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GRIFFINS CLAIM SECOND PLACE IN OT LOSS


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.
– Over nine thousand fans battled through snow and icy roads on Friday to watch Chris Chelios and the Grand Rapids Griffins earn a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Toronto Marlies at Van Andel Arena.

Just four seconds after an overtime penalty to Chelios had expired, Jeremy Williams lifted a shot over Daniel Larsson’s glove from the high slot at 1:43 to give the visitors the victory. Still, the Griffins climbed into sole possession of second place in the North Division while extending their overall point streak to six games (4-0-1-1) and their home point streak to eight games (5-0-1-2).

The Griffins (12-5-3-3), now within four points of first-place Manitoba, will host the Hamilton Bulldogs in an 8 p.m. start on Saturday, in what is scheduled to be the final game of Chelios’ conditioning stint.

Following a scoreless first period, the Marlies (10-9-0-2) opened the scoring during a power play 2:17 into the second. From the right of the net, Kris Newbury fed a centering pass to Jiri Tlusty, who redirected the puck past Larsson to snap the netminder’s shutout streak at 94:47.

The Griffins pulled even during their own advantage at the 17:26 mark. From the top of the right circle, Garrett Stafford sent a backdoor pass to Darren Helm, whose quick shot found the back of Justin Pogge’s wide-open cage and ignited the crowd of 9,117. But Toronto again took the lead with just 28.8 seconds left before intermission. During a goal-mouth scramble, Larsson dove backwards to try to cover the puck, but Newbury crashed the crease to score on second effort.

Chelios, who at 46 years of age became the oldest player in the 73-year history of the AHL, earned an assist midway through the third period to help Grand Rapids knot the score at 2-2. His pass broke the Griffins out of their zone, and after Jamie Tardif took Justin Abdelkader’s pass at the blueline, Tardif blistered a shot from the top of the right circle that bounced off Pogge’s arm before trickling over the line at 8:32.

A series of penalties late in regulation resulted in a pair of power play opportunities for each team, but neither was able to capitalize, sending the contest to overtime.

Larsson submitted another outstanding performance despite the loss, making a season-high 38 saves on 41 shots, while Pogge was forced to stop only 22 shots to claim the win.

Three Stars: 1. TOR Williams (game-winning goal, assist); 2. TOR Newbury (goal, 2 assists); 3. GR Tardif (goal)
 

Griffins Game Rewind
 GriffVision Video Highlights
 WOOD Radio Highlights: 1 2 3
 Post-Game Sound Bites: 1 2 3 4
 Photo Gallery
 Official Game Report


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