The Grand Rapids Griffins drew first blood last night as the team stole home ice from the Syracuse Crunch with a 3-1 victory in game one of the Calder Cup Finals.

Mitch Callahan got the Griffins on the board early in the first as he took a pass from Chad Billins and beat Crunch goaltender Cedrick Desjardins for the 1-0 lead.

In the second, it was all Syracuse as the Crunch outshot the Griffins 11-5 in the frame, but Petr Mrazek stood tall for the Griffins to preserve the 1-goal lead.

In the third, the Griffins would add to their lead as Riley Sheahan beat Desjardins to put the Griffins up by two.

Just over a minute later, Jean-Philippe Cote would tally his first of the playoffs to cut the lead to one, and make it interesting late.

With two minutes left in the game, Richard Panik took an untimely slashing penalty to put the Griffins on the powerplay. Despite being down a man, the Crunch opted to pull the goaltender for the extra attacker. The plan did not work however as Gustav Nyquist buried the puck into the empty net top cap off a 3-1 game.

Petr Mrazek turned aside 28 shots in the victory, while Desjardins made 18 in a losing effort.

With the victory, Grand Rapids now leads the best-of-seven series 1-0. Game two is set to go tonight at 6:00 Eastern in Syracuse before the series shifts back to Grand Rapids for 3-games starting on Wednesday.

 

 

Adam Reid

Adam_mapleleafs@hotmail.com

www.AHLwriters.com