Bulldogs lose playoff opener

The Hamilton Bulldogs were defeated by the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-3 on Friday night (April 17) in front of 2,830 fans at Copps Coliseum. Darren McCarty had a goal and an assist to give the Griffins a 1-0 lead in the American Hockey League best-of-seven opening playoff series.

Grand Rapids struck first, scoring at 5:01 of the opening period when McCarty deflected the puck past Hamilton goaltender Marc Denis. Hamilton tied the game just 58 seconds later when J.T. Wyman beat Jimmy Howard. Kyle Chipchura and Ryan Russell earned assists.

The Griffins regained the lead 51 seconds later on Joakim Andersson’s goal.

At 9:47 of the stanza Shawn Belle scored to tie the game. Brock Trotter fed a pass to David Desharnais but the puck bounced off Desharnais’ skate and slid to the blue line. Belle proceeded to hammer a slapshot from the point that sailed past Howard.

After a scoreless second period, Grand Rapids needed just nineteen seconds of the final stanza to
take a 3-2 lead. Justin Abdelkader fired a one-timer past Denis. The Griffins took a 4-2 lead at 13:06 when Darren Haydar tipped the puck past Denis.

The Bulldogs cut the lead to one goal at 18:08. Dan Jancevski shot towards the net was deflected by Desharnais into the net. Mike Glumac also earned an assist on the goal.

Hamilton was outshot 35-26.

The Bulldogs host Game 2 of their first round series against Grand Rapids tonight (Saturday) at 7 o’clock at Copps.