The Syracuse Crunch defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins 5-2 tonight to force the 2013 Calder Cup Finals to a Game Six.
The Griffins hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, but tonight’s win forces the series back to Syracuse for a Game 6 on Tuesday, June18 at the War Memorial.
Despite being out shot 42-22 Crunch netminder Cedrick Desjardins backstopped the Crunch to victory with 40 save performance.
Ondrej Palat, the league’s post season scoring leader, gave the Crunch a 1-0 lead with an unassisted tally 8:39 into the opening frame. Palat intercepted a pass from Griffins defender Danny DeKeyser and beat Griffins netminder Petr Mrazek on the near side.
Brett Connolly doubled the Crunch lead 16:09 into the first while on the power-play. Connolly tapped a Tyler Johnson feed from the left wing circle past Mrazek to give the Crunch a 2-0 edge.
Grand Rapids got on the scoreboard less than a minute later with a goal from Triston Grant. Desjardins blocked a Landon Ferraro shot and the Crunch were unable to clear the puck before Grant scored on the rebound.
The Griffins power play struck 5:36 into the second frame to tie the game 2-2. Tomas Tatar beat Desjardins at the end of a three-on-one odd man rush. Assists went to Gustav Nyquist and Chad Billins.
Richard Panik regained the Crunch’s lead with their second power-play tally of the game. Mark Barberio got his second assist of the night by setting up Panik at the top of the right circle. Palat also picked up his second point of the game with the secondary assist.
The Crunch extended their lead to 4-2 36 seconds into the third period. AHL MVP Tyler Johnson earned his first goal of the Finals by finishing the rebound of a Palat shot. Dan Sexton sealed the game with an empty-net goal at the 17:16 mark of the third period.
Tickets for Game 6 of the 2013 Calder Cup Finals are on sale now. They can be purchased by calling 315-473-4444 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com.
Richard Panik has a goal in four consecutive games… June 15 matches the latest calendar date ever for an AHL game…Mark Barberio leads all defenseman in post season scoring with 15 points in 17 games…With 3 points tonight Ondrej Palat has had eight multi-point games this post season…The 20 shots allowed in the second period is a season high for the Crunch…Defenseman Radko Gudas missed his fifth consecutive game due to injury…