GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Hamilton Bulldogs saw their season-high four-game winning streak come to an end as their second period comeback fell short of overtaking the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Griffins made it 1-0 on a first period power play opportunity, with Gustav Nyquist’s back-and-forth stickhandling beating Bulldogs netminder Robert Mayer. With just 24 seconds to go in the first period, the Griffins took advantage of a 2-on-1 chance following a Hamilton power play to double their lead, with Chris Conner scoring his tenth goal of the season.
Grand Rapids took a 3-0 lead when Brendan Smith persisted and scored, shooting a third time following two power play glove saves by Mayer at 8:10 in the second period. At 3:40 in the second stanza, Joonas Nattinen put Hamilton on the board, jamming a loose puck past Grand Rapids goaltender Ty Conklin to cut the Griffins’ lead to 3-1. Then, with just 0.7 seconds left in the second period, Blake Geoffrion tapped in Garrett Stafford’s shot on the 5-on-3 to continue the Bulldogs’ comeback. The period would end with the Griffins leading 3-2 on the scoreboard and 32-15 on the shot clock.
But the Griffins would keep the Bulldogs at bay during the third period and confirmed their victory with an empty net goal from Tomas Tatar with 22 seconds left in the game to make it a 4-2 final. Mayer was tested a total of 44 times while Conklin faced 24 shots.
The Bulldogs will now travel to Montreal to take on the St. John’s IceCaps in a home game at the Bell Centre on Friday, February 24th, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the ‘Dogs’ home game at the Bell Centre in Montreal are available through evenko and the Bell Centre box office. For more information, please visit evenko.com or call 1-877-668-8269 or 514-790-2525
* courtesy Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Club