Now granted, this series is far from over. There's still two to go. But there was a lesson learned this weekend by the Grand Rapids Griffins: Never count the 2012-13 Syracuse Crunch out.
They may be down.
They may appear to be on the ropes.
Things may look hopeless.
But, no matter how it looks you should never, ever count them out.
The Crunch have almost rallied completely from a 3-0 series deficit with two wins on the road in Grand Rapids this weekend, cutting their series deficit to only one game. They now have the chance to tie the series up at home on Tuesday, which would then force a game 7. That game is scheduled for Thursday at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
The Crunch is now the first team in AHL history to win two road elimination games in the same Calder Cup finals. Only three teams have ever rallied from an 0-3 series deficit in the finals. Obviously, with the series coming home on Tuesday, the Crunch's post season road record for the 2013 Calder Cup playoffs will remain a near-perfect 7-1. This closely mirrors what happened during the regular season, when the Crunch was the second-best road team in the league.
Now, the Crunch needs to turn their attention to home and conclude this season's roa drecord on a high note.
Syracuse started this series on a sour note in their old Barn, losing the first two games at home and eliminating their home ice advantage. During these games, our boys were clearly missing the presence of physical defenseman Radko Gudas, a guy who can make the War Memorial's cramped corners downright hostile for opposing players.
Although the team eventually found ways to make it work without Radko in the lineup, I think everyone would feel better with Gudas back. Not only that, but he certainly deserves to get the chance to play after all he's done this year. The good news is that Gudas has been described as "probable" for game 6.
However, Gudas' famous beard wasn't the only thing the team seemed to be missing. Whether it was rust from their week off prior to the start of the finals or something else, the magic just wasn't there. It wasn't that they were playing bad, not exactly, but they also weren't playing like themselves.
After getting the chance to watch them live twice this past weekend, I can truly say that our boys are back. They're ready. They're focused.
And I know, without a doubt, that they can do this!
Best of all, they do, too.
COME ON, BOYS! TWO!