Well, ladies and gentlemen…the buzzer has sounded on the third and final period of play between the Syracuse Crunch and the Grand Rapids Griffins at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse. Here are some of my knee jerk reactions to the third period.
The Crunch started the period with a little under 4 minutes in power play time that was carried over from the previous period when Griffins defenseman Nathan Paetsch was assessed a double minor for High Sticking Ondrej Palat. However, the power play would be largely negated when Crunch RW Brett Connolly got called to the box for 2 minutes for Tripping.
Unfortunately, from that point on the Griffins would control the pace of this game.
At 17:47 in the period, Richard Panik was called to the penalty box for 2 minutes for Slashing. This put the Crunch back on the penalty kill for the 4th time of the night.
I think the proverbial nail in the coffin came when Griffins LW Tomas Tatar was able to convert the power play into an empty net goal, making the score 4-2 Griffins. If that was not bad enough, just 43 seconds later, the Griffins would find themselves with another empty net goal at the hands of Griffins center Joakim Andersson off of a pass from center Luke Glendening.
Don’t get me wrong. The Crunch did not lose this game due to a lack of effort. The team skated with passion, making every attempt to set up viable scoring opportunities and taking the puck to the net. Unfortunately, Griffins goaltender Petr Mrazek was just able to keep the pucks from going in between the pipes.
Could the Crunch’s losses early in the season had anything to do with the absence of defenseman Radko Gudas, who was injured late in the series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins? We may never know.
Even though the game did not turn out as those of us in the Bolts Nation would have liked, I still believe that this was a well fought series, and the Crunch deserve a lot of respect for the way that they were able to battle back and bring the series home to Syracuse.
The Syracuse Crunch is the first team in AHL history to have won two road elimination games in the same Calder Cup Finals. That says something about the team’s determination and tenacity.
Well, Bolts Nation…the buzzer has sounded for the final time this season for the Syracuse Crunch. Despite a well fought game, the Crunch have fallen to the Grand Rapids Griffins by a score of 5-2.
Never fear, Bolts Nation. The Syracuse Crunch will be back next season, and ready to take us all on another wild journey through the American Hockey League. I know I’ll be there to cheer for the boys in blue, including the Tampa Bay Lightning, next season.