03/13/2010 7:29 PM
HAMILTON, Ontario – Justin Abdelkader scored with just 35 seconds remaining to ultimately force a shootout, but the Grand Rapids Griffins fell by a 4-3 count against the Hamilton Bulldogs Saturday night at Copps Coliseum.
Despite the loss, Grand Rapids extended its point streak to four games (2-0-1-1) and claimed three of a possible four points during a two-game set against the AHL’s second-best team. The Griffins, who were outshot 78-42 during the two contests, also held the Bulldogs’ eighth-ranked power play unit scoreless through 10 chances over both games.
The Griffins (27-34-3-3) will travel to Rochester to complete a three-in-three stretch and play the third contest of a season-high six-game road trip tomorrow afternoon against the Americans at 3 p.m.
The Bulldogs (44-15-3-5) struck first on got on the board early just 2:26 into the contest. The AHL’s scoring leader among rookie defensemen, P.K. Subban held in a clearing attempt at the right point and fired a slap shot that soared through traffic and past Thomas McCollum.
The Griffins battled back and took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Patrick Rissmiller, who was appearing in his 600th professional contest, buried a wrist shot from the right circle off a pass from Brad May during a power play at 15:00 for his second goal in as many nights, before Mattias Ritola beat Curtis Sanford on a breakaway at 18:40.
Hamilton scored the tying goal early in the second when Shawn Belle sent a pass from the left point to the right doorstep, where David Desharnais pounded the puck in at 3:45 for the lone tally of the middle frame.
The Bulldogs gained a 3-2 lead when Dany Masse slid a rebound into the net off of Subban’s shot from the blueline after McCollum made the initial right pad save at 11:35 of the third period. The goal marked Masse’s first tally of the season in his 13th appearance for the Bulldogs.
Despite being shorthanded, Grand Rapids pulled McCollum in the waning moments of regulation. While providing intense offensive pressure, Logan Pyett sent a centering pass to Abdelkader, who put a shot between Sanford’s pads with just 35 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime and ultimately a shootout.
Jeremy Williams was the only Griffin to find the back of the net during the four-round duel, while Brock Trotter, Ben Maxwell and Ryan Russell all scored to give Hamilton the win.
McCollum matched his season high by making 40 saves on the night for Grand Rapids, while Sanford finished with 19 for Hamilton.
Three Stars: 1. HAM Desharnais (1 goal); 2. GR Rissmiller (1 goal, 1 assist); 3. HAM Maxwell (1 assist, SO goal)