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PEORIA PREVAILS IN SHOOTOUT


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Garrett Stafford’s power play goal late in the second period ensured that the Grand Rapids Griffins would begin the second half of their regular season schedule with a point, but the Peoria Rivermen prevailed in 2-1 shootout decision on Saturday at Van Andel Arena.

The Griffins (15-19-2-5) will continue their four-game home stand next week by entertaining the Rochester Americans on Wednesday and Friday. Game time each night is 7 p.m.

Peoria (20-11-4-3) scored its lone goal of regulation at the 12:16 mark of the opening period. Steve Wagner tried a shot from close range that Adam Berkhoel turned aside, but Martin Kariya pounced on the right-side rebound and popped the puck into a gaping net.

The Griffins netted the equalizer with four minutes left in the second period thanks to the combined efforts of Stafford and Mark Cullen. Stafford carried the puck up the left side and into the Rivermen zone before feathering a centering pass to Cullen, who instantly dropped the puck back to Stafford. The defenseman skated across the slot and lifted a shot over Chris Beckford-Tseu from the right circle.

With the teams tied at one goal and 24 shots apiece through the overtime session, Peoria received shootout tallies from Jean-Guy Trudel, Nikolay Lemtyugov and Micki DuPont, while Cullen was the only Griffins shooter able to solve Beckford-Tseu.

Berkhoel finished with 23 saves in one of his finest performances of the season, and Beckford-Tseu earned the victory with an identical number of stops.


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