GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – A three-goal second period by the newly-formed forward line of Mike Blunden, Gabriel Dumont and Sven Andrighetto gave the Hamilton Bulldogs a two-goal lead heading into the third period, then the ‘Dogs (31-33-1-5) added another in the final frame en route to a 4-1 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins (44-21-2-4) on Friday evening at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Grand Rapids forward David McIntyre put his team ahead 1-0 at 14:08 of the opening frame when he beat Hamilton goaltender Dustin Tokarski with a wrist shot from the high slot. Forward Jordin Tootoo and defenceman Gleason Fournier had assists on the play.
The Bulldogs came out firing in the second period, with Dumont potting his team-leading 18th goal of the season just 55 seconds into the middle frame, with assists from Andrighetto and Blunden.
Less than four minutes later, Dumont hit a streaking Blunden with a perfect pass on a drive to the net and Blunden buried a wrist shot past Grand Rapids goaltender Petr Mrazek for his 17th goal of the season to give Hamilton a 2-1 lead.
And less than four minutes after that, at 8:11 of the second period, Andrighetto unleashed a powerful slap shot that went off the far post and in to give the ‘Dogs a 3-1 lead. His 17th goal of the season was unassisted.
The Griffins pressed to close the gap in the third period, outshooting the Bulldogs 10-5, but Hamilton defenceman Greg Pateryn notched an empty-net goal with 3:13 left in the game to seal the win, 4-1. Forward Martin St. Pierre and defenceman Davis Drewiske had assists.
Tokarski made 27 saves on 28 shots in the Bulldogs net in the win. Mzarek stopped 23 of 26 shots for the Griffins in the loss.
Hamilton went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Grand Rapids went 0-for-1.