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ONE STEP CLOSER


HAMILTON, Ontario
– Down 3-1 heading into the third, the Grand Rapids Griffins battled back with goals from Evan McGrath and Matt Ellis late in the game and earned a 4-3 shootout victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs Wednesday night at Copps Coliseum.

The win breaks the Griffins season-high eight-game road losing streak and reduces their magic number to three points over Peoria, putting them in position to clinch their ninth playoff berth in 11 seasons this Friday with another tilt in Hamilton against the Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m.

The Griffins jumped to an early lead just 2:31 into the contest when Tony Voce fired a shot from the right circle that redirected through a crowded goal mouth and past Yann Danis.

Hamilton battled back during the middle frame and scored two quick goals to gain a 2-1 edge. First, former Griffin Eric Manlow centered the puck to Maxim Lapierre who tipped a backhander over Jimmy Howard’s glove at 3:34, shortly followed by a bouncing lamp lighter from Jonathan Ferland at 4:17.

The nightmarish second period continued for Grand Rapids at the 15:00 mark as Corey Locke fed a loose puck to the top of the right circle, where Matt D’Agostini slid a shot through traffic and over the goal line.

The grim situation turned for the better as McGrath started the comeback at 13:39 of the final period off assists from Ryan Oulahen and Matt Hussey, before he helped Ellis pound in the equalizer from the right doorstep at 17:09.

Shooting last in the five-rounder, Kip Miller blew one past the goaltender to seal the victory for Grand Rapids while McGrath and Jonathan Ericsson also scored.

The Griffins finally broke through the wall better known as Danis, who stopped 24 shots on the night while Howard denied 25 before halting three out of five Hamilton attempts in the shootout.



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