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Crunch Capitalize on GR Mistakes To Force Game Six
Tatar notches 14th in 5-2 loss...
By Jason Kasiorek
June 15th, 2013

The Griffins threw everything they had at Syracuse netminder Cedric Desjardins but the veteran netminder made 40 stops to hand the Griffins a 5-2 loss on home ice. The Crunch did have some help as a series of costly mistakes helped stake them to an early 2-0 lead. Triston Grant tallied his 2nd, and Tomas Tatar added his league leading 14th to even things up early in the second. Syracuse scored three unanswered goals including an empty netter to put Grand Rapids away. Petr Mrazek made 17 saves in the loss.

DeKeyser off for an over zealous hit at the line early in the period, but the penalty killers kept the score at zero. Tatar and Andersson buzzing around the net had a couple of good chances. Desjardins got caught behind the net by Sheahan, but he couldn't get the puck out front. Tatar working hard in the corner, worked free of his check and fed Andersson for a great chance in the slot. DeKeyser turned over the puck right in front of Mrazek, and Palat converted the gift into a goal to give Syracuse the lead. Callahan crashed the net, but was unable to shovel the puck past Desjardins. Pare picked off a clearing attempt and set up a great scoring chance. DeKeyser tried to move his man behind the net and took a bad holding penalty right in front of the official. Glendening and Mursak had a nice shorthanded 2-on-1 chance, but coming back down the ice Connelly snuck in and converted a pass over Mrazek for a 2-0 lead. Ferraro on the rush, walked around a defender and threw a shot on net from the circle. Triston Grant cruised in and banged it home to put the Griffins on the board. Shots on Goal: GR 13 - SYR 9.

Tatar on the rush fired a hard shot that surprised Desjardins. Huge open ice hit by Evans, and Palat came over and took a couple of shots at him before heading to the box. Grand Rapids ended up with a 3-on-1 on the powerplay, Tatar and Nyquist worked the give and go and Tatar stroked it home from right in front. Jurco with a good chance drew a penalty putting GR back on the powerplay. The Griffins were really pressuring the net, putting on a shooting gallery, but Desjardins came up big. Johnson lost a stick in front and just started punching the puck carrier Tatar, with no call. Jurco got free for another great scoring opportunity. The Nyquist line kept the pressure up for most of the period. A crunch player knocked down Ferraro and then tripped over him on the way out if the zone, but somehow the penalty was assessed to Ferraro. Panik wristed a shot by Mrazek on the ensuing powerplay to regain the lead. Nice defensive play by DeKeyser to break up a breakaway. Shots on Goal: GR 20 - SYR 5.

Three Griffins on the puck-carrier but he still managed to get it to Johnson behind the play. Johnson roofed it to extend the lead to 4-2. Lashoff is injured and down in the corner but play was allowed to continue with a nice Crunch scoring chance. Grant taken down, again no call. Hoggan tried to take the puck to the net but was knocked into Desjardins by a Syracuse blueliner and was sent to the box. Breakaway by Johnson and a huge stop by Mrazek who channeled the puck just wide. Mrazek to the bench late, but Syracuse potted an empty netter to seal the win. Grant went after Panik and a big scrum broke out. Callahan also had several pokes at him before being escorted to the box. Shots on Goal: GR 9 - SYR 8. For the Game: GR 28 - SYR 24.

Tatar - Andersson - Nyquist
Hoggan - Glendening - Mursak
Jurco - Sheahan - Pare
Grant - Ferraro - Callahan

Evans - Billins
DeKeyser - Paetsch
Lashoff - Skinner

Starter: Mrazek
Backup: McCollum

Almquist - Concussion

Nyquist - Andersson - Tatar
Paetsch - Ferraro

Pare - Sheahan - Jurco
Skinner - Billins

Sheahan - Ferraro
DeKeyser/Evans - Paetsch

Glendening - Mursak
Evans - Lashoff

Andersson - Ferraro


While it would be easy to blame this loss on the officiating, the simple truth is that Syracuse won this game, because they played a better game. Sure the Griffins had more shots, more quality scoring chances etc. But every time they made a mistake, Syracuse put the puck in the net. Combine that with Desjardins outplaying Mrazek, and the result is a 5-2 Griffins loss. The griffins have to stay out of the box, or at least do a better job on their own powerplay, and minimize the number of mistakes they made. The good new is that the Griffins played good enough to win most games, so another couple of efforts like that and eventually they should be able to win a 4th. Mrazek has stepped up in times like this and will surely outplay his counterpart again.

DeKeyser had a rough night again, and while he made some good plays later in the game, may really be playing his way out of a job in Detroit out of camp next season.

Fortunately Brent Skinner really stepped up and seemed to shrug off the rust he showed in game 4.

The Nyquist line had an unbelievable number of quality scoring chances but were unable to finish, they have to find a way to start putting the puck behind Desjardins again.

I have to take a moment to comment on the play of Jan Mursak who is playing his best hockey as a Griffin. He has really elevated his game, and looks to be as dangerous as Nyquist or Tatar with his speed and ability to get the puck to the net.

Official Game Sheet