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MAC THE KNIFE

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – In a game which Grand Rapids dominated to the tune of a 41-17 advantage in shots, the Griffins relied on one of their patented two-goal rallies to squeeze out a 4-3 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena.

The last-place Bulldogs (8-17-0-2), whose only two wins in their previous 12 games had come at the Griffins’ expense, built a 3-1 lead in the second period before Grand Rapids (18-5-0-2) rattled off the final three goals. As a result, the Griffins, who maintain their one-point lead over Manitoba atop the North Division, earned their 13th come-from-behind win this season and their sixth when trailing by two goals. They’ll take aim at a third straight win when they visit the Milwaukee Admirals on Friday.

The teams traded power play goals in the early going, starting with Duncan Milroy’s goal off a turnover in the Griffins’ end at 4:12. Grand Rapids got it back just 41 seconds later, following holding and boarding minors assessed against Hamilton’s Maxim Lapierre. Off the ensuing faceoff in the Bulldogs’ zone, it took Donald MacLean all of three seconds to win control of the puck low in the right circle and rip a shot past netminder Yann Denis.

Late in the period, the Griffins’ inability to capitalize on 1:19 of a 5-on-3 power play would prove costly. Following another turnover inside the Grand Rapids blueline, Jean-Francois Jacques sent a pass across the crease to Corey Locke, who tapped a shot past Joey MacDonald at 17:27. That second Hamilton goal, on just its fourth shot of the night, gave the Bulldogs a one-goal lead at the break despite a 15-6 deficit in shots.

The visitors extended their advantage to 3-1 at the 2:26 mark of the middle period when Marc-Antoine Pouliot converted a rebound on his team’s eighth shot, but the Griffins would rally to tie the score before the intermission.

During a Griffins power play, a no-look pass by Valtteri Filppula from behind the net found a wide-open Nate DiCasmirro, who deked Denis and backhanded a shot that clanged off the right post before trickling across the line at 9:44. DiCasmirro then set up MacLean’s second of the game at 17:07, authoring a pass from the end boards that MacLean redirected inside the left post to knot the score.

Grand Rapids’ third-period dominance reared its head again to give the Griffins their first lead of the game, 4-3, and the decisive goal at the 4:03 mark of the period. After the Bulldogs failed to clear their zone, the loose puck came out to a streaking Kent McDonell, who teed one up from top of the right circle and blistered a shot past Denis’ glove.

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