Nosek's Late Goal Crushes Crunch in 3-2 Game 1 Win|
Powerplay Tally with 13.9 seconds remaining seals the deal...
By Jason Kasiorek
May 27, 2017
Tomas Nosek scored a powerplay marker with 13.9 seconds left in the game to lift the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 3-2 win in game one of the Calder Cup finals. The goal was the second of the game for Nosek who shares the AHL playoff lead with 9 tallies in 14 games. The Griffins also got big goal from captain Nathan Paetsch which tied the game to pave the way for Nosek's heroics. Jared COreau was sharp between the pipes, stopping 22 of 24 shots.
You could tell how this game was going to go even before they dropped the first puck, watching Bertuzzi and Conacher jockey for position before the opening faceoff. The game was very similar as it was clear their was no love lost between these two teams in a rough, physical contest full of after the whistle scrums. Robbie Russo took an interference penalty on his first shift, giving the Crunch an early powerplay. The Griffins penalty killers were up to the task. The powerplay seemed to really fuel the Syracuse momentum as they carried play and the Griffins spent a lot of time in their own end trying to clear the puck. Veteran Mitch Callahan made a nice play to go to the front of the net for a shot on McKenna and an opportunistic Tomas Nosek picked up the puck and slid it home past the netminder for a 1-0 lead. Grand Rapids pushed another puck past McKenna shortly thereafter, but the play was blown dead immediately. During a delayed penalty call, Coreau went to the bench, and an errant pass drifted all the way back into the Griffins end and came within a hair of drifting into the open net. A bad angle shot on the powerplay led to a two-on-one shorthanded break, and Russo didn't take away the pass, leading to an easy shorty by Lynch. Matt Ford surprised McKenna with a shot off his back off that he had to juggle to keep out. Tyler Bertuzzi destroyed a Crunch player with a huge open ice hit in front of the net. This led to a couple of nice close in scoring chances for GR. Syracuse getting away with murder and no calls on obvious penalties. Russo had a great chance on the powerplay with a long shot up the middle and Callahan had a supper opportunity with the rebound. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Syr 5.
Syracuse took the lead early in the second 4-on-4 when Vermin fired a wicked wrister form the circle past Coreau. Colin Campbell and the fourth line had a crash and bang shift, getting the puck deep for a couple of good chances. Lashoff got tripped and stayed down for awhile in pain. He eventually made his way off the ice gingerly and went down to the room. He returned shortly and didn't miss a shift. Long powerplay drive caromed off the end boards and Tangradi at the side of the net had a brilliant chance. Russo on the point, double-clutched and fired a shot right off the defenseman in front of him, then had to chase him down to prevent a scoring chance. Great play by Campbell to win a battle in the corner, steal the puck, and hit Paetsch all alone in the slot for a low shot that beat McKenna five-hole to knot the game at 2. Dylan McIlrath took a late cross-checking penalty and looked like he was ready to turn it into more before being physically pulled away by the linesman. Grand Rapids caught a break when a Syracuse powerplay shot went through the crease behind Coreau and back out the other side. Shots on goal: GR 16 - Syr 11
McIlrath back out of the box threw a thundering hip check on Peca by the boxes that laid out the Crunch player. GR giveaway right in front and Coreau had to be sharp. Nosek on the rush, weaved his way through traffic and in on net, but couldn't get the shot off. The pace of the third is incredible, end to end, skating and passing. Kyle Criscuolo right off the faceoff in on McKenna for a shot and a save. Street high-sticked right in front of the official and the Griffins go back to the powerplay. Matt Lorito hit Nosek at the side of the net for a backdoor goal, but he fanned on it. Another bad angle shot from the circle and Bertuzzi in front jamming away at it until the whistle. Bertuzzi with a shot from the slot then got the puck back and fed Hicketts for a blast on net. Long shot by Ford handcuffed McKenna and Campbell burned in on him and almost knocked it in. Late GR powerplay, scramble in front, Lorito with a chance and then Nosek picked it up and roofed for a 3-2 lead with 13.9 seconds left on the clock. McKenna to the bench for the extra skater but the Griffins hang on for 3-2 game one win. Shots on goal: GR 9 - Syr 8. For the Game: GR 36 - SJ 24.
12 forwards - 6 defense
Bertuzzi - Nosek - Frk
Tangradi - Street - Callahan
Svechnikov - Criscuolo - Lorito
Ford - Turgeon - Campbell
Lashoff - Russo
Paetsch - Hicketts
Renouf - McIlrath
#11 Cleary - Veteran
Ford - Nosek - Lorito
Frk - Street
Tangradi - Criscuolo/Callahan - Svechnikov
Bertuzzi - Russo
Turgeon - Campbell
Lashoff - Paetsch
Ford - Nosek
Renouf - McIlrath
Great game! very tense and I spent most of the night on the edge of my seat. The Griffins did not bring their A game, but brought enough resolve to win game one. I am hoping that after the feeling out period is over, the Griffins will play a better game tonight. It is clear the Crunch had studied film on the Griffins as they countered their breakout plays well and did a good job of containing Bertuzzi and Tangradi. Coach Nelson made changes in game and Gr started to be able to stretch things out in the 3rd. Grand Rapids kept trying to take shots on McKenna from a bad angle in the same spot in the circle, so they obviously must have seen something in their film breakdown as well.
Robbie Russo did not have a good game. he was not alone, but several of his gaffe's were high profile and very noticeable. Hoping for a better showing tonight.
The Griffins seemed to have the more dangerous chances when Callahan, Campbell and Bertuzzi fought their way in to the net, bringing that stye is also going to be key going forward. Special teams remains the key as GR killed off both crunch powerplay and scored the game winner on one of their six.