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Lowell, Cleveland prevail in marathons

The AHL has employed a shootout for a season and a quarter in its history. Before Friday night, a shootout had never lasted more than 11 rounds.

Friday, Lowell outlasted Hartford in a classic goaltenders’ duel and Cleveland finally took care of Utah in shootouts that tested all of the participants’ stamina.

In Hartford, the Wolf Pack and Lock Monsters skated to a scoreless tie after 65 minutes. Brent Krahn made 30 saves for his fourth shutout in the past two weeks, and Steve Valiquette turned aside 40 shots to lower his league-leading goals-against average to 1.30.

Both goaltenders then survived 12 rounds of shooters without allowing goal, before Mike Zigomanis broke through on Lowell’s 13th attempt.

Krahn’s four shutouts are a Lock Monsters franchise record for a single season, and tie him for the league lead.

In Cleveland, the Barons and Grizzlies needed 16 rounds to decide their contest after Jarrod Skalde had tied the score for Utah with 36 seconds remaining in regulation.

Following a scoreless overtime, the teams traded turns until without deciding a winner until Garrett Stafford, who had extended the shootout by scoring in the ninth round, ended it in Cleveland’s favor.

David LeNeveu made 38 saves for the Grizzlies, not including his 13 stops in the shootout.

Elsewhere on Friday:
St. John’s edged Binghamton, 3-2, before 17,422 fans at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the largest crowd ever to see an AHL regular-season game in Canada… Manchester won for the 12th game in a row, improving to 19-1-0-0 on the year with a 3-2 win over Providence… Nathan Horton‘s second goal of the game came 46 seconds into overtime as San Antonio beat Houston, 2-1… Jarret Stoll had three goals and an assist for Edmonton in a 4-2 win over Cincinnati… Karl Goehring made 26 saves as Syracuse beat Albany, 1-0… Tom Lawson made 35 saves for Hershey and Curtis Sanford had 34 for Worcester, but the Bears prevailed in a shootout, 1-0… Cory Larose scored 2:28 into overtime to give Chicago a 2-1 win over Hamilton… Rob Collins scored twice for Bridgeport in a 4-3 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton… Shane Willis scored in overtime as Springfield beat Portland, 2-1… Todd Robinson scored the only goal and Joey MacDonald made 26 saves as Grand Rapids downed Milwaukee, 1-0… Of the 12 games played on Friday, 11 were decided by a single goal.