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HATS OFF TO HAMILTON


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Hamilton Bulldogs received an early hat trick from David Desharnais before holding on for a 4-3 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday at Van Andel Arena.

The Griffins (24-29-2-1) clawed back from a 4-1 hole with a pair of third-period goals but were unable to net the equalizer, despite pulling Daniel Larsson in favor of an extra attacker and controlling the puck in the Hamilton zone for much of the final 1:14.

Grand Rapids, which was unable to maintain the four-game point streak earned during its recent road trip, will continue its three-in-three at home on Saturday when the Peoria Rivermen pay a 7 p.m. visit.

The Griffins’ inability to keep the puck in the Hamilton end in the opening minute proved costly for the home team, as Desharnais grabbed the puck in the neutral zone, headed in on a 2-on-1 and blistered a shot into the top right corner of Larsson’s net from the left side just 30 seconds into the contest.

Desharnais made it 2-0 at the 9:49 mark by crashing the net to bang home the rebound of a Tom Pyatt shot, but the Griffins would get on the board exactly seven minutes later. After Mattias Ritola flipped a long pass down the ice, Jan Mursak beat two Bulldogs to the puck along the right boards, darted toward the Hamilton net and slipped a backhand between Curtis Sanford’s pads to make it a one-goal game.

Desharnais completed his hat trick just 46 seconds into the middle frame, marking his second three-goal effort against the Griffins in less than 11 months (April 3, 2009 at Hamilton). Including Brock Trotter’s three goals versus Grand Rapids on Jan. 9, 2010, a Bulldog has recorded each of the last three hat tricks allowed by the Griffins.

The Bulldogs tallied an early goal for the third straight period just 1:42 into the final stanza, when a harmless-looking shot by Grant Stevenson from the right side snuck under the crossbar, giving Hamilton a 4-1 advantage. The Griffins got it back shortly thereafter, however, when Francis Pare’s centering pass during an odd-man rush was inadvertently redirected into the net by a backchecking Bulldog at 5:41.

Jeremy Williams cut the deficit to 4-3 at the 10:38 mark, taking a feed from Kris Newbury and snapping a wicked shot past Sanford from the left circle to ignite the crowd of 8,493, but Hamilton (35-14-3-5) held on to end its three-game slide.

Larsson made 30 saves in defeat, while Sanford made 23 stops for the win.

Three Stars: 1. HAM Desharnais (hat trick); 2. HAM Pyatt (three assists); 3. GR Mursak (goal)
 

Griffins Game Rewind
GriffVision Video Highlights
GriffVision Video Interviews: Larsson   Mursak   Fraser
WOOD Radio Highlights: Mursak goal   Bulldogs goal   Williams goal
Post-Game Sound Bites: Larsson   Mursak   Fraser
Photo Gallery
Official Game Report


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