The Griffins have done it!
Your Grand Rapids Griffins are Calder Cup Champs after defeating the Syracuse Crunch 5-2 in Game 6 on Tuesday night.
After being up a commanding three-games-to-none, then losing Games 4 and 5 at home over the weekend, the Griffins went on the road for what could have been two games ... but they only needed one to capture the franchise's first Calder Cup.
Brendan Evans scored the game-winning goal -- his first of the Finals -- with 10:06 left in the third to put the Griffins up 3-2.
Tomas Tatar, who scored twice in the Game 6 clincher, won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the most valuable player in the Calder Cup Playoffs after totaling 21 points -- including a league-best 16 goals -- in 24 games.
Team captain Jeff Hoggan, the only Griffins player to previously play in a Calder Cup final series, was the first to hoist the Cup.
A tightly contested opening period that featured few scoring chances for either team saw the Crunch cash in once to take a lead into the intermission. At the mark, Petr Mrazek moved to his right to make a save, but after he slid too far out of his crease, Brennan Evans tried in vain to keep a point-blank whack by Richard Panik out of the net.
The Griffins tied it into the second period. Mitch Callahan took a pass from Landon Ferraro low in the left circle and, while being knocked to the ice, chipped the puck over
Cedrick Desjardins and into the top of the net.
A four-minute high-sticking penalty to Nathan Paetsch on Ondrej Palat with just 28 seconds left in the period presented the Crunch with a great opportunity to tie or take the lead, something they mostly squandered 1:09 into the first penalty when Brett Connolly tripped Ferraro early in the third.
sailed past a screened Mrazek at the mark, igniting the overflow crowd of 6,375.
The partisan throng was decidedly less enthusiastic later, when Evans’ wrist shot from the left point found its way through a sea of bodies and into the back of Desjardins’ net, putting the Griffins ahead once again at 3-2. Mrazek then made that lead hold with a pair of spectacular saves with less than eight minutes showing on the clock.
Tatar and Joakim Andersson added empty-net goals in the final minute to seal the 5-2 victory.
Mrazek won his 15th game of the postseason by stopping 24 shots. Desjardins made 20 saves.
Notes: Today’s game date marked the latest in the 77-year history of the AHL ... Hoggan, Evans and Chad Billins each played in his 100th game of the season ... The last Detroit Red Wings affiliate to win the Calder Cup was the 1991-92 Adirondack Red Wings.
It's the first championship in the Griffins’ 17 seasons, as well as the 27-year history of professional hockey in