Corey Locke had two goals, including his first-career shorthanded marker and the game-winning tally, to lead the Hamilton Bulldogs to a 4-1 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday night at Copps Coliseum. The win was Hamilton’s third straight and improves their American Hockey League record to 13-14-1-5 on the season.
Locke’s two goals, within a span of 2:04, gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead after the first period. At the 5:27 mark, Locke capitalized on a giveaway by Grand Rapids’ netminder Jimmy Howard to open the scoring with his ninth goal of the season into an open net. The marker was also the Dogs’ first shorthanded tally of the season. Locke then potted his second tally of the game at 7:31 of the frame from Duncan Milroy and Mathieu Carle.
Hamilton needed just 34 seconds of the middle stanza to strike again. Greg Stewart tipped home Eric Manlow’s shot from the point to make the score 3-0. It was Stewart’s sixth goal of the campaign.
Grand Rapids got onto the score sheet at 15:12 of the final period when Darren Helm scored to cut Hamilton’s lead to 3-1. Ajay Baines put the game away for the Bulldogs by scoring into an empty net with just 37 seconds remaining in the contest.
The Bulldogs did not have a power-play opportunity in the game but went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Jaroslav Halak stopped 24 of 25 shots to earn the win for the Bulldogs and has now allowed only two goals in his last three games. Halak’s counterpart, Jimmy Howard, stopped 25 of 28 shots.
The Bulldogs return to action tonight (Jan. 5) when they travel to the Ricoh Coliseum to take on division rivals the Toronto Marlies. Fans can listen to every Bulldogs’ game on 820 CHAM.
The Bulldogs return home to Copps Coliseum on Wednesday (Jan. 9) for an inter-conference tilt with the Binghamton Senators at 7:30 p.m.
1. HAM – Corey Locke-9 (unassisted) – 5:27 (sh)
2. HAM – Corey Locke-10 (Duncan Milroy, Mathieu Carle) – 7:31
3. HAM – Greg Stewart-6 (Eric Manlow, Matt D’Agostini) – 0:34
4. GRA – Darren Helm-4 (Evan McGrath, Jamie Tardif) – 15:12
5. HAM – Ajay Baines-2 (Andrew Archer, Eric Manlow) – 19:23 (en)
Grand Rapids: 8-7-10–25