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12/30/2011 9:02 PM -

Peoria Rivermen 4 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 3 OT

Dec. 30, 2011

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – An unfortunate bounce and a former Griffin joined forces to hand Grand Rapids a franchise-record third straight overtime loss on Friday, a 4-3 setback to the Peoria Rivermen at Van Andel Arena.

After the Rivermen tied matters with 3:02 left in regulation on a power play goal that deflected off the stick of Griffins defenseman Doug Janik and past Joey MacDonald, ex-Grand Rapids blueliner Danny Syvret completed the visitors’ unlikely comeback by scoring with just 11 seconds remaining in overtime.

The Griffins, who despite the loss have now earned points in 10 of their last 12 games (5-2-3-2), will close out 2011 with their 15th annual New Year’s Eve Celebration. Saturday’s game against the Milwaukee Admirals will feature a special 6 p.m. start.

While Peoria’s Ben Bishop turned away all 16 shots he saw during the opening period, his teammates scored twice on 11 tries against Jordan Pearce. Tyler Shattock banked a shot off Pearce’s backside from the end boards at the 13:51 mark, and Cade Fairchild scored from the top of the circles with just 22 seconds left in the period, making Pearce pay for a pass up the right boards that was intercepted by Jay Barriball at the half-wall and quickly fed to Fairchild.

A beautiful individual effort by Tomas Tatar set up the Griffins’ first goal 4:14 into the second period. Picking off a pass atop the right circle, Tatar drove towards the net, toe-dragged around a prone defender and sent a feed across the slot to Francis Pare, who chipped the puck into a yawning cage from the left side. Pare’s goal was the 69th of his Griffins career, tying him with Matt Ellis for sixth place on the franchise’s all-time list.

Brendan Smith potted the shorthanded equalizer 2:20 later, finishing off a 2-on-0 in front of the Peoria goal. Pare fought for the puck along the left boards and centered a pass through traffic to Jamie Johnson, who slipped a left-to-right pass across the top of the crease to Smith for an easy tap-in against the defenseless Bishop. The helper marked another milestone for Pare, who moved past Glen Metropolit into sole possession of sixth place all time on the club with 89 assists.

Grand Rapids (12-13-4-2) then made it three goals in less than five minutes and grabbed its first lead at 3-2 at the 9:08 mark, when Mitch Callahan pounced on a rebound and slipped the puck beneath Bishop.

Pearce and Bishop combined to halt the scoring until deep into the third period, when Pearce suffered an ankle injury with only 4:03 remaining and was relieved by the veteran MacDonald. Peoria (15-15-2-1) soon went on the power play and knotted the score at 3-3 only 61 seconds after MacDonald's entrance, as Hensick’s backdoor feed caromed off Janik’s stick and across the line.

After Syvret rang a shot off the post with just two seconds showing on the clock, the Griffins proceeded to overtime for the third straight game and the eighth time in their last 12 contests. Syvret made the most of his second chance late in the waning moments of the extra session, though, taking a pass in the high slot, turning and firing a shot that sailed past MacDonald’s glove and into the net.

Bishop stopped 40 of 43 for the win, while MacDonald suffered the loss on three saves. Pearce turned aside 27 shots in the no-decision.

Three Stars: 1. PEO Syvret (OT goal); 2. GR Pare (goal, assist); 3. PEO Shattock (goal)

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