SYRACUSE, N.Y. (theahl.com) … The 2013 Calder Cup Finals opened with a hard-fought battle in front of a raucous crowd, but the Grand Rapids Griffins disappointed the home fans with a 3-1 victory over the Syracuse Crunch in Game 1 on Saturday night.
A standing-room-only crowd of 6,333 packed the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena for the first Finals game in Syracuse since 1938.
Syracuse had an apparent goal waved off with 1:02 left in the second period after a Crunch player was in the crease, and the Griffins took their 1-0 lead into the locker room for the second intermission.
Riley Sheahan gave the Griffins some breathing room with exactly 8:00 left in the third period as he stepped across the blue line and fired a 40-foot laser past Desjardins to make it 2-0 in favor of the Western Conference champions.
Syracuse answered 1:19 later when Jean-Philippe Cote sent a wrister from the high slot over the blocker of Mrazek, cutting the deficit to 2-1. It was Cote’s second goal in 53 career Calder Cup Playoff games, and was the first goal allowed by Mrazek on the road in his last 214:27 of play.
Gustav Nyquist‘s empty-net goal with 14.7 seconds remaining iced the win for the Griffins.
Mrazek (12-7) made 28 saves on the night for Grand Rapids, while Desjardins (11-2) stopped 18 of 20 shots for Syracuse, which also lost Game 1 of their conference final series with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before winning four straight.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven AHL championship series is set for Sunday evening in Syracuse (6 p.m. ET, watch free on AHL Live).
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 at Syracuse, 6:00
Game 3 – Wed., June 12 – Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 4 – Fri., June 14 – Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 15 – Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*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