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Early advantage slips away from Crunch in double-overtime defeat

The Lightning's AHL affiliate couldn't hold a second-period lead, dropping Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals to Grand Rapids

by Megan Cahill / Syracuse Crunch

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - The Syracuse Crunch head back home facing a 2-0 series deficit after a 6-5 double overtime loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins in Game 2 on Saturday night at Van Andel Arena.

Grand Rapids opened scoring in the first period before Yanni Gourde evened the game in the first period. The teams exchanged leads in a back-and-forth affair where eight Crunch players recorded a point, including a goal and an assist each from Erik Condra, Yanni Gourde and Michael Bournival.

Mike McKenna stopped 45-of-51 shots on goal in net for the Crunch for 87:02. Jared Coreau earned his second straight win with 50 saves. Syracuse converted on 1-of-6 power play opportunities, while Grand Rapids flaunted their strength on the man-advantage going 3-for-5.

The Griffins were first on the board for the second consecutive night. Martin Frk faked a shot from the slot and skated towards the right circle before firing one top shelf on the power play. Matthew Ford and Tomas Nosek recorded the assists.

Halfway through the frame, Gourde tied the game. He flew around a defender at the blue line and tried to send a centering feed for Adam Erne on the left wing. His feed got caught in traffic, but redirected into the net.

Grand Rapids went back on top at the 12:29 mark of the first period. Eric Tangradi threw a shot from a sharp angle on the left wing side. His attempt was stopped, but the rebound went out between the circles for Ben Street to score into an open net.

Syracuse netted two goals 1:11 apart in the second stanza to take their first and only lead of the game. At 4:30, Joel Vermin gained control of the puck when it kicked out from a battle at the boards. He deked around a defender and cut across the crease to beat Coreau. Condra then buried the rebound from Matthew Peca's right wing shot. Michael Bournival collected the secondary helper.

The Crunch were unable to hold their lead and the Griffins evened the score with 7:07 remaining in the second. Mitch Callahan crashed the net, but was stonewalled by McKenna. Evgeny Svechnikov followed behind and powered the rebound across the goal line.

The third period brought four goals before the teams went into an eventual overtime period. Just 24 seconds in, Grand Rapids regained the lead with another power-play marker. Nosek tipped Street's left point shot down low. Frk collected the secondary helper.

At 7:47, Gourde and Cory Conacher connected for Syracuse's first power-play goal. Gourde chipped a feed from down low for Conacher to one-time from his spot in the right circle. Adam Erne picked up an assist on the equalizer.

The Griffins went back on top with 6:24 remaining in the game. McKenna made the save on Nathan Paetsch's long-range shot, but the puck dropped down for Tyler Bertuzzi to sweep in from the post. Joe Hicketts earned a point on the play.

Syracuse found momentum in the final minutes and climbed back yet again with 4:45 remaining to force overtime. Jake Dotchin received the puck from Condra and threw it from the blue line for Bournival to punch through from the slot.

After 27:02 of overtime hockey, Street sealed victory for the Griffins with a shot from the slot that deflected off a defender's stick with the help of Tangradi.

The teams travel to Syracuse for Game 3 at the War Memorial Arena this Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Crunchables: Yanni Gourde is on a five-game point streak. He has nine points (3g, 6a) in that span and seven multi-point games in his last 13…Erik Condra has four multi-point games in the playoffs…Cory Conacher has 12 points (6g, 6a) in the last five games…The Crunch are 2-2 in overtime this postseason.

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