News | 6/6/2013 11:28:36 AM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS
WATCH THE CALDER CUP FINALS FOR FREE ON AHL LIVE!
The 2013 American Hockey League Calder Cup Finals are set to begin on Saturday, June 8 when the Syracuse Crunch host the Grand Rapids Griffins in Game 1, with both franchises vying for their first Calder Cup. The two finalists did not face one another during the regular season, but each were division champions and entered the postseason as the third-seed in their respective conferences.
The American Hockey League and NeuLion, Inc., announced that as a thanks to the AHL’s loyal and dedicated fans, video streaming the 2013 Calder Cup Finals will be available at no charge on AHL Live. Using promo code CALDER2013, fans can register and log in at www.ahllive.com and watch all of the action of the 2013 Calder Cup Finals, from the first puck drop until the AHL’s 77th champion is crowned.
Syracuse, the AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is bidding to pull off a repeat of sorts. Last season, Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate was the Calder Cup champion Norfolk Admirals. Now that the Lightning are responsible for stocking the Crunch, many of the players on last year’s Cup winning squad are now skating for Syracuse. After sweeping the Portland Pirates in the first round and the Springfield Falcons in round two, the Crunch finally lost their first game of the 2013 postseason in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Crunch, however, came back strong by winning each of the next four games to advance to the first Calder Cup Final in team history.
Crunch forward Ondrej Palat enters the Finals tied for the AHL lead in playoff scoring with 20 points (5+15) despite having played five fewer postseason games than the co-leader, Marc Arcobello of Oklahoma City. Tyler Johnson, who was named the AHL’s Most Valuable Player this year after scoring 37 goals in 62 regular season games, ranks third in AHL playoff scoring with 17 points (9+8) in 12 games. Goalie Cedrick Desjardins has gone 11-1 through the first three rounds with a 1.86 goals against average, a .920 save percentage and three shutouts. Syracuse also features a pair of AHL Second-Team All Stars in forward Brett Connolly and defenseman Mark Barberio, who, along with Johnson and several others, was also a member of last year’s championship team in Norfolk. This year marked the first time since the 1995-96 season that Syracuse appeared in the Eastern Conference Finals and its first ever trip to the Calder Cup Finals.
Grand Rapids is coming off a dramatic Game 7 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons in the Western Conference Finals that saw the Griffins score two goals late in the third period to secure a 5-4 victory. The series marked the first Conference Finals for Grand Rapids since 2006, and the team has earned its first opportunity to play for the Cup. Midway through the series, Grand Rapids received several key players back from the parent Detroit Red Wings after the Wings were eliminated from Stanley Cup contention, including Gustav Nyquist, who led the team in scoring during the regular season, and Joakim Andersson.
While Nyquist and Andersson were with Detroit, the offense was led by Tomas Tatar (11+5), Tomas Jurco (7+6) and Grand Rapids native Luke Gelndening (5+8). Goaltender Petr Mrazek has played all 18 games through the first three rounds, going 11-7 with a 2.18 goals against average, a .921 save percentage and a league-leading four shutouts. The Griffins advanced to the Conference Finals after a 4-2 series win over the Toronto Marlies that featured a dramatic comeback in the clinching game. Trailing 3-1 with less than 10 minutes to play in the third period, the Griffins scored twice in a span of 28 seconds to tie the game before Glendening scored the game-winner with 4:03 to play. Prior to dispatching the Marlies in round two, Grand Rapids opened the postseason by playing a full five-game series with the Houston Aeros. After winning the decisive Game 5 by a score of 7-0 over Houston, the Griffins then opened up their next series with a 7-0 win over Toronto.
2013 Calder Cup Finals (best-of-seven)
E3-Syracuse Crunch vs. W3-Grand Rapids Griffins
Game 1 – Sat., June 8 – Grand Rapids 3, Syracuse 1
Game 2 – Sun., June 9 – Grand Rapids 6, Syracuse 4
Game 3 – Wed., June 12 – Grand Rapids 4, Syracuse 2
Game 4 – Fri., June 14 – Syracuse 3, Grand Rapids 2
Game 5 – Sat., June 15 – Syracuse 5, Grand Rapids 2
Game 6 – Tue., June 18 – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 7 – Thu., June 20 – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern
GRAND RAPIDS LEADS SERIES 3-2