SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Crunch let up the first goal and just couldn’t catch the Grand Rapids Griffins as they dropped Game 4, 3-2, Friday night at the War Memorial Arena.
After going down by three, the Crunch surged in small bursts to climb back within one off goals from Yanni Gourde and Michael Bournival, but failed to find the equalizer in their first home loss of the playoffs. Syracuse had a 10-0 home streak snap and now face a 3-1 deficit in the best-of-seven Calder Cup Finals series.
Mike McKenna made 32 saves in net for the Crunch, while Jared Coreau recorded the win stopping 31-of-33 between the pipes for the Griffins. Syracuse was unable to convert on five power play opportunities but went a perfect 7-for-7 on the penalty kill.
The Griffins broke the stalemate halfway through the first period. McKenna couldn’t cover a rebound in the crease, allowing Ben Street to capitalize and chip it in. Mitch Callahan and Eric Tangradi recorded the assists.
With 2:12 remaining in the opening frame, Grand Rapids took a 2-0 lead when Dan Renouf powered a shot from the left point.
Grand Rapids made it 3-0 during a 3-on-2 rush 10:33 into the middle stanza. Tangradi carried the puck into the zone down the left wing before dropping back a centering feed for Renouf to send home from the slot.
The Crunch finally solved Coreau at the 11:45 mark of the second. Cory Conacher fed Gourde from behind the cage for the forward to send home from the bottom of the right circle. Tye McGinn picked up the secondary helper. Gourde (4g, 8a) and Conacher (6g, 7a) are both on seven-game scoring streaks.
Syracuse carried momentum into the final frame and made it a one-goal game when Bournival crashed the net and threw the puck in 7:29 into the period with the help of and Despite numerous attempts, the team fell short in their comeback effort and suffered the loss.
The loss by the Crunch snapped a ten-game home playoff winning streak, tied for second in league history.
Should the Griffins win tonight, it will be their second Calder Cup Championship in franchise history. Their first came in 2013, when they defeated the Crunch 4 games to 2.