Dan Renouf was the unlikely offensive hero as Grand Rapids moved to within one win of a championship with a 3-2 victory over Syracuse in Game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals on Friday night.
Holding a 3-1 series lead, the Griffins can capture their second Calder Cup in five years with another win in Game 5 on Saturday night in Syracuse (7 p.m. ET, AHL Live, SiriusXM 91).
Renouf, a rookie defenseman out of the University of Maine, scored twice in Game 4 as the Griffins snapped the Crunch's 10-game home winning streak in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena.
Grand Rapids weathered an early Syracuse storm - the Crunch had a 6-1 lead in shots just over three minutes into the game - and got on the board first at the 10:00 mark of the opening period when Ben Street knocked in a rebound for his third goal of the series and seventh of the postseason.
The Griffins doubled their lead with 2:12 left in the first when Renouf intercepted a clearing attempt at the left point and fired a long shot past Mike McKenna (32 saves). It was Renouf's first goal of the playoffs and first in his last 31 games.
Renouf made it 3-0 for the Griffins at 10:33 of the second period, trailing on an odd-man rush and snapping a shot from the hash marks past McKenna. Renouf's second goal of the night came after he had scored once in his previous 54 contests.
The Crunch finally got on the board with 8:15 remaining in the middle period as Yanni Gourde beat Jared Coreau (31 saves) from in close for his second goal of the Finals and seventh of the playoffs.
Syracuse closed to within 3-2 with 12:31 left in regulation as Michael Bournival raced past a Griffins defender to get to a loose puck and chip a shot past Coreau for his second goal of the series and eighth of the postseason.
The Crunch pressed for the tie, killing off a 5-on-3 Griffins power play late before picking up their own man advantage and skating 6-on-4 in the game's final minute. But Grand Rapids prevailed, and now sits on the brink of a title.
NOTES: This was Syracuse's first regulation loss at home since Mar. 24, a 5-1 defeat vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton… The Crunch had 14 wins and two shootout loss in theior previous 16 on home ice… Grand Rapids has still not lost back-to-back games since Apr. 8-9, and is now 14-3 this postseason… The Griffins were 0-for-7 on the power play, while the Crunch were 0-for-5… Attendance was 6,523 - the largest for a game at the War Memorial Arena since Mar. 22, 1997 (6,541 vs. Rochester).
2017 Calder Cup Finals - Series "O" (best-of-7)
Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Syracuse Crunch | Finals Infographic
Game 1 - Fri., June 2 - GRAND RAPIDS 3, Syracuse 2 | Recap/Highlights
Game 2 - Sat., June 3 - GRAND RAPIDS 6, Syracuse 5 (2OT) | Recap/Highlights
Game 3 - Wed., June 7 - SYRACUSE 5, Grand Rapids 3 | Recap/Highlights
Game 4 - Fri., June 9 - Grand Rapids 3, SYRACUSE 2
Game 5 - Sat., June 10 - Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 6 - Tue., June 13 - Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 7 - Wed., June 14 - Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern