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NATURALS DON'T ALWAYS WIN


SYRACUSE, N.Y.
– Jamie Tardif became the third Griffin in franchise history to score three goals in a single period by netting a natural hat trick in the second. But despite his accomplishment the Syracuse Crunch handed the Grand Rapids Griffins a 5-3 loss Saturday night at the Onondaga County War Memorial.

The loss broke the Griffins 10-game winning streak against the Crunch and marked just the third time in franchise history – and the first in almost 10 years – that the Griffins lost in regulation despite getting a hat trick from one of their players. The last time was March 9, 1997, when Pavol Demitra scored three in a 6-4 loss at Orlando.

The Griffins will head to Rochester to battle the Americans tomorrow evening at 6:05 p.m

The Crunch opened the scoring at 4:05 of the first period. Steven Goertzen took a pass from Trevor Frischmon and fired a shot into the upper left corner past Stefan Liv from the top of the right circle.

Syracuse took a 2-0 lead early in the middle frame during a power play when former Griffin Ryan Keller set up Jeffery Szwez who jammed the puck over the goal line from in close at 1:23.

Fans then witnessed one of the rarest events in hockey courtesy of Tardif in just 6:11of action to give the Griffins a 3-2 lead. Only Tomas Kopecky (2/16/06) and Petr Schastlivy (11/17/01) have completed the feat before.

Tardif’s first came during a time when Grand Rapids seems to score at ease, the penalty kill. Dan Smith chipped the puck along the left boards where Ryan Oulahen picked it up and fed a pass to the rookie for a one-timer from the hashes during a 2-on-1 at the 4:00 mark.

Kyle Quincey fed a pass to Tardif for his second at 6:45, as Jeff Campbell assisted on his third at 10:11 when Tardif capped off his rare accomplishment by sliding the puck through Tomas Pooperle’s pads from the right side. But Joakim Lindstrom managed to net the equalizer for the Crunch before the period came to a close on a laser from the left circle that blew by Liv at 18:57. 

Syracuse regained the lead on a phantom goal at 9:58 of the final period. Alexandre Picard fired a shot that appeared to hit the cross bar, keeping the goal light dark. But when the next stoppage of play occurred about 30 seconds later, a long discussion among the refs and linesmen resulted in a goal being called to give the Crunch a 4-3 advantage.

Grand Rapids pulled Liv from the crease in the closing seconds while on the power play, allowing Goertzen to score a shorthanded empty netter with just one tick remaining. Liv finished the night with 29 saves and Popperle stopped 33.




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