The Syracuse Crunch scored five goals in the third period to topple the Utica Comets, 7-2, and set the largest margin of victory at the Utica Memorial Auditorium in team history.
Seven different Crunch players scored as the team clinched home ice for the first round of the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Erik Condra opened scoring in the first period before Matt Taormina added on in the middle frame. Tye McGinn kicked off the run in the third followed by Michael Bournival, Cory Conacher, Adam Erne and Jake Dotchin. The win advances Syracuse to 36-24-7-7 on the season and 6-4-1-0 in the 12-game season series against Utica.
Mike McKenna earned the win with a 23-save performance. Thatcher Demko turned aside 25-of-31 in net for the Comets. Syracuse went 2-for-7 on the power play and a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
The Crunch jumped out to an early lead just 1:20 into the first period. After skating back around the cage, McGinn turned and sent a feed into the slot for Condra to redirect on the backdoor. Matthew Peca picked up a point on the opening tally.
Utica evened the score with 5:30 remaining in the frame when Michael Carcone banked a shot off the back of McKenna from the right goal line. Borna Rendulic and Chad Billins recorded the helpers.
At the 8:31 mark of the middle stanza, the Crunch regained the lead. Conacher passed down to Yanni Gourde, who didn’t have a shot. He deked right around a defender and stick handled to maintain possession until Taormina came crashing in to net a centering pass.
The Comets knotted the game for a second time with 3:27 to play in the second. Wacey Hamilton put one on net as he cut across the crease from the right wing side. His attempt was blocked, but Cole Cassels followed behind to clean up the loose puck on the second chance opportunity. Andrey Pedan earned the secondary helper.
Syracuse potted five goals in the third period to take a 7-2 win over Utica. Just 2:03 into the frame, McGinn knocked in a waffling puck in front of the net on the power play. The assists went to Peca and Brett Howden. Four minutes later, Bournival doubled the lead with the help of Joel Vermin and Mathieu Broder.
Halfway through the period, Erne fed Conacher at the right post for a quick one-timer. Gourde tallied the secondary assist.
Erne added an empty-netter with the help of Conacher with 4:24 to play before Dotchin netted one from the right circle with 1:35 remaining in the game while on the man-advantage. Taormina and McKenna tallied points on the final marker.
The Crunch return to the War Memorial Arena to host the Binghamton Senators on Friday at 7 p.m.