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Griffins take 2-0 series lead in Calder Cup Finals with double-OT Game 2 win


A packed house, $2 hot dogs and beers, numerous lead changes, 11 goals, double overtime, and a Grand Rapids victory on home ice. Not much more could have been asked for in game two of the Calder Cup Finals.

10,834 people filled the stands at Van Andel Arena for Saturday’s tilt, which saw the Grand Rapids Griffins take a 2-0 lead in the series by way of an exhilarating 6-5 win in double overtime.

1ST PERIOD

Grand Rapids struck first, when Martin Frk found twine with a wrist shot a the 5:27 mark of the first period on the power play. The lead was short-lived however, as Syracuse’s Yanni Gourde found the back of the net for the Crunch at 10:37.

A back-and-forth first period saw the Griffins regain the lead just under two minutes later when Ben Street buried a rebound to give Grand Rapids a 2-1 lead that they would take to the locker room after the first period. Frk’s goal was his fourth of the playoffs, while Street’s was his fifth.

2ND PERIOD

The second period was just as exciting as the first. Syracuse stormed out of the gates and jumped into the lead on goals from Joel Vermin and Eric Condra that came just 1:11 apart. Vermin’s goal came at the 4:30 mark.

After struggling to find the offensive zone for a decent stretch in the middle part of the period, the Griffins were able to tie it back up on yet another power play goal from Evgeni Svechnikov at 12:53. It was Svechnikov’s fifth of the playoffs. The 3-3 score remained until the second intermission.

3RD PERIOD

The Griffins managed to take two separate leads in the third period, although they would relinquish the lead both times. Tomas Nosek redirected a shot by Street into the net just 24 seconds into the period for his 10th of the playoffs, putting Grand Rapids back in the lead by a score of 4-3. Syracuse’s Cory Conacher then one-timed a shot past Griffins goaltender Jared Coreau at 7:47, tying the affair back up at four.

Tyler Bertuzzi chipped a rebound home at 13:36 of the period, and seemed to take the last bit of air out of the lungs of the Crunch. Then the unthinkable happened.

While scrambling to clear the puck from the crease, Grand Rapids defenseman Dylan McIlrath was called for closing his hand on the puck in the crease at 14:53, giving Syracuse a penalty shot. Byron Froese was chosen to take the penalty shot, which saw him deke to the backhand side and lift a shot wide of the goal. Just as Grand Rapids appeared to have momentum on their side, Syracuse tied the game with just only 22 seconds after the failed penalty shot on a Michael Bournival goal. At the end of regulation, shots were 40-39 in favor of Grand Rapids.

OVERTIME

The first overtime was absolutely dominated by Syracuse. Coreau made numerous saves on odd-man rushes and goal mouth rebounds, and kept his team in a game that seemed to be slipping away from them. A penalty was called on Street with 1:39 remaining in the extra session when he cleared a puck over the glass from his defensive zone.

After killing off the remainder of the penalty to start the second overtime, Grand Rapids took over. Street’s second of the game came at 7:02 of the second overtime period, vaulting the Griffins to a second victory in two night, and a commanding 2-0 series lead.

Both teams now get three days off as the series shifts over to Syracuse for the next three games (if the series should go that far). With Grand Rapids holding a 2-0 series lead, game five is still only considered as necessary. Game three is scheduled for Wednesday at 7pm EST. You can listen to game three, and all Griffins radio broadcasts, online at WOOD Radio 1300.

Written by Shae Brophy

Born and raised Michigander. Former mixed martial artist, currently attempting to figure out how to golf without embarrassing myself. Very passionate Michigan sports fan. Wolverines, Red Wings, Tigers, Pistons and Lions. Life is good as a fan of Michigan sports!

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