GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Hamilton Bulldogs earned a decisive 5-2 victory against the Grand Rapids Griffins in the first of two back-to-back games at Van Andel Arena.
Olivier Fortier gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead with 5:15 left in the first period. Fortier’s seventh of the season, which was assisted by Andreas Engqvist and Frederic St-Denis, came on the power play. Then, with just over one minute left in the first period, Chris Minard tucked Chris Conner’s saucer pass past Hamilton goaltender Nathan Lawson to tie the game at 1.
Brian Willsie ripped a shot over Grand Rapids starting goalie Tom McCollum’s shoulder for the ‘Dogs second power play goal of the night at 7:14 into the second period. Just 1:24 later and on another power play, Ian Schultz played the puck in front of the net, allowing Engqvist to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead. Zack FitzGerald was served with a match misconduct following a heated discussion with Garnet Exelby. But the ‘Dogs took advantage of this 4-on-4 opportunity with Schultz knocking Gabriel Dumont’s rebound past McCollum for his third of the season, and his first goal in 14 games.
With 3:15 left in the second period, Philippe Lefebvre made it 5-1 on a delayed penalty call against the Griffins. Lefebvre completed a tic-tac-toe play from Dumont and Philip DeSimone to snap a 9-game pointless streak and an 11-game goalless streak.
Jordan Pearce took over the Griffins’ net for the third period. Grand Rapids stopped the ‘Dogs at four unanswered goals with a shorthanded top-shelf goal by Doug Janik at 14:43 into the third period. Hamilton’s 5-2 win is their first victory in four games against the Griffins this season. The final shots tallied in at 29-28 for Grand Rapids.
The Bulldogs face the Griffins again TOMORROW, Saturday, February 4th, 2012, at 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena. All Hamilton Bulldogs games can be heard live on AM 820 CHAM or on hamiltonbulldogs.com, or seen live on ahllive.com beginning with the Pioneer Pre-Game Show 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time.
* courtesy Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Club