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LIFE AFTER 40

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Donald MacLean continued his assault on the Griffins’ record book with two goals, pushing his AHL-leading total to 40, but the Hamilton Bulldogs overcame his lamp-lighting to grab a 3-2 win over Grand Rapids on Friday at Van Andel Arena.

The Griffins (38-14-1-3), who have suffered consecutive regulation losses at home for the first time in over 13 months – since Jan. 14-15, 2005 – will look to avenge the first of those defeats on Saturday, when they host Manitoba in a battle of the North Division’s top two teams. The Moose earned a 5-3 win at Van Andel Arena on Tuesday.

It took MacLean only 1:55 to write his name into the Griffins’ archives, as he blistered a one-timer from the top of the right circle past Olivier Michaud during a power play, setting a new team standard of 18 consecutive games with a point. Derek King set the record by scoring in 17 straight contests between Dec. 7, 2000 and Jan. 13, 2001. MacLean’s streak also ties Syracuse’s Mark Hartigan for the longest streak in the AHL this season.

Hamilton responded to take a 2-1 lead by the 13:53 mark of the period. At 3:13, Pierre Dagenais scored into a gaping net during a delayed penalty after the Griffins were unable to gain control of the puck, and Marc-Antoine Pouliot beat Jimmy Howard with a wrap-around just over 10 minutes later.

Grand Rapids had a golden opportunity to tie the score late in the period after being awarded 1:44 of a 5-on-3 power play, but the Dogs’ penalty killers did their job to maintain their one-goal advantage at the first intermission.

The visitors extended their margin to 3-1 midway through the second. After Kyle Quincey was stripped of the puck at center ice, Jean-Francois Jacques broke in alone on Howard and solved him with a shot that clanged off the left pipe and into the net at 9:37.

MacLean pulled the Griffins back to within one with just 24 seconds left in the frame, moving within six goals of Michel Picard’s single-season franchise record of 46, set in 1996-97. Eric Manlow won a fight for the puck along the end boards and sent a pass out front to MacLean, who fired a laser past Michaud from the slot.

Despite a 12-5 shot advantage over the final 20 minutes, the Griffins were unable to put the equalizer past Michaud, who finished with 34 saves. Howard made 23 stops on the night but saw his personal 11-game point streak (9-0-1-1) come to an end.


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