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COMEBACK TRIFECTA



HAMILTON, Ont. – For the third consecutive game, the Grand Rapids Griffins came back after surrendering the first goal on their way to a 3-1 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs at Copps Coliseum Sunday.

Goalie Drew MacIntyre drew first star honors once again, following up Saturday night’s 27-save performance against Syracuse by stopping 32 of 33 Hamilton shots en route to the Griffins’ third win in three days and their 400th all-time regular season victory.

Despite being out-shot by a 27-14 margin over the first two periods, the Griffins killed off three crucial Bulldogs’ power plays in the second to ensure a scoreless tie heading into the final stanza.

Hamilton finally broke through MacIntyre at the 3:50 mark of the third period on left wing Brad Winchester’s goal from the top of the circle, assisted by Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Jeff Paul, to take a 1-0 lead.

The game took a dramatic turn after a checking-from-behind incident involving Hamilton’s Jean-Francois Jacques. The Bulldogs winger drew a five-minute major and a game misconduct, leading to a lengthy and pivotal Grand Rapids power play. The Griffins converted on the man-advantage with Nate DiCasmirro’s tip-in of a Derek Meech shot from the blue-line to tie the score at one with 10:53 remaining. Grand Rapids tied a franchise-best by scoring at least one power play goal in nine consecutive games, originally set in the fall of 2002.

Rookie forward Valtteri Filppula registered his fourth goal of the season with the eventual game-winner, putting a quick wrister on the top shelf past goaltender Jeff DesLauriers at the 14:01 mark.

AHL-leading scorer Jiri Hudler continued his early-season barrage, notching his 13th goal of the year by deflecting defenseman Kyle Quincey’s rocket shot from the point with 1:40 remaining in the contest. Hudler has registered at least one point in every game this season, extending his points streak to twelve and counting.

With the victory, Grand Rapids improved to 9-2-0-1 – pacing the North Division with 19 points, and continuing their best-ever AHL start. Only the 2000-01 IHL Griffins enjoyed a better season debut through twelve games (10-1-1). The team will return home for a full week of practice before returning to Hamilton for a Saturday night rematch against the Bulldogs. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Copps Coliseum.


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