The Hamilton Bulldogs defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins 6-3 on Friday night (April 3) in front of 5,085 appreciative hometown fans. David Desharnais recorded a hat-trick and an assist to lead the Bulldogs to victory.
The Bulldogs opened the game’s scoring by setting a franchise record for the fastest goal to start a game with Brock Trotter’s marker nine seconds into the contest. Desharnais sent a pass to Trotter who fired a shot past a sprawling Grand Rapids goaltender Jimmy Howard. Mike Glumac also added an assist.
The Griffins tied the game 1-1, 35 seconds into the middle stanza. Francis Lemieux sent a pass into the slot where Darren Helm was positioned. Helm released a shot that was deflected by Darren McCarty. The puck fluttered past Hamilton goaltender Cedrick Desjardins.
The Bulldogs regained the lead at 15:15 of the period. Trotter gained control of the puck behind Grand Rapids’ net before sending a pass in front to Desharnais who one-timed his shot to beat Howard.
Hamilton took a 3-1 lead 35 seconds into the final frame. Brock Trotter waited patiently with the puck before sending a pass behind Howard and onto the stick of Desharnais. Howard was out of position, allowing Desharnais to shoot the puck into an empty net.
Justin Abdelkader cut the lead to one at 6:17 of the period with a power-play marker. Mattias Ritola received a pass from Helm before sending the puck to Abdelkader, who was in front of the net. Abdelkader stuffed the puck under the pads of Desjardins for the goal. While on the power play, Grand Rapids tied the game at 13:11. Darren Haydar received a pass from Brian Lashoff before blasting a shot from the point. The shot trickled through the pads of Desjardins.
With a 5-on-3 power-play, the ’Dogs took a 4-3 lead at 15:44. Ben Maxwell sent a pass across the point to Yannick Weber, who blasted a shot through traffic and past Howard. Desharnais recorded his hat-trick goal at 16:35 while on the power play. Weber blasted a shot on net that was saved by Howard. The rebound bounced around in front of the net before Desharnais snapped a shot past Howard.
Alex Henry was awarded an empty net goal at 19:33. Henry shot the puck towards the empty Grand Rapids goal but a Griffins player closed his hand on the puck in the crease. This resulted in Henry’s automatic goal.
The Bulldogs host the Grand Rapids Griffins in a rematch tonight (Saturday) at Copps Coliseum with puck drop scheduled for 7:00 p.m.