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After further review, Griffins extend streak

( — Goals were so hard to come by at Van Andel Arena on Friday that few knew for sure that the only one had been scored until six and a half minutes of real time had passed. Regardless of how it happened, though, the Grand Rapids Griffins extended their team-record winning streak at Van Andel Arena to 14 games with an incredible 1-0 overtime victory against the Lake Erie Monsters.

With 2:52 left in a frantic 3-on-3 overtime, Nick Jensen sped into the Monsters’ zone and teed up a blistering slap shot from the top of the right circle that many thought glanced harmlessly off the iron, although the Griffins’ bench immediately erupted. As play continued, Jensen gestured to one of the referees that he thought it was a good goal, but since there wasn’t a stoppage until the five-minute extra frame expired nearly three minutes later, the referees had no opportunity to review the overhead replay.

So as 8,067 fans were awaiting the start of a shootout, the referees were reviewing the replay at the scorer’s table. After several minutes, they emerged and signaled a goal, and the goal horn sounded for a delighted but understandably confused crowd.

With the win – their 21st in their last 25 games – the Griffins improved to 23-12-0-1 and put their previous record home winning streak of 10 games further into the rearview mirror.

A combined 66 shots during regulation couldn’t determine a winner, much less light even one lamp. Brad Thiessen turned away all 38 pucks that the Griffins launched toward him while Jared Coreau made 28 saves, including a left-toe stop at the final buzzer that stifled Lake Erie’s bid to end it, forcing the second straight overtime between these two Central Division rivals.

The Griffins, who eventually prevailed over the Monsters in a 4-3 shootout decision in Grand Rapids last Saturday, won for the sixth time in their last seven clashes with Lake Erie (19-13-3-3), thanks to Coreau’s 30-save performance that netted his third shutout of the season. Coreau continues to reside among the AHL’s elite netminders in terms of wins (19, first), save percentage (0.933, second), goals against average (2.08, third) and shutouts (tied fourth).

Thiessen was brilliant in defeat for the Monsters, finishing with 38 saves.