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ROBINSON TALLIES 500 IN 5-2 LOSS

HAMILTON, Ont. –The Grand Rapids Griffins (18-14-1-1) dropped their franchise-record eighth consecutive decision (0-7-0-1) on Friday night to the Hamilton Bulldogs (15-16-4-3) 5-2 at Copps Coliseum.

Hamilton opened the scoring with a power play goal by James Sanford ay 7:54 of the opening period. Tomas Plekanec’s pass into the crease pinballed through traffic before settling on Sanford’s stick. With the Griffins netminder on the far side of the cage, Sanford easily backhanded the puck into the net.

Chris Higgins added the first of his two goals on a power play four minutes into the second period to make the score 2-0. Corey Locke’s shot rang off the post and ricocheted to Higgins. Higgins promptly popped the puck into an open net.

Steve Ott opened a 3-0 lead at 12:14 of the middle frame when he scored on a breakaway.

With the Griffins enjoying a man advantage, the Griffins narrowed the margin to 3-1 with Todd Robinson’s 500th pro point. Robinson’s goal snapped the Griffins’ scoreless spell at 107:33, dating back to Dec. 28 against Cincinnati. As a pro, Robinson has amassed 139 goals and 361 assists to total 500 points. Robinson shot the puck into a scrum in front of the Hamilton cage. The puck bounced off a Hamilton defenseman and past Yann Danis at 17:56 of the second period.

In an effort to rally the team, Drew MacIntyre replaced Joey MacDonald to start the third period. MacIntyre yielded two goals in the first four minutes of the period. MacDonald stopped 20 shots in two periods extending his winless streak to seven games.

Higgins tallied his second goal of the game at 1:53. Locke scored when he steered Raitis Ivanans’ shot from the point past MacIntyre at 3:45.

Ryan Barnes capped the scoring at 6:59 of the third period to narrow the margin to 5-2. Paul Ballantyne recorded his first point of the season with an assist on the goal.

After losing 5-4 on Dec. 28 and 5-0 on Dec. 31, the Griffins allowed five goals in their third straight game. The last time they allowed five goals in three consecutive games was April 8-14, 1999.

MacIntyre made six saves in relief of MacDonald. Danis stopped 25 shots for the win.

The Griffins will travel to Cleveland to play the Barons Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m.

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