Syracuse Crunch earns first home Calder Cup Final win, cuts series deficit at 2-1

The Syracuse Crunch celebrates its 5-3 Game 3 win over Grand Rapids (Matt Hauswirth)

Syracuse remains perfect on home ice in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

That mark now at 10-0 after the hometown hockey team beat Grand Rapids 5-3 in front of 5,996 fans at the War Memorial on Wednesday night.

Grand Rapids' series lead is now cut to 2-1, with Game 4 coming up on Friday.

Syracuse struck first when Byron Froese wrapped around the net to send home the rebound from a Slater Koekkoek shot at seven minutes into the game.

Not to be outdone, just moments later, Tyler Bertuzzi sent home a rebound that knotted the game at 1.

Tyler is the nephew of longtime NHL player Todd Bertuzzi.

After that, Syracuse made its move.

Joel Vermin found the back of the net twice, in completely different ways to send Syracuse into the locker room with a 3-1 lead after the first period.

From there, Syracuse never looked back.

Mike McKenna was outstanding, 32 saves continuing his sterling playoff performances.

The Crunch added goals from Tye McGinn and Cory Conacher to round out the five goals scored.

Syracuse earned the win without its veteran captain, Erik Condra, who is day-to-day with a lower body injury.

"Condra eats up a lot of minutes," Crunch left winger Tye McGinn said. "He's a big part of this team. We were without him tonight. I thought guys really stepped up and took his minutes. They really did a good job tonight."

"We have a pretty good lineup," Syracuse right winger Joel Vermin stated. "Of course, we miss him. He's a pretty good player. But, I mean, it gives a chance to other players to step up. I think the guys did a good job tonight."

Syracuse also guarantees a Game 5 on Saturday night at the War Memorial and with one more win, they'll head back to Grand Rapids for at least Game 6 next week.

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