Ceddy as a rock
|Game 5 |
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (theahl.com) ... The Syracuse Crunch were heading back to upstate New York after tonight's game regardless of the outcome.
Now, they're bringing the Grand Rapids Griffins with them.
Ondrej Palat had a goal and two assists and Cedrick Desjardins made 40 saves in his finest performance of these Calder Cup Playoffs as the Crunch defeated the Griffins, 5-2, in Game 5 of the Calder Cup Finals at a sold-out Van Andel Arena on Saturday.
Staving off elimination for a second consecutive night, the Crunch cut the Griffins' series lead to 3-2 with Game 6 (Tuesday at 7 ET) and Game 7 (if necessary, Thursday at 7 ET) back in Syracuse.
Just as they did in Game 4 on Friday, Syracuse got a power play in the first minute of the game but could not convert.
Then at 8:39, the Crunch grabbed a 1-0 lead when Palat forced a Grand Rapids turnover, brought the puck in front and slipped it past Petr Mrazek.
Syracuse doubled its lead to 2-0 as Brett Connolly redirected Tyler Johnson's shot home on a power play at 16:09 of the first.
Grand Rapids answered quickly as Triston Grant banged home a rebound at 17:38 for his second goal of the playoffs and of the series.
The Griffins owned a 13-9 edge in shots in the first period, but trailed 2-1 at the intermission.
Grand Rapids tied things up on a power play 5:36 into the second period, capitalizing on a 3-on-1 rush with Tomas Tatar burying a feed from Gustav Nyquist to make it 2-2.
The Griffins kept the pressure on Cedrick Desjardins and the Crunch, outshooting them 14-3 over the first 10:41 of the second period. But a Landon Ferraro tripping penalty sent Syracuse to the power play and Richard Panik scored his fourth goal of the Finals and eighth of the playoffs at 11:59 to put the Crunch up for good.
Grand Rapids outshot Syracuse 20-5 in the second period but still trailed 3-2, and the Crunch re-upped the lead to two goals when Johnson netted his first goal of the Finals just 36 seconds into the third.
Dan Sexton finished off the scoring with an empty-net goal at 17:16.
Desjardins, whose previous high this postseason had been 28 saves, stopped 12 shots in the first period, 19 in the second and nine more in the third for his first 40-save effort since he made 42 stops for Hamilton on Feb. 6.
Palat led the Crunch offense with three points, while Johnson notched a goal and an assist and Mark Barberio tallied two assists.
Mrazek finished the night with 17 saves on 21 shots for Grand Rapids.
NOTES: Syracuse, 2-for-23 on the power play in the first four games of the series, was 2-for-5 in Game 5... The Crunch are the first team in AHL history to win two road elimination games in the same Calder Cup Finals series, and the second to force a Game 6 after losing the first three games of a Final (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Chicago, 2008)... Syracuse finished 7-1 on the road this postseason; Grand Rapids went 7-6 at home... Including capacity crowds of 10,834 for Games 4 and 5, the three games at Van Andel Arena drew a total of 31,770 fans.
2013 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
E3-Syracuse Crunch vs. W3-Grand Rapids Griffins
Game 1 – Sat., June 8 – Grand Rapids 3, SYRACUSE 1
Game 2 – Sun., June 9 – Grand Rapids 6, SYRACUSE 4
Game 3 – Wed., June 12 – GRAND RAPIDS 4, Syracuse 2
Game 4 – Fri., June 14 – Syracuse 3, GRAND RAPIDS 2
Game 5 – Sat., June 15 – Syracuse 5, GRAND RAPIDS 2
Game 6 – Tue., June 18 – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 7 – Thu., June 20 – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern