I'll admit up front that I don't have a whole lot of heart to put into this right now, but I did feel an entry was due.
With the Crunch's 4-3 OT loss to St. John's Saturday, it would appear my time here has pretty much come to an end. I've told you everything I can about the guys I've watched here the last two years. I hope I managed to forge a better connection between the NHL and the AHL, between the Ducks and their farm team, between the developed and the developing. You have some strong prospects coming down the pike. Never lose hope. I'm imagining a bright future for the organization!
I really want to thank Jen and the rest of the writers here at AC for welcoming me in, and for Arthur for inviting me along once MJ had to leave. I really enjoyed chatting with you all and I'll miss this community. I know I've said it before, but it absolutely bears repeating: the Ducks really have some of the best fans in the NHL. You all are knowledgeable, open to intelligent discussion even if it involves differing opinions, and you value the development potential the AHL brings protects. It really was a breath of fresh air coming here after dealing with Columbus Bluejackets fans for so long.
The Crunch guys fought hard, they really did. St. John's was just better. It was an even match, as it always seems to be with that group. We've faced Manitoba/St. John's all three times we've been in the playoffs during the eight years I've watched the Crunch, and all three matches have been incredibly close. Two out of three, they were the better team. It'll be our turn next time.
Some final numbers to leave you all with:
- Mark Bell led the team in scoring during the playoffs with 3 goals and 1 assist. He was a +2.
- Mathieu Carle was our top defensive scorer, with three assists. He ended the series at a -1.
- Emerson Etem was the hottest prospect, scoring two goals. Those two goals came during the Crunch's final effort Friday night.
Mat Clark was our best d-man statistically, with a +2 to end the series. He was also credited with a goal and an assist.
- Iiro Tarkki played the entire series. He ended with a 1-3 record, a 3.70 GAA and a .881 save percentage. Although he allowed 15 goals total, he made 111 saves over the four games.
I wish you all good luck in the future. I'm sure we'll cross paths again eventually. Crunch fans tend to keep tabs on players who make an impression, and there were quite a few of them this year. It's been fun, AC. Thanks so much again for having me.