SPRINGFIELD, Mass (Falcons) - The Springfield Falcons announced that they will take on the Syracuse Crunch in the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs' Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The winner of the best-of-seven series will battle either the Providence Bruins or the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final.
The Falcons defeated the Manchester Monarchs in four games, while the Crunch swept the Portland Pirates in the best-of-five Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Springfield is the Eastern Conference's second seed, while Syracuse is the third seed.
Fans can purchase tickets for all four potential home games of the series now at the MassMutual Center Box Office, or through Ticketmaster.com. 10-Flex Playoff Packs, which allow fans to purchase 10 vouchers that are redeemable at any home game during the postseason, remain on sale by calling (413) 739-GOAL (4625). Unused vouchers can be returned to the Falcons' front office until Jun. 30 for a credit toward any 2013-14 ticket package.
The Falcons will host the Crunch at the MassMutual Center for Games 1 and 2 of the series on Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11. The clubs will move to Syracuse's War Memorial Arena for Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday, May 15 and Friday, May 17.
If necessary, Syracuse will host Game 5 on Saturday, May 18. Springfield would be at home for Games 6 and 7 on Tuesday, May 21 and Wednesday, May 22 should the series reach those points.
All games in the series will begin at 7 p.m.
Springfield and Syracuse split the two regular-season meetings in 2012-13. The Falcons beat the Crunch at the MassMutual Center, 5-3, on Feb. 1. Syracuse responded with a 3-0 win over Springfield at the War Memorial Arena on Feb. 23.
The Falcons are making their third Conference Semifinals appearance in franchise history, and first since 1997. In its victory over Manchester to begin the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs, Springfield became the third team in AHL history to win three games in a best-of-five series in overtime.
Springfield's matchup with Syracuse pits two of the league's most historic cities against each other. The Springfield Indians and Syracuse Stars were two of the AHL's original teams in the inaugural season of 1936-37. The city of Springfield has seen seven Calder Cup champions. Syracuse won the AHL's first-ever Calder Cup championship in 1937.
The Falcons took over as Columbus' AHL affiliate in 2010 after the Crunch served as the Blue Jackets' primary developmental squad for 10 seasons from 2000 through 2010. Nick Holden, who set a Falcons' single-season record with a +24 rating this year, skated his first two professional campaigns of 2008-09 and 2009-10 with the Crunch. He is the lone former Syracuse skater on Springfield's playoff roster. J.F. Jacques and Jared Nightingale, both with the Crunch this postseason, are former Falcons.
The Crunch are in their first season as the Tampa Bay Lightning's AHL affiliate and have 10 players on their postseason roster who saw action in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs with the champion Norfolk Admirals. Norfolk, Tampa Bay's AHL club at the time, won a professional hockey-record 28-consecutive games to close out the 2011-12 regular season before rolling to the Calder Cup championship.
This marks the first postseason meeting for the Falcons and Crunch, who both entered the AHL before the 1994-95 campaign.
Below is the series schedule:
Game 1 – Friday, May 10, 7 p.m. MassMutual Center
Game 2 – Saturday, May 11, 7 p.m., MassMutual Center
Game 3 – Wednesday, May 15, 7 p.m., War Memorial Arena
Game 4 – Friday, May 17, 7 p.m., War Memorial Arena
Game 5 - Saturday, May 18, 7 p.m., War Memorial Arena (if necessary)
Game 6 - Tuesday, May 21, 7 p.m., MassMutual Center (if necessary)
Game 7 - Wednesday, May 22, 7 p.m., MassMutual Center (if necessary)