continued “I'm not used to scoring three goals in the same game,” said Paradis, who had one in 44 combined contests with Rockford and Syracuse this year. “I was just trying to play my simple game, and trying to give momentum to my team.”
Desjardins, who took over for Riku Helenias with 20 games left in the regular season, finished with 23 saves and his second shutout of the series. Counterpart Jeff Zatkoff was hammered, allowing seven goals on 27 shots and was replaced by Dan Thieson in the third period.
Syracuse will advance for first time in 19 years to the finals to face the winner between Grand Rapids and Oklahoma City, who had to go all seven games to decide the Western Conference final. No matter who is the opponent, the Crunch will have the home ice advantage, with Games 1 and 2 this weekend at the War Memorial.
In the clincher against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Syracuse generated 14 unsuccessful shots on goal in the opening period beforedefenseman Andrej Sustr unloaded from the left point. The puck slammed off Zatkoff and flew high in the air. Namestinikov was in a perfect position on the right side of the crease to swat the puck in that gave Syracuse a 1-0 lead.
Courtesy of three more scoring tallies in the second period, Syracuse took control. Paradis put the Crunch ahead 3-0 with a wrap around shot at the 13:17 mark.
At that point, the Penguins became progressively desperate and tried their best to lure the Crunch into penalties, fights, and ejections, but it did nothing to change the momentum.
Instead, life became even more hectic. Dan Sexton batted in a feed from Philip-Michael Devos 1:54 after the goal from Paradis to make it 4-0. Then he proceeded to assist Palat for a power-play connection as Palat is the AHL's leading postseason scorer with 20 points – five goals, 15 assists.