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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Jimmy Howard made 37 saves to help the Grand Rapids Griffins break their longest losing streak of the year with a 2-1 shootout win over the Rochester Americans at the Blue Cross Arena on Wednesday night. Howard stopped all but one of the shots he faced through 65 minutes of action and then stoned all five Rochester shooters in the shootout.

With the win, the Griffins (32-13-6-5) snapped a five-game losing streak and a four-game road losing streak, while the Amerks fall to 20-31-0-5 despite a stellar effort from Mike Brodeur, who stopped 27-of-28 shots through overtime and allowed only one goal, scored by Garrett Stafford, in the shootout.

Howard and Brodeur dueled through the first two periods and neither team was able to break the scoreless tie. It wasn’t until a Rochester power play early in the third period that the first goal was put on the scoreboard. With three seconds left on a penalty to Evan McGrath, Jordan Henry corralled a loose puck in the slot and backhanded it past Howard to put Rochester ahead 5:43 into the final period. Former Griffin Randall Gelech was credited with an assist on the power-play goal.

Francis Pare responded with a power-play goal of his own at the 11:00 mark of the third. On a point shot from Stafford, Pare used the shaft of his stick to redirect the puck into the top corner of the net, tying the game at 1-1. Following the two goals, the netminders went back to controlling the game and did not allow another goal through 14 more minutes of play, sending the game into a shootout.

The Amerks had their best chance in the shootout on their first shot, but Janis Sprukts’s shot glanced off the right post. After that, Howard did all the work, making three straight pad saves to keep the extra session scoreless into the fourth round. Then it was Stafford’s turn to unleash a wrist shot from the slot that rang off the inside of the right post and into the net for a 1-0 Griffins’ advantage. Shawn Matthias was the last shooter for Rochester, but Howard turned away his backhand attempt to seal the win for Grand Rapids.

Three Stars: 1. RCH Henry (Goal); 2. GR Pare (Goal); 3. RCH Gelech (Assist) 
 

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