Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder blamed missing key chances as the reason for another semi-final loss to the Chiefs.
Second-half tries from Lelia Masaga and Aaron Cruden gave the Crusaders too big a mountain to climb at the end of the second half.
Israel Dagg hit back with a try but missed drop goal attempts from Dan Carter late on saw them miss out on returning to Super Rugby's biggest stage.
Blackadder's contract is up for renewal, with the Crusaders boss believed to be staying with the side.
However the pressure will now be cranked up on Blackadder to deliver, as the Crusaders wait for a first Super Rugby title since 2008 goes on.
"I'm probably disappointed that we didn't play with the width and the dominance in the areas that we would have liked," said Blackadder.
"It comes down to those critical decision-making errors on the field."
"It comes down to key moments. Probably the difference is that the Chiefs took their two (tryscoring) opportunities and we didn't quite nail ours."