The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/09/13 at 07:58 PM ET
I think that the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Syracuse Crunch 6-4 over the course of...63 minutes of regulation time...In Game 2 of the AHL's Calder Cup Final against the Syracuse Crunch...For now?
I've been watching hockey since 1991, but I have never, ever witnessed a more ridiculous display of refereeing at its worst, at any level, than what I witnessed on the AHL Live's stream of the Syracuse Crunch's broadcast. A team that can't stop rubbing its hands over its opponent at every stoppage was awarded a 4-4 goal on a bizarre review, the Crunch were given a boatload of power plays, and yet, if you are to believe the Crunch and their fans, Tomas Jurco's 4-3 goal never went in (despite the fact that the goal cam looked blurry and steamed) Francis Pare's 5-4 goal was scored after the second period should have ended (the 2nd period was 23 minutes long), and the Crunch hav not YET been awarded the goal supposedly scored with Brett Connolly in the crease on Saturday...
Though it is entirely possible that the Grand Rapids Griffins will be pulled off the bus at Sarnia and told that they have to replay Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals, this time against the Ak Bars Kazan, for all I know.
Utterly bizarre. The Griffins prevailed in a wild and woolly game because their goaltending was better than Syracuse's, their penalty-killing was better than the Crunch's penalty-killing, and the Griffins did not bitch, moan, whine or complain after every damn whistle, they did not lose their nerve when they kept getting called for penalties despite being grabbed and groped like strippers at Henry the VIII's on Middlebelt in Inkster after whistles, and they just kept pushing and kept going as bizarre calls, bizarre stat-keeping, a hard-charging, bigger, meaner and still extremely talented Crunch team gave the Griffins all they could handle...
And as you may be familiar with from Red Wings games, calmness and poise--and fantastic goaltending--tend to prevail.
As for the tenor of the game?
With 54.8 left in the 3rd, Tomas Jurco tried to put the puck into an empty net. Jurco was run into the end boards by Richard Panik, a charging minor was awarded, and the Crunch--and their announcers (their director of community relations and a scratched player whose name I forgot, just as the Crunch's announcers seem to have followed the minor-league rule that, "We don't need to know who the players on the other team are!)--were STUNNED that a "clean check" had been penalized, even though Panik was hauled back in from the locker room to serve a penalty, and then he misconduct-ed his way out of the game.
The reffing was bizarre. The announcing was worse. The Crunch are a big, mean, dirty, and plain old STUPID team. CHEAP, no less. And yet the Griffins lead the series 2-0.
Rightly or wrongly, depending on your point of view.
I will let the experts explain this one, because this was *#$%@& Twilight Zone on Ice stuff. Mrazek was great, Ferraro had 3 points, and Games 3, 4 and 5 take place in Grand Rapids on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Unless the officials decide to hold the game underwater. In Australia.
Mrazek stopped 30 of 34;
1 goal, 2 assists for Ferraro;
2 assists for Sheahan, Hoggan;
Grant, Tatar, Pare, Mursak, Jurco scored the other goals;
Assists for Nyquist and Evans;
8 PK's for Grand Rapids, 6 for Syracuse.
Update #2: Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples penned a recap:
The Griffins picked up a 6-4 win over the Crunch Sunday evening in Syracuse, which means a two-game lead in their best-of-seven AHL Finals series – with Games 3 through 5 to be played at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.
Tomas Tatar, Triston Grant, Landon Ferraro, Tomas Jurco, Francis Pare and Jan Mursak all scored for Grand Rapids, while Petr Mrazek stopped 15 shots for his 13th win of the postseason.
Yet it was the Crunch’s final goal of the contest – recorded late in the second period – which is the goal that will be talked about for the duration of the Calder Cup Finals.
With under four minutes to go in the middle frame (the scorekeepers were having some difficulty getting the exact time worked out), Syracuse’s J.T. Brown fired a shot past Mrazek that apparently ripped through the netting behind the Griffins’ goaltender. Play continued for multiple minutes before a stoppage of play to allow the referees a chance for video review. The trip to the replay screen left everyone confused, as they thought the referees were reviewing a breakaway chance for the Griffins that was clearly not a goal.
Video review proved that Brown had indeed scored, tying the game at four goals apiece, and sending the fans at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena into a frenzy.
They would be quieted in a hurry, however, as Pare scored in the midst of a scramble in front of the Crunch goal to regain the lead for the Griffins.
Mursak recorded the only goal in the third period, beating Syracuse netminder Cedrick Desjardins with a deke to the backhand at the 14:56 mark of the final frame.
Both teams scored two power-play goals in Game 2, yet the Crunch had eight man-advantage opportunities, compared to the Griffins’ five.
And until the final minutes, the PP's were 8-4 Syracuse.
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