The Syracuse Crunch has fought their way through the final round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. After dropping the first two games of the series in front of their hometown crowd in Syracuse, and then the first game at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, the Crunch battled back in Games 4 and 5 defeating the Grand Rapids Griffins 3-2 and 5-2 respectively, forcing a Game 6 and bringing the series back to home ice at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse.
Their victory in Game 5 on Saturday was can largely be attributed to the stellar performance put up by Crunch goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, who stopped 40 of the 42 shots brought against him.
The Syracuse Crunch is the first team in AHL history to win two road elimination games in the same Calder Cup Finals.
Tonight, when the players walk into the War Memorial Arena, they will be facing down elimination once again; however, the Crunch are not intimidated.
After the win on Saturday in Grand Rapids, the players hit Twitter with their excitement.
It would seem that Crunch defenseman Matt Taormina shares Brett Connolly’s sentiment.
— Matt Taormina (@MATaormina) June 16, 2013
Radko Gudas has clearly embraced the “Don’t Let Us Win ___” theme that has all but taken over as the Syracuse Crunch’s Rally Cry.
— radko gudas (@radkogudas) June 16, 2013
In terms of firepower each side has its own advantages.
For the Crunch, you have Tyler Johnson who has 10 goals and 11 assists for a total of 21 points. Just behind him you have RW Richard Panik and LW Ondrej Palat. Panik has 8 goals and 5 assists, and Palat has 7 goals and 18 assists.
On the Griffins, you have LW Tomas Tatar who has 14 goals and 5 assists for a total of 19 points. On his tail is RW Jan Mursak and center Luke Glendening. Mursak has netted 11 goals and 6 assists, and Glendening 6 goals and 9 assists.
The Crunch have solid puck possession and an uncanny passing ability; all they have to do is get the puck past the goaltender. However, that may be easier said than done.
Griffins netminder Petr Mrazek has a Goals Allowed Average of 2.32 and a Save Percentage of .916 throughout the post season. On the other side of the ice, Desjardins has a Goals Allowed Average of 2.25 and a Save Percentage of .910.
Ultimately, this series is going to boil down to who wants the Cup more.
From what I can tell, not only do the players believe that they can do it, but the Crunch fans believe as well.
Do you believe that the Crunch have what it takes to stave off elimination and force a Game 7, or will the Griffins walk out of the War Memorial Arena with the Calder Cup?
I can tell you one thing for sure, I believe.