Bulldogs put themselves back in playoff series

The Hamilton Bulldogs picked up their first win in the American Hockey League’s opening playoff rounds with a 5-4 decision over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Monday night (April 20). Ryan White scored the game-winning goal and earned an assist for Hamilton as the Bulldogs cut the Grand Rapids’ lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

The Bulldogs struck first, scoring at 10:38 of the first period while on the power play. Mathieu Carle faked a shot at the right faceoff dot before feeding a pass to Yanick Lehoux, who beat goaltender Jimmy Howard.

The Griffins tied the game nine minutes later. Darren Haydar collected the puck before skating behind the net and sending a pass to Darren McCarty, who snapped a shot past sprawling Hamilton goaltender Marc Denis. Haydar’s assist was his 72nd in career playoff games and set a new AHL record for playoff assists.

Bulldogs captain Kyle Chipchura gave Hamilton a 2-1 lead at 3:38 of the second stanza. Ryan Russell fired a shot that was stopped by Howard. The rebound bounced in front of the net and onto the stick of Chipchura, who banged the puck into the net. Just under two minutes later, Mike Glumac sent the puck to Ben Maxwell, who skated into the Griffins’ zone. While defending against a Grand Rapids’ defenceman, Maxwell released a backhand shot that beat Howard.

Grand Rapids cut the lead to 3-2 at 8:21 of the middle frame. Brian Lashoff skated in from the right point before receiving a pass from Haydar. Lashoff rifled a shot that sailed past the glove of Denis.

Russell gave the Bulldogs a 4-2 lead at 9:32 of the third stanza. White sent a pass to the right point where Chad Anderson was positioned. Anderson released a wrist shot that was tipped by Russell to beat Howard on the glove side.

While on the power play, the Griffins cut the lead to one goal at 13:56 of the final frame. Lashoff received a pass from Garrett Stafford before blasting a shot on net. Ville Leino redirected the shot past Denis for the goal.

White regained the Bulldogs two-goal lead at 17:17 of the third frame. White stripped the puck off a Griffins defender earning a breakaway. White used a forehand-to-backhand move before sliding the puck between the legs of Howard.

Just 25 seconds later, the Griffins scored their fourth goal of the game to cut the lead to one goal. Haydar fired a shot that was saved by Denis. Denis could not control the rebound which Justin Abdelkader grabbed and fired past Denis.

The Bulldogs battle the Griffins in Game 4 on Wednesday (April 22) for a 7 p.m. game in Grand Rapids. All home playoff games can be seen on Cable 14. Fans can listen to every ‘Dogs game on TALK 820. Fans can also listen or watch at www.hamiltonbulldogs.com by clicking on the ‘AHL Live’ or ‘TALK 820’ icons on the Bulldogs website. All post-season radio and online broadcasts will begin with a pre-game show 30 minutes prior to each scheduled game-time.