Syracuse Crunch

AHL Calder Cup Finals Game Night: 6-15-13 Crunch at Griffins

Syracuse gives themselves a chance.

SYR-5
GR-2

Grand Rapids Leads the Series 3-2

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 42 shots for the win. 40 saves as Grand Rapids threw the kitchen sink at Syracuse to try to avoid having to head back to New York.

First Period
SYR Palat, (7) , 8:39
SYR Connolly, (6) (Johnson, Barberio), 16:09 (PP)
GR Grant, (2) (Ferraro, Callahan), 17:38

Second Period
GR Tatar, (14) (Nyquist, Billins), 5:36 (PP)
SYR Panik, (8) (Barberio, Palat), 11:59 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Johnson, (10) (Palat, Taormina), 0:36
SYR Sexton, (6) (Namestnikov), 17:16 (EN)

Desjardins and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and second stars.

And, just like that, Syracuse has given itself an opportunity at something legendary. Headed west to Michigan their mission was to win 2 out of 3 to get things back to Syracuse with home ice. Things looked bleak as bleak can be down 3-0, but they ultimately accomplished their mission, and withstood an attempted haymaker from Grand Rapids tonight in Game Five to stay alive in the series. Now they have, potentially, 2 games at home to pull of what seemed fairly impossible 48 hours ago.

However, Syracuse can't confuse momentum for destiny. They need to show the maturity to understand that all they've accomplished in the past 2 nights was to book their tickets to a Game Six that for many of them is going to be some of the toughest, most intense hockey of their career. Grand Rapids actually probably has less pressure on them in Game Six than they did in Game Five, because the chance to clinch at home is written off and they can fall back on the fact that they haven't lost a game yet in Syracuse's barn. The Crunch need to understand that. Game Six is going to be a war. Hopefully, it's a war where Syracuse's shorter path to the Finals starts to pay some dividends. Grand Rapids played a 7 game series in the Western Conference Finals after going 6 games with the Marlies and the full 5 against the Aeros. Syracuse has to hope that as the battle becomes more pitched in Game Six, they have a little more left in the tank than Grand Rapids does. But, they can't rely on that to just kick in automatically. They have to push that much harder now to make it happen. If they do, there's a good chance they'll get to Game Seven.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Calder Cup Finals Game Night: 6-14-13 Crunch at Griffins

Syracuse shows some pride.

SYR-3
GR-2

Grand Rapids Leads the Series 3-1

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the victory.

First Period
GR Andersson, (2) (Evans, Billins), 3:37
SYR Connolly, (5) , 5:04
GR Mursak, (11) (Hoggan, Glendening), 11:04

Second Period
SYR Palat, (6) (Panik), 14:01
SYR Panik, (7) (Barberio, Cote), 16:52

Third Period
NO SCORING

Richard Panik and Ondrej Palat were the game's first and second stars. Palat leads all AHL'ers in playoff scoring.

Certainly Syracuse is still in horrible shape in the series down 3-1 and the odds are still long as long can be, but by winning tonight Syracuse places some pressure on Grand Rapids to finish up this series at home in Game Five before the scene shifts back to Syracuse. Because of that, you can expect the Griffins' best shot tomorrow, but if Syracuse can withstand that and pull out a win they'll actually hold home ice advantage with a chance to make a minor miracle happen. I'd say they owe it to themselves and to their fans back in upstate New York to make that happen.

C'mon boys. Give yourselves an opportunity to do something legendary.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Calder Cup Finals Game Night: 6-12-13 Crunch at Griffins

Bleakness.

SYR-2
GR-4

Grand Rapids Leads the Series 3-0

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 4 goals on 29 shots for the loss. Maddeningly uneven play from Cedrick. He'll look brilliant on a breakaway one minute and allow a wraparound or bad angle goal the next.

First Period
SYR Panik, (6) (Johnson, Cote), 10:21

Second Period
GR Tatar, (13) (Paetsch), 2:09
GR Glendening, (6) (DeKeyser, Mursak), 4:53
SYR Sexton, (5) (Cote), 9:56

Third Period
GR Mursak, (10) (Hoggan), 15:11
GR Hoggan, (5) , 17:32

The bottom just fell out in the Third Period. Syracuse looked the better team through 40 minutes and had the balance of the zone time, but they looked completely outclassed in the final frame. And Grand Rapids has been far better at converting their chances. Guys like Tyler Johnson and J.T. Brown had quality chances in tonight's game, but it appears Mrazek may be in their heads because they're cutting their chances too fine rather than trying to get some greasy goals. It's a recipe for losing and going down 0-3 in a series.

Just win a game. One game. That's all Syracuse can focus on right now. They've got nothing else at this point.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Wild Second Period Sinks Crunch, Griffins Take 2-0 Lead in Finals


By Jeremy Houghtaling

It was an emotional chain of events that rival most blockbusters.

After demanding a review, the Syracuse Crunch were credited with the game-tying goal. Moments later -- 26 seconds on the amended scoresheet despite more than two minutes mistakenly being added to the clock -- the Grand Rapids Griffins scored a power play goal that stood as the game-winner.

While the Griffins' Francis Pare provided the movie-like twist with a goal in the closing minutes of the six-goal, 20-plus minute second period, Jan Mursak gave the curtain call with a breakaway goal late in the third, as the Griffins topped the Crunch 6-4 in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Sunday.

"To me, that was the game," said Crunch coach Rob Zettler of the turn of events in the second. "That was huge. We had a lot of momentum, the building was rocking, fans were into it, the players were into it. There was a lot of excitement on the bench."

Syracuse trails the series 2-0, as it travels to Grand Rapids Wednesday for Game 3. Game 4 is set for Friday.

AHL Calder Cup Finals Game Night: 6-9-13 Griffins at Crunch

Trouble.

GR-6
SYR-4

Grand Rapids Leads the Series 2-0

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 6 goals on 29 shots for the loss. I don't care how you spin that. That's an ugly stat line. Desjardins suffered tonight from going long stretches without seeing any shots and then suddenly having to face a 10 bell scoring chance, like Mursak's game sealing breakaway.

First Period
GR Tatar, (12) (Evans, Nyquist), 4:29
GR Grant, (1) (Ferraro), 11:31
SYR Sustr, (1) (Taormina, Paradis), 14:03

Second Period
GR Ferraro, (5) (Hoggan, Sheahan), 6:23
SYR Panik, (5) (Connolly, Johnson), 10:06 (PP)
GR Jurco, (8) (Sheahan), 12:09 (PP)
SYR Connolly, (4) (Johnson, Palat), 16:12 (PP)
SYR Brown, (4) (Wyman), 18:23
GR Pare, (3) (Ferraro, Paetsch), 18:49 (PP)

Third Period
GR Mursak, (9) (Hoggan, Paetsch), 14:56

Brett Connolly was the game's third star.

I think these past two games put an exclamation mark on the impact Radko Gudas being absent from the lineup hurts the Syracuse Crunch. They're not giving up huge amounts of zone time or shots, but the number of odd man rushes is out of control, and the team misses its best defenseman. Clearly.

The AHL's top officials should seriously consider whether they want the players or the referees to decide their champion. The degree to which the referees have had an impact so far in this serious has been stunning for a professional league.

Now these players have to decide how much their legacy means to them. A comeback victory against the odds with 3 in a row in Grand Rapids would only add to this group's legend as one of the best assemblages of players in AHL history. Going out with a whimper makes the team look more like a one year, Norfolk wonder. They've worked too hard, I think, to let it go down like that, though. Game Three is Wednesday.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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