11/11/2011 9:55 PM
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 8 at Hamilton Bulldogs 0
Nov. 11, 2011
HAMILTON, ONTARIO – The Grand Rapids Griffins’ offense exploded for eight goals, and goaltender Jordan Pearce made a handful of spectacular saves in a 8-0 dismantling of the Hamilton Bulldogs in front of 4,548 spectators at Copps Coliseum on Friday night.
In a display that showed off his athleticism, Pearce saw off all 29 shots he faced to record his second-ever shutout in a Griffins sweater. His teammates’ play at the other end of the ice was just as compelling. The red hot Jamie Johnson notched two goals and an assist, veterans Chris Conner and Doug Janik each had a goal and two assists, while Gustav Nyquist recorded three helpers on the night.
The Griffins were determined to get off to a fast start after losing their past two contests. Nyquist created the Griffins’ opening goal only 1:32 into the game, when he collected a loose puck behind the Bulldogs’ net and whipped it out front, where a falling Johnson was able to sweep home to extend his AHL career-best goal streak to five games.
On the night he celebrated his 20th birthday, Louis-Marc Aubry kept the party going just 68 seconds later when he corralled the rebound from a Janik drive, put a move on Hamilton goaltender Nathan Lawson, and backhanded the puck inside the right post for his second goal in as many games.
As the first intermission loomed, Pearce made a critical save to rob Hamilton’s Brian Willsie. He slid from left to right across the goal mouth to swat away the unmarked Willsie’s shot and deny Hamilton the opportunity to close in while on a late power play.
Ahead by two goals, the Griffins survived a furious push by Hamilton before extending their lead at 6:04 of the second frame. It began when Conner moved the puck quickly from the left point to Nyquist in the slot, and the rookie one-timed a pass to Johnson, who tapped home from the doorstep for his team-leading seventh goal of the season.
With Hamilton reeling, Conner struck for his sixth goal of the campaign at 9:49. The rebound from a Logan Pyett blast landed at his feet and the Livonia, Mich., native slid the puck into the net to put the Griffins firmly in control.
Grand Rapids was not interested in taking its foot off the pedal, and at 16:24 Francis Pare out muscled former Griffins defenseman Garrett Stafford for a loose puck, which created a two-on-one with he and Tomas Tatar. Pare’s slick centering feed left his defender and Lawson stranded, and Tatar tucked the puck into the wide open cage.
The Griffins rounded out the period with two more tallies while on a five-on-three man advantage in the final minute. Pare scored his first of the season at 19:01 with a tap in when the rebound of a Brian Lashoff bullet landed at his skates. Janik snagged the next goal 28 seconds later in similar fashion to put Grand Rapids up 7-0 heading into the final frame.
With the game well in hand, the third period passed without a penalty assessed to either team and only a solitary goal. Rookie Landon Ferraro notched his first professional goal when he jammed the puck across the line on a goal-mouth scramble after Janik had centered the puck from behind the Hamilton net.
Grand Rapids is now 6-7-0-0 on the season, while the Bulldogs drop to 5-7-1-0. Lawson took the loss on the night and stopped 34 of 41 shots as he was pulled in favor of Robert Mayer to start the third period.
Notes: The Griffins set a new franchise record for number of shots in a road game with 51, beating the previous record was 48 which had been achieved on four different occasions…The 8-0 score line tied a franchise record for largest margin of victory in a shutout…The Griffins are now 4-1 against their North Division rivals this season.
Three Stars: 1. GR Johnson (two goals, assist); 2. GR Janik (goal, two assists); 3. Pearce (W, shutout)
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