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Crunch extend series, beat Griffins 3-2

Saturday, 06.15.2013 / 1:45 AM ET / Recap
By Randy Cleves  - Griffins Senior Director of Public Relations
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Crunch extend series, beat Griffins 3-2
Griffins forward Jan Mursak skates around the Syracuse net with Crunch forward Ondrej Palat in pursuit in Game 4 on Friday. (Photo by Mark Newman/Grand Rapids Griffins)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Syracuse Crunch lifted themselves off the mat and extended the Calder Cup finals with a 3-2 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins in Game 4 at Van Andel Arena on Friday.

The Griffins held a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes, but second-period tallies by Ondrej Palat and Richard Panik forced a Game 5 that will be played on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena.

The teams traded breakaway goals in the early going, starting when Joakim Andersson was sprung by a Brennan Evans pass, skated in and ripped a wrist shot past Cedrick Desjardins’ blocker 3:37 into the game. Just 1:27 later, after a Francis Pare pass off the boards from deep in the Syracuse zone got past Brian Lashoff at the left point, Brett Connolly chased down the errant puck in the neutral zone, kept a step on a defender and slipped a shot between Petr Mrazek’s pads.

The Griffins took another lead exactly six minutes later, as Jan Mursak crashed the net to pound home a rebound for his 11th goal of the postseason, making it 2-1 with 8:56 left in the period. Grand Rapids had two more opportunities to add to its advantage shortly thereafter, but the Crunch successfully killed off 59 seconds of a 5-on-3 Griffins power play before Desjardins robbed Pare on a wide-open chance at the 14:30 mark.

Syracuse forged another tie on the first goal of the series from its leading playoff scorer, Palat, who blistered a slap shot from the top of the left circle that stayed along the ice and beat Mrazek 14:01 into the second. Desjardins then kept it a 2-2 contest 30 seconds later by sticking out his right pad to stone a point-blank try by Andersson.

The Crunch took just their second lead of the series at 16:52 when Panik redirected a centering feed from Mark Barberio, then got a huge break when Gustav Nyquist received a five-minute spearing penalty and a game misconduct with 22 seconds left before intermission. The Griffins killed off the first 2:34 of the penalty that carried over into the third period until Andrej Sustr was sent off for tripping, evening the sides at four skaters apiece.

Jeff Hoggan nearly capitalized on a misplay and turnover by Desjardins with nine minutes remaining, but his try from the doorstep went just wide of the net. The Griffins were presented with a power play at the 15:27 mark thanks to a hooking call on Barberio, but Syracuse’s penalty-killing unit made it 5-for-5 on the night and the Crunch held on for the victory.

Mrazek finished with 21 saves, while Desjardins stopped 26 for the win.

GAME NOTES: The sellout crowd of 10,834 was the largest in the Griffins’ AHL playoff history and tied the attendance for their second playoff game ever, an IHL Turner Cup playoff contest on April 26, 1997. … The 1-0 lead surrendered by Syracuse in Game 3 still stands as the only lead the Crunch have lost during these playoffs. … In its history, Grand Rapids won all four previous best-of-seven series in which it held a 3-1 lead.

THREE STARS: 1. Richard Panik, SYR (GWG, assist); 2. Ondrej Palat, SYR (goal); 3. Jan Mursak, GRG (goal).

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 52 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 53 9 27 3 36
T. Tatar 52 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 53 14 15 -2 29
P. Datsyuk 38 8 20 12 28
J. Abdelkader 53 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 39 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 49 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 20 10 4 .933 1.97
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89