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      Still Alive- Syracuse Crunch forces Game 5 with win over Griffins

      The Syracuse Crunch is still alive.

      After a hard fought, entertaining game in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Friday the Syracuse Crunch emerged with a 3-2 victory and its first win of the Calder Cup Finals.

      Grand Rapids still leads the series 3-1.

      Game 5 is Saturday night in Grand Rapids and if the Griffins win, they win The Calder Cup and end Syracuse's season.

      But here's the other side of the coin:

      If Syracuse wins on Saturday, that forces Game 6....in Syracuse....on Tuesday night at the War Memorial.

      Certainly the team is taking it one game at a time, but that would set the stage for an epic finish to the Finals.

      Early on though in Game 4, Crunch fans were a bit nervous, as Tomas Tatar spotted the Griffins a 1-0 lead.

      That was quickly erased less than two minutes later by Brett Connolly on a breakaway opportunity. Before the first period was over though, Jan Mursak delivered Grand Rapids back to a 2-1 lead.

      With the Griffins leading 2-1, Ondrej Palat would tie things up for the Crunch with five minutes left in the 2nd period. Two minutes later, the Crunch would take their first lead of the game with a goal from Richard Panik.

      On the defensive side of the game, Crunch Captain Mike Angelidis said that the team needed to cut down on the Griffinsâ?? time and space on the puck if they were going to win game 4. And, they did just that tonight. Brendan Mikkelson, made a fantastic defensive stop on Tomas Jurcoâ??s breakaway opportunity in the 3rd period. He kept up with Jurco skate for skate without committing a penalty in front of the Crunchâ??s goal as the Griffins looked desperate to tie things up and force overtime in the winding minutes of game 4. Cedrick DesJardins was stellar, with 26 saves on the night.

      With 17 seconds left, it looked like the Griffins had tied things up. But as officials went to the video replay, it showed that the puck had been kicked into the goal. Unable to breakdown the Crunch defense and score, the Griffins showed their frustrations by picking a fight with the Crunch players in the waning moments.

      After the skirmish was broken up, the Crunch would easily hold off the Griffins for eight seconds to force a Game 5 in this exciting Calder Cup Finals series.

      Game 5 is at 7 p.m. in Grand Rapids.