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GRIFFINS TOPPED BY BULLDOGS

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2 at Hamilton Bulldogs 5

April 14, 2012

HAMILTON, Ontario –
The Hamilton Bulldogs erased an early two-goal deficit and skated to a 5-2 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday night at Copps Coliseum.

Grand Rapids (33-31-7-4) will end the regular season tomorrow on the road with a 3 p.m. contest against the Bulldogs (33-35-2-5) in the 10th meeting between the teams this season.

Willie Coetzee
opened the scoring for Grand Rapids just 2:20 into the opening frame, scoring his second goal in as many nights and 11th on the season. Brent Raedeke forced a turnover at center ice and moved the puck to Coetzee, who found some space between Robert Mayer’s legs to give the Griffins the lead.

The club extended that lead to 2-0 at 8:40 of the first period after taking advantage of the open ice provided while the teams were playing four-on-four. Fabian Brunnstrom dropped a pass to Doug Janik, who walked in on the Hamilton net and blasted a shot that Mayer steered away, but Tomas Tatar jumped on the rebound for his 24th goal of the season.

The Bulldogs tied up the game before the first period ended. Phil DeSimone got the home team on the board at 13:18 when he broke in on the Griffins net and slid the puck between the legs of goaltender Jordan Pearce, who made his first start since Feb. 18 at Chicago. Blake Geoffrion tied the game at two when he found a loose puck just outside of the crease and shoveled it past Pearce at 16:52.

Special teams aided Hamilton in going up two goals by the end of the second. Andreas Engqvist finished off a shorthanded rush by dragging the puck around Pearce and banking his 20th of the season off a Griffins defenseman at 7:30. The Hamilton power play struck at 17:44 when Aaron Palushaj potted his 14th of the season after a scramble in front of Pearce’s cage, giving the Bulldogs a 4-2 advantage.

With Mayer keeping the Griffins’ high-octane offense at bay at one end, Louis Leblanc put the game just out of reach on the other end when he beat Pearce with a backhand shot at 4:29 after being left alone in front of the net.

Mayer earned the win with 33 saves, including 15 in the third period. Pearce made 31 saves in the Griffins’ loss.

Three Stars: 1. HAM Geoffrion (goal, assist); 2. HAM Palushaj (goal, assist); 3. HAM Leblanc (goal, assist)

Griffins Game Rewind
ESPN Radio Highlights:  Coetzee Goal  Tatar Goal
Flickr Photo Gallery
Official Game Report



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