Well, Bolts Nation…it was definitely a wild ride. The Syracuse Crunch fought long and hard, not only throughout the post season, but the regular season as well. Unfortunately, it was not quite enough to defeat the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Crunch fell 5-2 in Game 6 of the Final Round, thus ending their bid for the 2013 Calder Cup Championship.
The Crunch came out of the tunnel with a bang. They skated hard, controlled the puck, and generated genuine scoring opportunities for themselves. In the final minutes of the first period, they would draw first blood. Crunch RW Richard Panik was able to fire one past Griffins goaltender Petr Mrazek with assists from defenseman Matt Taormina and LW Ondrej Palat.
Unfortunately for the Crunch, the second period of play was all about the Griffins.
The Griffins, American Hockey League affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, scored twice during that period. First was at the hands of Griffins RW Mitch Callahan, and then once more by LW Tomas Tatar; this time on the power play.
This put the Crunch down 2-1 at the end of the second period.
The third period started out strong. At 5:14, after a flurry of offense from the Crunch, rookie defenseman Andrej Sustr fires one from the blue line right past Mrazek, making it a tie game.
The Griffins battled back, and at 9:54, Griffins defenseman Brennan Evans was able to get one past Desjardins and put the Griffins back on top.
The proverbial “nail in the coffin” came in the last minute of play when Griffins LW Tomas Tatar was able to find an empty net on a power play, and then 44 seconds later, Griffins center Joakim Andersson would find the same empty net, making the score 5-2 Griffins.
Silly penalties seemed to cost the Crunch big in Game 6 of this series. While there were only 5 infractions by Syracuse in this encounter, two of those resulted in PP goals for Grand Rapids.
While a loss makes everything seem like gloom and doom, there are some good things that have come out of this series.
One of those was the return of Crunch defenseman Radko Gudas. Gudas had missed 5 of the 6 games in the series against Grand Rapids due to an injury he sustained during the series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the previous round. Crunch fans everywhere, including myself, were ecstatic to see our favorite bearded defenseman back out on the ice.
No matter the outcome, the Syracuse Crunch put up an amazing effort in the Final Round of the Calder Cup Championship. After dropping the first three games of the series, and being on the brink of elimination, the Crunch dug deep to win the next two games and bring the series back to their hometown crowd.
While they may not have raised the cup up high, those of us here in the Bolts Nation are still incredibly proud of our team. They gave us a tremendous regular season that included Crunch center Tyler Johnson leading the AHL is goals, and Brett Connolly being in third place in the league in the same category. In the post season, they gave us the same reasons to cheer. During the post season, Crunch LW Ondrej Palat lead the AHL in points with 26. Not too far behind him, tied with Griffins LW Tomas Tatar for second, was Tyler Johnson with 21.
As I said before, no matter what the outcome, we are still incredibly proud of the our team and the accomplishments they made this season.
We here at Bolts By The Bay would like to congratulate the Grand Rapids Griffins and their parent team, the Detroit Red Wings, on their win last night and becoming the 2013 Calder Cup Champions. It was an amazing series. I, for one, cannot wait to do it again next year.