The Syracuse Crunch held off elimination with a 3-2 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins in Game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals tonight at Van Andel Arena.
The Griffins have a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and will host Game 5 Saturday, June 15 at 7 p.m.
A perfect outing by the Crunch penalty kill unit and a 26 save performance from Crunch netminder Cedrick Desjardins lifted the Crunch over the Griffins.
The Crunch and Griffins traded goals early in the first frame. Griffins center Joakim Andersson opened the scoring 3:37 into the period after a turnover at the blue line let him skate in alone on Desjardins. Brett Connolly responded beating Griffins goaltender Petr Mrazek with an unassisted breakaway goal at the 5:04 mark.
Jan Mursak gave the Griffins a 2-1 lead halfway through the second period. Mursak's slid the puck past Desjardins after Jeff Hogan threw the puck towards the goal. The secondary assist went to Luke Glendening.
The Crunch scored twice in the second half of the period to carry a 3-2 lead into the final frame. Ondrej Palat evened the score with a blast from the left circle at the 14:01 mark. The goal, his sixth of the playoffs was assisted by Richard Panik.
Panik picked up his second point of the night when he scored 16:52 into the second period. Mark Barberio's pass from the point found an open Panik who tapped the puck past Mrazek for the game winner.
With Mrazek pulled for an extra attacker the Griffins appeared to have tied the game with 17.4 seconds remaining after a scramble in front of Desjardins. A video review showed there was no goal and the Crunch held on for their first win of the series.
Crunchables: Brett Connolly's first period goal was his fifth of the playoffs…Ondrej Palat is the league's top post season scorer with 22 points in 16 playoff games…Tyler Johnson is third with 19 points