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GRIFFINS AVOID BULLDOGS' BITE


HAMILTON, Ontario
– Jamie Tardif notched two goals and an assist to lead the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 5-3 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs on Wednesday at Copps Coliseum.

The win pushes the Griffins’ road record to a perfect 4-0 for the second time in team history, topped only by a 7-0 streak to kick off the 2004-05 campaign. The Griffins (4-2-0-0) will be tested in enemy territory again in Peoria on Saturday as they do battle with the Rivermen at 8 p.m. EDT.

Hamilton (3-3-0-1), the defending Calder Cup champion, drew first blood early in Wednesday’s game when Cory Urquhart fired a wrist shot from deep in the left circle past Jimmy Howard at 4:19. Grand Rapids managed to even the scoreboard later that period on a play started by an Evan McGrath wrist shot from 18 feet. Though Yann Danis initially stopped McGrath, the disc trickled behind the Hamilton goaltender. Lying six inches in front of the goal line, the puck was slammed home by Tardif with 1:47 showing on the clock.
 
The Griffins added two goals in rapid-fire fashion to open the middle frame for a 3-1 edge. A Mark Cullen pass from the right wing found Carl Corazzini with a clear shot from point-blank range to Danis’ right at 1:09. Grand Rapids required only 28 more seconds to net its third goal of the evening. Tardif intercepted a Hamilton pass in the neutral zone, swooped into the right circle and sent an unassisted laser past Danis for his second goal of the contest.

The Bulldogs refused to go quietly, however, as Corey Locke scooped up the rebound from a Grand Rapids shot and sped up center ice with Duncan Milroy to his right soon after the game’s midpoint. Locke took advantage of a two-on-two situation and dished the disc to Milroy at the last second for a top-shelf goal past Howard’s left shoulder. The Griffins reclaimed a two-goal lead heading into the final frame, though, thanks to a Mark Hartigan goal 1:36 before the horn sounded. Charging the net from the left wing, Randall Gelech faked left and backhanded a pass to Hartigan on the right doorstep for a 4-2 edge.

McGrath lit the lamp for the first time this season to provide a three-goal Grand Rapids lead early in the third period, yet Hamilton again hung tough as Jonathan Ferland converted a power play goal at 6:54. In the end, Hamilton’s rally fell short, and Ferland’s tally served only to draw the final count to 5-3.

The Griffins outshot the Bulldogs 43-26 as Danis made 38 saves, while Howard stopped 23 Hamilton shots.

Griffins Game Rewind
WOOD Radio Highlights: 1 2 3
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