The bottom line: Syracuse Crunch vs. Grand Rapids Griffins, game 4
The Crunch got some of their mojo back this past Wednesday, and it couldn’t have come at a more crucial time. After falling into a 0-2 series deficit last weekend in Grand Rapids, Syracuse made the most of their home ice and stunned the Griffins in game 3.
First time all series that Grand Rapids has looked rattled. Maybe first time since Game 2 of Western Conference final. #AHL— PATRICK WILLIAMS (@pwilliamsNHL) June 7, 2017
Their victory cut their series deficit to 1-2. The Crunch look to tie the Calder Cup finals up tonight, and they’re expected to do it in front of a sold out crowd.
Vermin on the War Memorial Arena atmosphere: “It’s exciting to play here. The fans are obviously great. They really get us going.” #FIN15H pic.twitter.com/kmFfqtxi83— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) June 8, 2017
One cannot overstate what tying this series up could do for the Crunch’s chances. Although they’re currently fighting the tide of AHL history - teams that have gone up 2-0 in the finals have gone on to win more than 70% of the time - they’re also making some history of their own in the process of their fight to stay alive:
Syracuse is just the third team in AHL history to win at least 10 consecutive home games in the same #CalderCup postseason pic.twitter.com/EIiJHY9Mbd— AHL (@TheAHL) June 8, 2017
Sticking to the team’s game plan is going to be crucial tonight. The Crunch did a fabulous job Wednesday night: they scored first, never fell behind, and had strong responses to every time Grand Rapids attempted to come back. Their penalty kill was on point, their power play was effective, and their 5-on-5 play got more focused and controlled as the game went on. Their game wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t need to be, and drawing on those positives will be essential tonight:
McGinn on keeping the momentum: “I think we got to just keep playing our game - stick to our game plan, be resilient on them.” #FIN15H pic.twitter.com/ACfxFX0XZ4— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) June 8, 2017
Syracuse can expect as strong pushback from the Griffins as they try to blow this series open to a 3-1 lead. The Crunch needs to continue to grow on the momentum they gained Wednesday and use their hometown crowd to elevate them to another home victory:
Groulx following the Game 3 win: “I think the first win is out of the way. I think we’re going to be a better team Friday.” #GRvsSYR #FIN15H pic.twitter.com/SdH9MEqeQL— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) June 8, 2017
There’s no doubt in my mind that they can #FIN15H this.
Pre-game reading, listening, and viewing:
- Previous previews: game 1, game 2
- Brandon Curtis’ game recaps: game 1
- Instead of a recap for game 2, Brandon and I discussed game two and all of its implications from the perspective of two passionate fans.
- Geo handled the recap for game 3.
- Bryan Burns chimed in with his own recap, highlighting the effort of the Crunch’s special teams.
- Caley Chelios also did a Bolts Today-style video recap:
The @syracusecrunch laid down a statement win last night at home to put themselves back in their #CalderCup series.@caleychelios recaps: pic.twitter.com/rynjJZCxbW— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) June 8, 2017
- Brent Axe chimed in with his own first-hand account of the third game of the finals.
- On the Griffins side of things, Pete Wallner weighed the toughness of playing in the Onondaga County War Memorial against the damage Grand Rapids did to their own game through their special teams.
- Crunch defenseman Matt Taormina and goalie Mike McKenna got together with Brent Axe and a bunch of fans on Facebook to answer some questions.
- A comforting tweet:
And we officially now have gotten off to a better start in the #CalderCupFinals this year than we did in '13. ;-) #GlassHalfFull #FIN15H— Todd Cross (@ToddNY25) June 8, 2017
- In the mood to party before the game on a Friday? You’re in luck:
We’re hosting a Party on the Plaza presented by @ESPNSyracuse tomorrow from 4:30 to 6:30 before Game 4. #FIN15H → https://t.co/NQnE3gHhz0 pic.twitter.com/N0Bu00K8ae— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) June 8, 2017
Game night essentials:
- The pre-game radio broadcast with Dan D’Uva will start at 6:45 EST on ESPN Syracuse. You can stream the game in its entirety for free.
- Puck drop is at 7:00 ET in Grand Rapids.
- AHL Live has an amazing special deal this round: watch for free!
AHL Fans: Stream the 2017 #CalderCup Finals between @griffinshockey & the @SyracuseCrunch for free at https://t.co/H4S6BaaGAM! pic.twitter.com/2r9XZmraL3— AHL (@TheAHL) May 28, 2017
Potential lines and pairings for Syracuse:
Tye McGinn - Yanni Gourde - Cory Conacher
Michael Bournival - Matthew Peca - Byron Froese
Adam Erne - Gabriel Dumont - Joel Vermin
Daniel Walcott - Anthony Cirelli - Kevin Lynch
Potential defensive pairings:
Matt Taormina - Dominik Masin
Slater Koekkoek - Ben Thomas
Jake Dotchin - Mathieu Brodeur
-Daniel Walcott returned to the line up Wednesday. He was hurt during the third round.
-Crunch captain Erik Condra is listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury. He did not play Wednesday:
A note on Erik Condra. Ben Groulx said he is day-to-day with a lower body injury. Groulx called him a "warrior." Needed 2-3 days off.— Brent Axe (@BrentAxeMedia) June 8, 2017
Condra’s status is unknown for tonight’s game.
Potential lines and pairings for Grand Rapids:
Tyler Bertuzzi - Tomas Nosek - Martin Frk
Eric Tangradi - Ben Street - Mitch Callahan
Evgeny Svechnikov - Kyle Criscuolo - Matt Lorito
Matthew Ford - Dominic Turgeon - Colin Campbell
Potential defensive pairings:
Brian Lashoff - Robbie Russo
Nathan Paetsch - Joe Hicketts
Dan Renouf - Dylan McIlrath