While the Conference Finals are in full swing in the NHL, the AHL is set to start the final round of the Calder Cup playoffs. With last night’s wild win, the Grand Rapid Griffins became the best from the west. The Syracuse Crunch had earned their spot in the Finals on Saturday and were just waiting to see if it would be the Griffins or the Oklahoma City Barons.
For the whole Western Conference Finals, it had been a battle back and forth between the Griffins and the Barons. Facing elimination in game 6, Oklahoma City battled to stay in the race. They scored 3 goals during the third period, the final of which came with just over a minute in the game, to win. The two teams met again the next night for game 7 and it was as exciting as anyone could have asked for it to be. It was surprisingly low on penalties for such an important game. Instead, there was more of a focus on scoring as the final tally had the Griffins winning 5-4 over the Barons. The 9 goals came from 8 different skaters. Now the Griffins have earned their spot in the Finals and are headed to Syracuse.
From the East, the Syracuse Crunch continued their streak of postseason dominance during the Eastern Conference Finals. So far, the Crunch have only lost one game and that loss came during the Conference Finals against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. This group of prospects is coming off a 2011-2012 postseason winning the Calder Cup. Last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning had their affiliation in the AHL with the Norfolk Admirals. Now, the Lightning prospects have a chance to repeat as Calder Cup winners.
Both teams have been scoring pretty well and have goaltenders with similar numbers. Syracuse has been on a roll and they have a lot of momentum going for them right now. At the same time, Grand Rapids has come up with some very convincing wins for far this postseason. If I had to pick, I would take Syracuse over Grand Rapids in 6 games. The schedule of games is listed below.
Calder Cup Finals: Syracuse Crunch vs. Grand Rapids Griffins
Game 1: Saturday, June 8th – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7pm
Game 2: Sunday, June 9th – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 6pm
Game 3: Wednesday, June 12th – Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7pm
Game 4: Friday, June 14th – Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7pm
Game 5: Saturday, June 15th – Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7pm*
Game 6: Tuesday, June 18th – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7pm*
Game 7: Thursday, June 20th – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7pm*
* If Necessary