Home-ice advantage is becoming a key factor in the American Hockey League Calder Cup Finals.
Syracuse returned home for Game 3 and got back into the series with a 5-3 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins Wednesday.
The Griffins – the Red Wings’ minor league affiliate – still lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1 after winning the first two games at Van Andel Arena.
Games 4 and 5, Friday and Saturday, are in Syracuse’s War Memorial, where the Crunch are 10-0 in the playoffs after Wednesday’s victory.
Grand Rapids fell behind 3-1 after one period and wound up in catch-up mode the rest of the evening.
Also, the Griffins’ power play, which had produced at least one goal in 13 consecutive playoff games, was held off the scoresheet in four attempts.
Syracuse was 2-for-6 on the power play.
Tyler Bertuzzi, Dominic Turgeon, Kyle Criscuolo had Griffins goals.
Goaltender Jared Coreau stopped 27 Crunch shots, while Syracuse goalie Mike McKenna stopped 33 shots.
Joel Vermin had two Syracuse goals, while Byron Froese, Tye McGinn and Cory Conacher added one each.
Vermin scored two goals 57 seconds apart late in the first period – one on the power play — snapping a 1-1 tie and giving Syracuse the first two-goal lead by either team in the series.
mas Nosek assisted on Bertuzzi’s first-period goal, extending Nosek’s point streak to seven games.
Turgeon’s goal, his first of the playoffs, brought Grand Rapids to within a goal, 3-2, at 6:58 of the second period.
But Syracuse responded with goals from McGinn (13:22) and Conacher (15:18) to regain Syracuse’s three-goal lead.
Criscuolo’s goal at 16:38 of the second period, cut the Crunch lead to 5-3 heading into the third period.
If necessary, Game 6 of the series would return to Grand Rapids Tuesday, while a Game 7 would be Wednesday at Van Andel Arena. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Calder Cup Finals
Syracuse vs. Grand Rapids
All games at 7
Game 1: Grand Rapids 3-2
Game 2: Grand Rapids 6-5 (2OT)
Game 3: Syracuse 5-3
Friday: at Syracuse
Saturday: at Syracuse
x-June 13: at Grand Rapids
x-June 14: at Grand Rapids