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Grand Rapids Griffins take Game 3 of Calder Cup Final 4-2 over Syracuse, but lose Almquist

The Grand Rapids Griffins had a rough go at times during their 4-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday, surrendering the game's first goal and a game-tying goal late in the second period, but the tightly-contested game--went the Griffins' way in the end.

The Crunch took a 1-0 lead on what should have been a controversial play halfway through the first period: Richard Panik boarded Adam Almquist, who fell to the ice in a heap, allowing the Crunch to work the puck around on a 5-on-4 advantage as play continued...And Panik jammed the puck past Mrazek to give the Crunch a lead that stood through a first period in which the Crunch dominated play and turned the Griffins into a Wings-like neutral zone turnover machine.

Early in the second period, Tomas Tatar took the rebound of a Nathan Paetsch shot that went wide and wrapped it around the Crunch's most valuable player and then some in goaltender Cedric Desjardins, and two minutes later, Luke Glendening banged a backhand past Desjardins thanks to some lovely work by Danny DeKeyser (who was up and down) and Jan Mursak...

But the Crunch tied the game 4 seconds short of the halfway mark of the 2nd, with a bizarre floater from Dan Sexton seemingly going off of a Griffins defenseman and past Petr Mrazek from the blueline, and the vast majority of the balance of the game involved Desjardins frustrating the hell out of the Griffins--including stopping breakaways by Tatar and Nyquist--and Mrazek making equally remarkable saves in the Griffins' end.

Eventually, the Griffins stopped turning over pucks and trying to put on a show, starting to out-grind the Crunch while also bearind down and playing smarter, simpler and more efficient hockey, and it paid off in a big way.

Danny DeKeyser may have fallen on his butt after trying to take a slap shot at the right offensive point and whiffing on the puck, but before he fell, he slid the puck in deep, and Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan worked his way past the Crunch defense, wrapped the puck around the net, reversed to go to his forehand on Desjardins' blocker side, and chipped the puck in front, where it went off Jan Mursak's skate...

And after some heroics from Mrazek, including a remarkable behind-the-back glove save on the hard-hitting Panik, Hoggan took a loose puck in the neutral zone, charged toward the net, and while he was thrown into an angry Desjardins, he jabbed the puck who rewarded Hoggan with a couple punches to the head.

From there on out, the Griffins just rode solid defense to a fine conclusion, defeating Syracuse 4-2 and taking a 3-0 series lead.

Helluva game, helluva win, but now we have to worry about what happened to Almquist...Though the Calder Cup will be hiding below another sell-out crowd at Van Andel Arena for good reason on Friday night.

Update: and lest I forget, the Griffins' captain rebounded from behing speared in the balls by Panik to lead his team to an awesome win.

A BALLSY WIN.

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Comments

Avatar

Was a great game to watch.  Looking forward to being at Friday nights game and a potential sweep!

Posted by Kayen on 06/12/13 at 10:04 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Hoggan and Mrazek were playing with a drive and a hunger I ain’t seen since Vladdie laced up his skates.  Man, they were just mean.  And I loved it.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 06/12/13 at 10:09 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Now, I’m just waiting for word from GR about Almquist’s status.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 06/12/13 at 10:25 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

We’re gonna have to wait…The AHL doesn’t have NHL-level injury disclosure rules. Blashill could say, “He got hit pretty hard” and that’s more than enough. It’s like Darryl Sutter wrote the rulebook (see: Robyn Regehr had surgery for an “arm” injury).

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/12/13 at 10:51 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I getcha, George.  They aren’t as forthcoming at the ECHL level neither.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 06/12/13 at 10:54 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I getcha, George.  They aren’t as forthcoming at the ECHL level neither.

Posted by SYF from a viewing moratorium of NBC’s hockey coverage on 06/12/13 at 10:54 PM ET

I don’t know about the AHL or how it works, but I think in the ECHL it’s because the “IR” often has nothing whatsoever to do with injury.  The *very* small/limited rosters result in lots of “IR” juggling of perfectly healthy guys.  It’s the only way you can keep a 3rd goalie say, or juggle between some vets.

They can’t force disclosure because disclosure would often be “He’s fine, we just can’t dress him due to roster limit”.

Posted by Primis on 06/12/13 at 11:20 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I really wanted to watch this game.  But my wife’s laptop died yesterday, so she’s been using my laptop for some business stuff, and my son was on the desktop playing Minecraft (because that of course is all a PC is to him now).  For the first time in forever it seems, I found myself without an open computer to do something.

I won’t let that happen for Game 4.

Posted by Primis on 06/12/13 at 11:27 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I don’t know about the AHL or how it works, but I think in the ECHL it’s because the “IR” often has nothing whatsoever to do with injury.  The *very* small/limited rosters result in lots of “IR” juggling of perfectly healthy guys.  It’s the only way you can keep a 3rd goalie say, or juggle between some vets.

They can’t force disclosure because disclosure would often be “He’s fine, we just can’t dress him due to roster limit”.

Posted by Primis on 06/12/13 at 11:20 PM ET

That just adds to the frustrations for some of us here in Vegas.  I’ve seen 15 players (four defensemen) dressed for the Wranglers for a couple of games this year and they still had a game the next night.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 06/12/13 at 11:33 PM ET

SYF's avatar

10,102 in attendance and Uncle Mike was at the game, too.  He was particularly pleased with the Griffs’ veterans:  Glendening, Hoggan, Evans, and Paetsch.  He had googly eyes for Glendening especially.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 06/13/13 at 12:20 AM ET

SYF's avatar

GriffVision upload of Game Three.  You can see the limp body of Almquist in the corner when the Crunch scored the game’s first goal.  Here’s wishing Almquist a speedy recovery.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 06/13/13 at 01:36 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Update: and lest I forget, the Griffins’ captain rebounded from behing speared in the balls by Panik to lead his team to an awesome win.
A BALLSY WIN.

Hahaha… NICE!... and ouch.

Man, that kid got smushed. I hope he’s doing okay but he was all wobbly kneed while he was being helped to the bench.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 06/13/13 at 07:39 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

I’ve never even seen him play and already I strongly dislike Richard Panik.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 06/13/13 at 07:46 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I’ve never even seen him play and already I strongly dislike Richard Panik.
Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 06/13/13 at 07:46 AM ET

You mean Dick Panik? That whole team’s full of whiney bitches.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 06/13/13 at 08:13 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

You mean Dick Panik? That whole team’s full of whiney bitches.
Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 06/13/13 at 08:13 AM ET

And Dick Panik is their leader in all things douche.  I bet Crosby can’t wait for this guy to get into the league so he can take the biggest btich title off of Sindy’s hands.

Anywho, I can’t think of a bunch of aholes more deserving of a soul crushing sweep than the Crunchies.

Posted by Hootinani on 06/13/13 at 08:36 AM ET

SuperMatt75's avatar

I was at that last night. I was, and continue to be, flabbergasted at the complete lack of controversy over the Almquist hit and subsequent goal. Even if we stipulate it wasn’t a penalty (it looked like one to me, but I didn’t have replay available at the game), the guy still layed, unmoving, on the ice, for a considerable amount of time. 

Do the refs not have any instructions regarding player safety?  I’ve seen NHL refs blow the whistle in this scenario dozens of times. It took the guy like 2 or 3 minutes before he even tried to get up!  If I was Dan DeVos (Griffins owner) I would be LIVID that they let an injured player lay motionless on the ice for minutes.

In other comments; DeKeyser looked a bit rusty, but was clearly one of the best skaters on the ice.  Tatar and Nyquist were all over the ice (as was Mursak and Hogan).  Mrazek is a stud.

And, all superstitions aside, there was nothing about that game that gave me any indication that the Griffins can’t win the next one.  They overcame a goal deficit, terrible referees, an injured d-man, and still managed to dominate the 3rd period.  Great stuff.

Posted by SuperMatt75 from the cool side of the pillow on 06/13/13 at 01:11 PM ET

SYF's avatar

When I was watching last night, I actually didn’t care to watch for the afterwhistles horseshit.  I got enough of that from the Cawks and the DuhUcks.  I wanted to see the Griffs and man to man, they have poise in deep pockets.  The best example was Hoggan’s goal and celebration with his teammates.  THAT’s character.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 06/13/13 at 01:43 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.