| Griffins Take 2-0 Series Lead With 6-5 Double Overtime Win|
Street puts Griffins in command with overtime game winner...
By Jason Kasiorek
Jun 3, 2017
Ben Street brought the house down with his double-overtime game winner, giving the Griffins a commanding 2-0 series lead in the best of seven Calder Cup Finals over the visiting Syracuse Crunch. In a game which saw both teams score early and often, the Griffins were able to keep up their torrid offensive production on home ice, scoring 6 goals to keep their 9 game average just shy of 5 per game. In addition to Street's two goals, Grand Rapids also got scoring from Marin Frk (4), Evgeny Svechnikov (5), Tomas Nosek (10) and Tyler Bertuzzi (7). Jared Coreau earned his 13th win of the postseason, stopping 50 of 55 shots, including a late third period penalty shot.
Griffins down a man early, but Conacher hauled down Matt Ford to even things up at 4-on-4 for a minute and a half and then a short GR powerplay. Martin Frk capitalized on the man-advantage, skated into the circle, found a seam and fired a laser into the net behind McKenna. Good job by Dan Renouf to hold the puck in and get it to the net for what looked to be a great chance, but Evgeny Svechnikov was tied up and couldn't get wood on it. The puck went the other way and Robbie Russo couldn't tie up his man, allowing two shots on net, the first one hit him, and the second was batted out of the air and into the net behind Coreau to knot the score at one. The Griffins got it right back on a play by Eric Tangradi showing great patience at the side of the net before finding Ben Street in the slot who burned it into the empty side of the net to restore the lead. Matt Lorito streaked down the ice and in on net, but was hooked down, setting up a late period powerplay. Frk negated the powerplay just 6 seconds in with a head hit on a Syracuse player along the boards. Grand Rapids caught a break when Jared Coreau made a stop and the rebound lay next to him in the crease. He just noticed it and scooped it up before Gourde could push it in. Shots on goal: GR 12 - Syr 12.
Tomas Nosek took an elbowing penalty right off the faceoff, leaving the Griffins short a man. Colin Campbell and Dominic Turgeon generated a couple of dangerous shorthanded scoring chances and while keeping the puck deep for half the penalty kill. The puck took a bad bounce and went down the ice towards the Griffins zone. Frk rode the first Crunch player out of the play, but the second walked around Paetsch and snapped a shot past Coreau, stick side, to tie the score again. Nosek working hard around the net, tried a wraparound, but McKenna just closed off the post. The Griffins defense got caught running around a bit and hung Coreau out to dry. He stopped the first shot but had no chance on the rebound by Condra who was all alone in front. Griffins two-on-one and Criscuolo made a nice pass across to Lorito who fired a shot into McKenna. Martin Frk with an other stellar play firing a bullet the length of the ice through traffic to Callahan at the line with speed for an on-side pass. Callahan went in on McKenna made a move and hit McKenna. Svechnikov right behind him picked up the rebound and and buried it. Grand Rapids pressuring the net in waves, trying to regain the lead.Callahan and Tangradi taking turns sending the puck behind the net to the other for multiple attempts to stuff it past McKenna. McIlrath drilled Koekkoek into the end boards with a ferocious hit. Tangradi with some jump started a two-on-one but was hooked from behind to give the Griffins another powerplay. Shots on goal: GR 15 - Syr 7.
The penalty at the end of the second carried over into the start of third, where Tomas Nosek took advantage of it. Nosek fought his way into the front of net and tipped a long shot from Street past McKenna to push the score to 4-3. Midway through the period, Conacher got open on the powerplay, snuck in back door and converted a pass from Gourde for his 10th of the playoffs. Tangradi smoked Dotchin into the end-boards and he went down and stayed down for a while while play continued. He had to be attended to by the trainer and was helped off the ice, but would eventually return to the game. Bertuzzi with a great play around the net to generate a couple of scoring chances. He was eventually Johnny on the spot, picked up a rebound and roofed it from the edge of the paint for a 5-4 lead with six minutes and change remaining. Scramble in front and apparently a Griffin (McIlrath) covered the puck in the crease - leading to a Crunch penalty shot. Froese came in on Coreau, made a little head and shoulders fake - and then missed the net. Just to keep things exciting, the Crunch tied things up late in the period on a bang-bang passing play, Bournival deflected a shot out of midair in over Coreau to knot the score at six. Shots on goal: GR 8 - Syr 15.
Mitch Callahan with a shot from the line that McKenna caught. Big blocked shot by Renouf and then another Bertuzzi. Chance by Tangradi with a wraparound and then Callahan jamming away at it in front. The Griffins are holding on for dear life and look completely gassed. No offense and having a hard time even clearing the zone. Street inadvertently cleared the puck over the glass and went to the box for a late delay of game penalty. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Syr 16.
GR killed off the penalty and seemed to draw some life from the kill. Street with a rush and a shot that McKenna just covered up as Callahan arrived to knock it in. Frk with speed arrived at the net just as a dump-in rebounded off the end boards, and he had a quick redirect right at the side of the net. Coreau with a huge stop as Syracuse trying to turn the pressure back up. Criscuolo in and forced a shot through that hit McKenna and stayed out. Griffins forced a turnover at the line and Tangradi shot down the wing before hitting Street with a pass. Street squared up and sent a shot past McKenna opposite side for the game winner 7:02 into the second overtime. Grand Rapids takes a 2-0 series lead on a 6-5 2OT win over the Syracuse Crunch. Shots on goal: GR 5 - Syr 5. For the Game: GR 51 - Syr 55.
12 forwards - 6 defense
Bertuzzi - Nosek - Frk
Tangradi - Street - Callahan
Svechnikov - Criscuolo - Lorito
Ford - Turgeon - Campbell
Lashoff - Russo
Paetsch - Hicketts
Renouf - McIlrath
#11 Cleary - Veteran
Ford - Nosek - Lorito
Frk - Street
Tangradi - Criscuolo/Callahan - Svechnikov
Bertuzzi - Russo
Turgeon - Campbell
Lashoff - Paetsch
Ford - Nosek
Renouf - McIlrath
What a recovery from the first OT to the second. The Griffins looked like they were dead on their feet for most of the first OT and just barely holding on. Credit Campbell and Turgeon and their incredible work on the PK for bringing life back to the Griffins and allowing them to win a very close and highly contested game.
The Griffins were still guilty of way to many turnovers, though the Crunch may have had something to do with that as they seem to know what we are going to do before we do it quite a bit of the time. The Griffins Offense bailed them out again as they have averaged just shy of five goals per game at home during the nine games (undefeated) so far of the playoffs. The powerplay also clicked for 3 goals on 5 chances, a small fraction might I add of the infractions that should have been called as Syracuse was allowed to get away with a lot again tonight.
Already gave a shout out to Campbell and Turgeon, but that third line with Ford has been incredible during the post-season. They have created havoc for the crunch with their ability to create something out of nothing and create turnovers in the offensive and neutral zones. Campbell in particular uses his size and speed to surprise people and is a pain in the butt to play against. It is only through bad puck luck that he doesn't have a couple of goals.
Tangradi, Street and Callahan accounted for 18 shots on goal and really worked hard around the net, taking a lot of punishment to create scoring chances. Svechnikov also gets a nod for a strong game offensively and looks to have calmed down from his earlier playoff jitters. On the backend, Joe Hicketts had a standout performance and was noticeable for the right reasons all game. He showed off his masterful knack for knocking down clearing attempts at the line and sending them back in and really frustrated the Crunch. He brought his physical game and jumped up into the play several times as well. He just looked like he was in the right place at the right time all night.