Griffins win Game 2 thriller in 2OT

Photo: Mark Newman

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. ( … Two down, two to go.

Ben Street scored his second goal of the night with 7:02 gone in the second overtime period to give Grand Rapids a thrilling 6-5 victory over Syracuse in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals at a sold-out Van Andel Arena on Saturday night.

With the Griffins up two games to none after a pair of nail-biters on home ice, the best-of-seven series now shifts to central New York with Game 3 set for Wednesday night (7 p.m. ET, AHL Live, SiriusXM 91).

Street added an assist for a three-point night, Martin Frk added a goal and two assists and Jared Coreau (13-2) made 21 of his 50 saves during sudden-death as Grand Rapids remained perfect at home this postseason.

The Griffins opened the Game 2 scoring at 5:27 of the first period with a power-play goal as Frk picked the top corner with a laser from the right-wing faceoff dot, his fourth goal of the playoffs.

Syracuse answered at 10:37 as Yanni Gourde netted his sixth goal of the postseason, skating down the right wing and chipping the puck past Coreau.

Street put the Griffins back up at 12:29 with his fifth goal of the playoffs, burying a rebound into an open cage after Mike McKenna‘s initial save off an Eric Tangradi shot.

Grand Rapids carried the 2-1 lead into the second period but the Crunch tied it up again at at the 4:30 mark when Joel Vermin got around a defender and went backhand-to-forehand before slipping a shot past Coreau for his second goal of the series and seventh of the playoffs.

Just 71 seconds later, the Crunch took their first lead of Game 2 as captain Erik Condra drove to the net and put in the rebound of Matthew Peca‘s shot at 5:41.

The Griffins made it 3-3 with another power-play goal at 12:53. Frk sprung Mitch Callahan into the offensive zone with a long outlet pass, and Evgeny Svechnikov knocked in a rebound for his fifth goal of the playoffs.

Game 1 hero Tomas Nosek gave Grand Rapids a 4-3 lead just 24 seconds into the third, deflecting a shot by Street past McKenna for his 10th goal of the playoffs.

But Syracuse scored its first power-play goal in seven tries this series to tie it at 4-4 with 12:13 remaining, as Cory Conacher one-timed a feed from Gourde for his 10th postseason goal, re-tying Nosek for the league lead.

Tyler Bertuzzi gave Grand Rapids its fourth one-goal lead of the night with 6:24 to go, finishing a barrage of Griffins shots with a rocket from the left-wing dot, his seventh goal of the playoffs.

Byron Froese missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot with 5:07 to go, but the Crunch got the equalizer 22 seconds after when Michael Bournival scored his seventh of the playoffs.

Syracuse had several great chances in overtime, including a power play that spanned the two extra periods, but leave West Michigan without a win.

McKenna (11-7) made 45 saves on the night.

NOTES: Shots on goal were 55-51 in favor of Syracuse… With 11 goals scored, Game 2 was the highest-scoring Calder Cup Finals game since Game 2 of the 2004 series, an 8-4 win by Milwaukee over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton… This was the first double-overtime game in the Calder Cup Finals since 2005, when Patrick Sharp gave Philadelphia a 2-1 win over Chicago in Game 2 of that series… Attendance was 10,834, the Griffins’ first sellout of the postseason… Grand Rapids’ three power-play goals tied a franchise record for a single playoff game… Froese’s penalty shot was the first in a Finals game since 2009 (Manitoba’s Matt Pope vs. Hershey’s Michal Neuvirth)… The Griffins improved to 9-0 when scoring the game’s first goal, and 9-0 at home… The Crunch, 2-7 on the road in the playoffs, will take their own nine-game home winning streak into Game 3 on Wednesday.

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)
Game 3 – Wed., June 7 – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7:00
Game 4 – Fri., June 9 – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7:00
*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