Hamilton Bulldogs 5 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2
Feb. 3, 2012
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A four-goal barrage during the second period powered the Hamilton Bulldogs to a 5-2 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday at Van Andel Arena, giving the Bulldogs their first victory in four tries against the Griffins this season.
In a game marked by a constant parade to the penalty box, Hamilton scored on three of its eight power play chances while holding Grand Rapids scoreless in seven attempts. The 15 combined power play opportunities and eight opponent chances both tied Griffins season highs established twice before.
The Griffins (18-18-4-4), who saw the Bulldogs (20-19-1-4) leap over them by a point in the North Division standings, will have an immediate shot at redemption on Saturday when they host a rematch at 7 p.m.
Hamilton struck first during a power play when Olivier Fortier put a shot through Tom McCollum’s five hole from close range 14:45 into the contest, but Grand Rapids answered with a beautiful scoring play before the period ended. With the Griffins maintaining control in the Hamilton end after their own power play had expired, Jamie Johnson threaded a pass the width of the ice to Chris Conner along the right half-wall. Conner skated in a few steps before quickly feeding Chris Minard at the top of the crease for a tap-in past Nathan Lawson with just 1:08 left in the frame.
Hamilton, which had been outscored 16-2 en route to logging its 0-3 record in the season series against the Griffins, scored three times in a 3:17 span of the second period to take a commanding 4-1 lead. Power play goals by Brian Willsie at 7:14 and Andreas Engqvist at 8:38 preceded a 4-on-4 tally by Ian Schultz at 10:31, as the Bulldogs doubled their season-long goal output against the Griffins in slightly more than half of the game.
Not yet done, the Bulldogs tallied their fourth goal of the period off the stick of Philippe Lefebvre during a delayed penalty at the 16:45 mark to take a 5-1 cushion into the final 20 minutes of play.
After surrendering five goals on 24 shots, McCollum gave way at the start of the third period to Jordan Pearce, who made his first appearance since injuring his ankle on Dec. 30. The Griffins stopped the bleeding with a shorthanded goal by Doug Janik from the right point with 5:17 remaining, but they could get no closer despite outshooting Hamilton 15-4 during the period.
Pearce, who turned aside the only four shots he faced, is slated to start tomorrow against Hamilton.
Notes: Brendan Smith’s assist on Janik’s goal extended his point streak to six games (3-4—7), matching Johnson and Francis Pare for the Griffins’ longest scoring run this season…With his 264th game as a Griffin, Pare tied Derek King for ninth place all time.
Three Stars: 1. HAM Lawson (W, 27 saves); 2. HAM St-Denis (three assists); 3. HAM Schultz (goal, assist)