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POGGE CHECK

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Justin Pogge entered Friday’s game against the Grand Rapids Griffins with a 3.53 goals against average and a 0.868 save percentage, but the highly touted netminder left Van Andel Arena with both a record and his first pro win after backstopping the Toronto Marlies to a 4-0 decision.

Pogge’s 49 saves were the most ever for an opposing goalie in a shutout of the Griffins, eclipsing the 40-save effort of Josh Harding in a 1-0 Houston win on Nov. 6, 2004. The 2006 Canadian Hockey League Goaltender of the Year also authored the first opponent whitewash in a regular season contest at Van Andel Arena since March 18, 2005.

A wide-open first period was scoreless thanks to Pogge, who made 16 stops to help deny three Griffins power plays, and Grand Rapids’ Stefan Liv, who thwarted a breakaway by sniper Erik Westrum for one of his 10 saves during the frame.

The Marlies (4-4-1-0) received their first power play early in the second period and needed only 15 seconds to capitalize. From the corner, former Detroit Red Wing Boyd Devereaux sent a pass into the right circle to Jeremy Williams, who beat Liv with a slap shot at the 4:07 mark.

Toronto extended its lead with a shorthanded goal during a 2-on-1 break at 11:20, as Brett Engelhardt popped a rebound of Jeff Corey’s shot into a gaping net. Just 1:29 later, Liv’s night ended in favor of Jimmy Howard, after Kris Newbury sailed a shot over Liv’s shoulder from a stride beyond the blue line.

Howard stopped the seven shots he faced over the duration, but the Griffins could not dent Pogge despite launching 19 shots in the second period and another 14 in the third. Eric Himelfarb had the last best chance for Grand Rapids, ringing a shot off the left post with 3:15 left.

Newbury added a 70-foot shorthanded goal into an empty net with 1:44 remaining for the final margin.

The Griffins (3-3-1-1), who failed on eight power play chances, saw their home-ice record fall to 1-3-0-1. They’ll continue their eight-game homestand against the Philadelphia Phantoms in a 7 p.m. start on Saturday.


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