After a tense, back-and-forth Game 6, Grand Rapids emerged victorious with a 4-3 final score over the Syracuse Crunch, capturing the 2017 Calder Cup. The newly crowned AHL champions found the eventual game winner off a mid-3rd period tally from winger Martin Frk. His shot from the point found its way through traffic and beat Crunch tender Mike McKenna. McKenna had misplayed an earlier goal as well, which is an unfortunate turn of events for the veteran who’d performed quite well, posting a .914 save percentage through 21 games.
Other important Red Wings prospects who will benefit from this experience include Tyler Bertuzzi, Tomas Nosek (who led the team in points), and Ben Thomas. Also of note were the performances of Eric Tangradi, Ben Street, and Mitch Callahan. Captained by veteran defenseman Nathan Paetsch, and backstopped by 25 year-old goalie Jared Coreau, the team defeated the Milwaukee Admirals in 3 games, the Chicago Wolves in 5 games, and the San Jose Barracuda in 5 games on their march to the finals.
The Crunch had a lead for the majority of the game, but the Griffins kept close and eventually pulled ahead. Syracuse’s most noticeable player of the night was Yanni Gourde, who scored two of the team’s three tallies in the losing effort. Cory Conacher also had a resurgent season, leading the whole field in both playoff goals and points.