SYRACUSE - The upside: Now the Grand Rapids Griffins have the opportunity to celebrate at home, and they have learned just how hard it is to close out when so much is at stake.
The Griffins return to Grand Rapids to host Game 6 of their Calder Cup final against the Crunch on Tuesday. The Griffins lead the series 3-2, having flubbed their first attempt at earning a fourth victory.
Little went right Saturday night in Syracuse: Detroit Red Wings goaltending prospect Jared Coreau was gone after the first period, which saw the Crunch score 17 seconds after the first puck drop, and four more times before the period was over. It marked the first time Coreau was not in net during the 14-4 run.
Wings prospect Tyler Bertuzzi got a misconduct penalty after an altercation in the second period. Bertuzzi’s line with Tomas Nosek and Martin Frk, so potent in the playoffs, was held without a point both Saturday and in Friday’s 3-2 victory.
The Griffins finished Game 5 with a 37-31 edge in shots, but the only one to score was Ben Street; it’s the first time the Griffins have been held to less than two goals in these playoffs. The power play went 0-for-5. The penalty kill was the only bright spot, as it held the Crunch without a goal during a full two-minute 5-on-3, and only allowed one goal on nine man advantages overall.
If needed, Game 7 is Wednesday, also at Van Andel Arena, where the Griffins are 9-0 this spring.
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