following spherical of the Calder Cup playoffs.
“It’s a troublesome one,” Crunch coach Ben Groulx stated after the loss. “It’s simply disappointing being right here tonight arising quick like that.”
The loss capped a season the place Syracuse performed 55 video games over 116 days as a result of Covid-19 schedule modifications. The Crunch rose from fifth place within the American Hockey League’s North Division standings into second place, incomes home-ice benefit within the playoffs.
And for a part of Tuesday evening, Syracuse’s magical season was going to proceed. Syracuse followers gave the Crunch its loudest house crowd of the postseason, and the Crunch, following that momentum, opened a two-goal lead.
Anthony Richard chipped an errant go round a Rocket defender within the first interval, swooshed down the ice and scooped a backhand shot previous Laval goalie Cayden Primeau.
Richard’s shorthanded aim, his fourth of the sequence, put the Crunch forward 1-0. Ryan Jones then doubled that lead, swiping a go from Alex Barré-Boulet into Laval’s web for his first aim of the postseason.
However Laval’s Alex Belzile answered Jones’ tally minutes later together with his fourth aim of the sequence. Laval outshot Syracuse 15-8 within the third interval earlier than tying the sport late and ending the Crunch’s 2021-22 season.
“I believed when (Laval) scored their first aim our vitality went down and there’s went up huge time,” Groulx stated. “We grew to become nervous, we have been hesitant on the ice and never skating as a lot. If you begin considering an excessive amount of, you’re giving the opposite crew the sting.”
Within the locker room between the third interval and extra time, Groulx advised his gamers to ‘simply play hockey.’ The Crunch earned its first powerplay of the sport in extra time the place Charles Hudon narrowly missed a number of one-time probabilities to win the sport.
“This sequence was about bounces,” Groulx stated. “You rating and also you don’t they usually come again, and I feel total it was a really even sequence.”
As Bourque fell to his knees and Crunch gamers scanned for the puck, a type of bounces ended Syracuse’s Calder Cup hopes.
Syracuse watched Laval huddle round Bourque after the game-winning aim. Most Crunch followers stayed to cheer their crew off the Struggle Memorial ice for the ultimate time this season.