The Hamilton Bulldogs went out winners.
The Bulldogs closed their American Hockey League regular season with a 3-2 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Sunday (April 15).
With a crowd of 4,376 in the seats at Copps Coliseum, Hamilton took a 1-0 lead at 7:54 of the first period. Blake Geoffrion scored his sixth goal of the season, beating netminder Jordan Pearce while the hosts were on a power play.
With 3:08 left in the period, Joe Callahan put the Bulldogs up 2-0 with a shorthanded goal, his third marker of the season. Andreas Engqvist also earned his second assist of the night on the play.
Tom McCollum took over netminding chores in the Grand Rapids net to start the second stanza. The Griffins cut into Hamilton’s lead at 4:23 of the period, when Brian Lashoff tucked the puck past goalie Robert Mayer. The visitors from Grand Rapids tied the game with 2:51 on the clock. Jamie Johnson sent Mayer’s toe-save rebound up high to score his 21st of the season.
With overtime just 43 seconds away, Aarron Palushaj gave the ‘Dogs the 3-2 victory scoring his 15th goal of the season on the power play. Brian Willsie earned an assist on the play, making him the Bulldogs’ leading scorer for 2011-12. Willsie finished the campaign with 44 points in 68 games. His 18 goals and 26 assists produced one point more than Engqvist’s 20 goals and 23 assists in 60 games.
Mayer faced 31 shots in the game while Hamilton tested the Grand Rapids netminders 26 times.