The Syracuse Crunch avoided being swept out of the Calder Cup Final as Richard Panik's goal late in the second period Friday night lifted them to a 3-2 victory against the Grand Rapids Griffins in Game 4 of the American Hockey League's championship series.
Panik's deflection of Mark Barberio's point shot at 16:52 of the second period broke a 2-2 tie and spoiled the party for the sold-out crowd of 10,834 at Van Andel Arena. The Griffins, the AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, get another chance to wrap up the first championship in franchise history in front of their home fans on Saturday night.
The Griffins the lead again at 11:04 when Jan Mursak knocked in the rebound of Jeff Hoggan's shot for his 11th goal of the playoffs. The assist was Hoggan's fifth point in the last three games. The Crunch kept the deficit at one goal through 20 minutes by killing off overlapping penalties, including a 5-on-3 advantage for 59 seconds.
Syracuse, the top farm team of the Tampa Bay Lightning, killed off two more Grand Rapids power plays in the second period before Ondrej Palat's blast from the left circle beat Petr Mrazek at 14:01 to tie the game.
Desjardins robbed Andersson from point-blank range before Panik gave the Crunch the lead with his seventh goal of the playoffs.
The Griffins thought they had tied the game with 17.4 seconds left in regulation, but a video review confirmed that the puck did not cross the goal line.
Desjardins stopped 26 shots for Syracuse. Mrazek finished with 21 saves.