Petr Mrazek stopped 27 shots as the Grand Rapids Griffins opened the Calder Cup Final by defeating the Syracuse Crunch 3-1 Saturday night.
"When I'm busy, I like that, so I felt great today," Mrazek told Mlive.com. "Guys helped me stop a lot of chances and so that is important for us tonight."
Mitch Callahan's goal 6:45 into the game gave the visiting Griffins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, a 1-0 lead. Riley Sheahan, Detroit's first-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, doubled the lead when he beat Cedrick Desjardins for an unassisted goal at the 12-minute mark of the third period.
"We wanted to set the tone first and not really wait to see what they do," Callahan said. "We wanted to control the game and we wanted to dictate the outcome and not wait back and see what they would do first."
The Crunch, the Tampa Bay Lightning's AHL affiliate, got within 2-1 when Jean-Philippe Cote beat Mrazek 79 seconds later. But Syracuse's chances of getting the tying goal were damaged when Richard Panik was called for slashing with 2:01 remaining, and the Griffins iced the win when Gustav Nyquist scored a power-play goal into an empty net with 15 seconds remaining. Nyquist was one of three players sent by the parent Red Wings to the Griffins after Detroit was eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Game 2 in the best-of-7 series is Sunday in Syracuse.
The Griffins are trying to become the first Detroit affiliate to win the Calder Cup since the Adirondack Red Wings did it 21 years ago. Ten members of the Crunch were on last year's champion Norfolk Admirals, who swept the Toronto Marlies in the final.
Defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who was injured while with the Red Wings in the playoffs, returned and played a regular shift for Grand Rapids.