- After two home losses Syracuse trails the Calder Cup Finals two games to none against Grand Rapids.
- Ondrej Palat's 21 points (5g, 16a) are most in the AHL this postseason and third in Crunch playoff history.
- In search of their first title, the Crunch play at Grand Rapids Wednesday, Friday and (if neccessary) Saturday.
Calder Cup finals
(3) Syracuse Crunch vs. Grand Rapids Griffins - GR 2, SYR 0
Game 1 - Sat., June 8 - Grand Rapids at Syracuse - L, 3-1
Game 2 - Sun., June 9 - Grand Rapids at Syracuse - L, 6-4
Game 3 - Wed., June 12 - Syracuse at Grand Rapids - 7:00 p.m.
Game 4 - Fri., June 14 - Syracuse at Grand Rapids - 7:00 p.m.
*Game 5 - Sat., June 15 - Syracuse at Grand Rapids - 7:00 p.m.
*Game 6 - Tue., June 18 - Grand Rapids at Syracuse - 7:00 p.m.
*Game 7 - Thu., June 20 - Grand Rapids at Syracuse - 7:00 p.m
Calder Cup Finals continue in Grand Rapids Wednesday
Suffering home losses on consecutive nights for the first time in 2012-13, Syracuse trails the Calder Cup Finals two games to none against the Western Conference champion Grand Rapids Griffins. After Grand Rapids victories of 3-1 and 6-4, the Griffins are 13-7 this postseason, while Syracuse is 11-3.
A combined total of 12,356 fans packed the War Memorial Saturday and Sunday for the first two Calder Cup Final games ever played at the 62-year-old arena. Not since 1938, when the Syracuse Stars lost to the Providence Reds at the Sate Fair Coliseum, has the AHL's championship series been contested in Central New York.
The series shifts to Grand Rapids, Mich., this week with Game 3 Wednesday, Game 4 Friday, and Game 5 (if neccessary) Saturday. The Crunch are 5-0 on the road this postseason and haven't suffered a road loss in regulation since Mar. 30 in Norfolk, a 2-0 shutout at the hands of the Admirals. The Crunch were 24-10-2-2 on the road in the regular season, including a franchise record nine straight victories away from home Oct. 19-Nov. 25. The Griffins are 6-4 at Van Andel Arena in the playoffs, while half of their 42 regular season wins were earned on home ice (21-12-3-2).
WEEK IN REVIEW
Calder Cup Finals Game 1: Syracuse takes Conference Final series lead
The Grand Rapids Griffins beat the Crunch 3-1 Saturday night at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals. The Griffins took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series in both franchises' first Calder Cup Finals series.
Riley Sheahan scored with 8:00 left in the third period on a slap shot from blue line, to give the Griffins a 2-0 lead, which stood up as the game-winning goal. The Crunch answered right back, as J.P. Cote’s seeing-eye shot from the point just 1:19 later pulled the Crunch within 2-1 with 6:41 remaining in the third.
The Crunch generated a few more chances, but ran out of time after Richard Panik took a penalty with 2:01 remaining, and the Griffins closed out the Crunch with a power-play, empty-net goal by Gustav Nyquist with 15 seconds left in the game.
The Griffins jumped out to an early 1-0 lead just 6:45 into the opening period as Mitch Callahan finished off a scramble in front of Cedrick Desjardins.
The Crunch went 0-for-5 on the power play while the Griffins went 1-for-4 on the power play, with the lone power-play goal being the empty-net goal. Petr Mrazek made 28 saves while Desjardins stopped 18 Griffins shots in front of a Crunch postseason record crowd of 6,333.
Calder Cup Finals Game 2: Syracuse takes Conference Final series lead
The Grand Rapids Griffins outslugged the Crunch 6-4 in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals Sunday night at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, the highest combined score for a Crunch game since an Oct. 20 6-5 ovetime win at Binghamton. The road victory gives the Griffins a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Calder Cup Finals, eliminating Syracuse's home ice advantage.
For the second straight game, the Griffins jumped out to a quick lead on the Crunch. Tomas Tatar slid the puck past Cedrick Desjardins just 4:29 into the opening period for a 1-0 Griffins lead. Triston Grant made it 2-0 later in the first period before Andrej Sustr finally got the Crunch on the scoreboard with his first goal of the playoffs, the first goal of his AHL playoff career.
The two sides continued trading tallies in a six-goal second period. Landon Ferraro started the middle frame's scoring, potting a rebound off a Jeff Hoggan breakaway chance at 6:23. Richard Panik pulled the Crunch within 3-2, cashing in on a power-play opportunity at 10:06. After Tomas Jurco made it 4-2 Griffins the Crunch scored back-to-back goals. Brett Connolly banged in a power-play goal to make it 4-3 then J.T. Brown rifled a shot past Petr Mrazek that was initially not awarded, but later ruled a goal upon video review, making it 4-4. The wild period finished with a power-play goal Francis Pare, just five seconds into a Tyler Johnson delay of game penalty.
In the third period, the Crunch outshot Grand Rapids 13-4, but the Griffins would score the only goal as Jan Mursak finished off a breakaway to make the final score 6-4. The Crunch finished 2-for-8 on the power play, improving on their previous 1-for-19 troubles, but failed to convert on a four minute high-sticking double minor while it was still a 5-4 game in the third period.
- With an assist in Game 2, Ondrej Palat regained sole possession of AHL postseason scoring lead, now at 21 points (5g, 16a) in 14 games. Palat is still third on the Crunch all-time postseason scoring list.
- Andrej Sustr’s goal in Game 2 was the first of his AHL playoff career. He has six points in the playoffs this season following two goals and one assist in eight regular season games with Syracuse.
- With an assist in Game 2, Matt Taormina became the sixth player on the Crunch with at least ten points during the playoffs. That ties him with Mark Barberio and the Griffins' Adam Almquist for second in playoff scoring by a defenseman, behind Grand Rapids’ Chad Billins.
- Taormina leads the AHL playoffs with a plus-17. J.P. Cote is second on the Crunch at plus-13, improving his career AHL postseason mark to plus-26 in 54 games.
- With two assists in Game 2, Tyler Johnson had his first multi-point game since May 11, Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Springfield.
- Richard Panik’s goal in Game 2 was his first since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Springfield on May 15.
- J.T. Wyman recorded an assist in Game 2 and now has points in three of his last four games (1g, 2a).
- With a goal in Game 2, J.T. Brown has a threep-game scoring streak for the first time in the playoffs. He had three different three-game scoring streaks during the regular season.
- Evan Oberg returned to the Crunch lineup Sunday for the first time since April 5 against the Hershey Bears. He didn’t play in the final seven regular season games or the first 13 playoff games. He was a minus-1 in Game 2.
- With a goal and an assist in Game 2, Brett Connolly had his first multi-point performance in this postseason. He is one of four Crunch players with ten or more points in the playoffs and trails only Odrej Palat and Tyler Johnson for the top scoring totals on the team.
- After being held scoreless during the first 11 playoff games, Philippe Paradis's assist in Game 2 gives him four points (3g, 1a) in the last three games. With Phil Paradis' assist, every Crunch forward (except Cedric Paquette, who has only played three games in the playoffs) has at least one assist.