Believe it or not, the Syracuse Crunch treated this morning’s pre-game skate like they would any other. Even though this one was right before the team opens a best-of-seven play-off series with the Manitoba Moose. The team has worked hard all week and the players are happy to finish with practice and move on to playing some meaningful games.
Rookie winger Stefan Legein was forced to endure the gauntlet this morning. The entire Crunch team lined up along the far wall of the rink and Legein had to work his way down the line, battling through hits from all of his teammates. Normally that’s something players are forced to go through on their birthdays, but Legein won’t celebrate one until November. It’s more likely that it’s a right of passage for a new guy who is known to be a tough customer on the ice. I also couldn’t help but notice that Stefan was sporting a Mohawk haircut today. When I saw him on Wednesday, he had a full head of hair. It doesn’t take long to conform to team rules around here. Fellow draft picks Nick Holden
and Grant Clitsome are also sporting the new do. The idea was developed by Crunch captain Zenon Konopka, who thought the whole team should wear the Jon Mirasty hairstyle in the playoffs. It’s just another example of how close this team is.
This series should be a good one. In fact, it’s unfortunate that one of these teams will have to go home after round one. They’ve been two of the best in the league through the second half of the year. The top offensive player for the Moose is former Blue Jacket Brad Moran. He was voted as the team MVP after putting up 77 points (22g, 55a). With Dan Lacosta suffering from an undisclosed injury, Karl Goehring will start in goal for the Crunch. He’s earned the start after being named the AHL Goaltender of the Month in March, posting a 7-0-0-1 record with a 1.59 goals-against average and .951 save percentage.
You can listen to the game online, at sportsradio620.com or watch it on the B2 Network. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. and Game 2 will be Saturday night at the same time.