Hoggan Leads Griffins to 4-2 Win Over Crunch|
Grand Rapids takes 3-0 series lead...
By Jason Kasiorek
June 12th, 2013
Captain Jeff Hoggan rose to the occasion and scored a goal and an assist in the third period to lead the Grand Rapids Griffins to within a game of a Calder Cup Championship with a 4-2 victory over the visiting Syracuse Crunch. The Griffins recovered from an early deficit and the loss of Adam Almquist to rally back and take a commanding 3-0 series lead. Tomas Tatar (13), Luke Glendening (6), Jan Mursak (10) and Hoggan (5) scored for the Grand Rapids. Rookie netminder Petr Mrazek made 26 saves to record his 14 win of the postseason.
Syracuse came out of the gate with a lot of jump and had a couple of great scoring chances early. Grant made a heads up play to center a pass from the circle to Callahan all alone in front. Callahan just missed redirecting it through Desjardins. The Griffins PK unit was stellar in the early going, not allowing Syracuse much of a look. Evans came out of the box and was sprung on a breakaway, but Desjardins made a save on the veteran defender. Almquist got destroyed along the end boards with a hit form behind, but no penalty was called. To compound matters, play was allowed to continue with the diminutive blueliner crumpled up and unmoving until Panik lifted a shot from the circle in over Mrazek. Almquist remained down for quite sometime until being helped off the ice and down to the room. He did not return to the game. The Crunch manhandled the Griffins around the net after the whistle, but somehow only Pare ended up in the box. Already down a defenseman, Lashoff blocked a big shot on the powerplay and was hobbling. Ferraro and Sheahan had a couple of great chances shorthanded to keep things interesting. Nyquist had a dangerous opportunity in close. Paetsch tried to make a play along the boards and was smoked by Paradis before he touched the puck, setting up a Griffins powerplay. Shots on Goal: GR 10 - SYR 9.
Tatar evened the score early in the second when he took Paetsch's point shot behind the net and scored a sick wraparound goal. A few minutes later Hoggan had a nice scoring chance and after a couple of whacks, Glendening pounced on the rebound on the doorstep and buried it for a 2-1 lead. Hoggan got run into the end boards without the puck and play continued with no call. The Griffins had a hard time clearing their zone and Sexton's long wrister bounced in past Mrazek to knot the score at two. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - SYR 8.
Jurco was sprung on a partial break and was all alone in front but couldn't get the puck over Desjardins' pad. Play went the other way and DeKeyser took down Johnson on a breakaway leading to a Crunch man-advantage. A Crunch defender fell down and Nyquist walked around him on a break but fired the puck into Desjardins. Callahan had another great chance in front, redirecting a pass from the corner. Mursak spun and chipped Hoggan's pass in over Desjardins' shoulder with less than 5 minutes remaining to give GR the lead. Hoggan capped the scoring when he walked around a Syracuse player and drove to the net, rifling a shot behind Desjardins. The Syracuse goalie's frustration boiled over and he attacked the Griffins captain on the way through. Desjardins was summoned to the bench for the extra attacker with just over a minute left, but the Griffins controlled play and held on to win game three 4-2. Shots on Goal: GR 11 - SYR 11. For the Game: GR 29 - SYR 28.
Tatar - Andersson - Nyquist
Jurco - Sheahan - Pare
Hoggan - Mursak - Glendening
Grant - Ferraro - Callahan
Evans - Billins
Paetsch - Almquist
Lashoff - #55 DeKeyser
Nyquist - Andersson - Tatar
Paetsch - DeKeyser
Pare - Sheahan - Jurco
Ferraro - Billins
Andersson - Ferraro
Paetsch - Almquist/Evans
Glendening - Mursak
DeKeyser - Lashoff
Sheahan - Ferraro
Huge crowd at Van Andel Arena for Game 3, and you could feel the electricity in the air an hour before the game.
Can't say enough about the captain's performance. Hoggan was smoked into the end boards, speared in the groin, and then accosted by the netminder after scoring a goal. No penalties were called on any of these offenses, and he just kept playing. His leadership is evident, but his force of will was the difference in the third period tonight. I hope that they get his name on the dotted line of a new contract soon. The same goes for Evans and Paetsch. The leadership group all stepped up again last night, as they have at key points all season.
I also have to give a shout out to his linemates Mursak and Glendening who had big night offensively as the line that carried the scoring.
Mrazek has another good game, and frustrated the Crunch with his calm demeanor and incredible saves.
No word yet on Almquist, but that check from behind and the ensuing goal were ridiculous. Hopefully he is fine and will be able to return for game four. DeKeyser had some tough moments especially early in the game. He seemed to have a hard time clearing the zone which led to several "adventures" in the Griffins end. The tandem with Dekeyser and Lashoff as a whole seemed the weakest at clearing the zone. Dekeyser did seem to improve as the game went on, and I can cut him some slack as he is not at the top of his game at the moment due to injury and inexperience.
Nyquist may not have much to show for it on the scoreboard, but he was incredible, turning nothing into something with the puck. To give high praise, he was very Datsyukian in his ability to find a seam and wiggle through it with possession.