HAMILTON – Grand Rapids Griffins captain Darren Haydar extended his season-high assist streak to five games with two helpers in a 3-1 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs in American Hockey League action Wednesday.
The Griffins have earned a point in five consecutive games (4-0-1) and the win keeps them atop the North Division standings.
Griffins forward Mattias Ritola opened the scoring with his team-leading 15th goal with 6:33 remaining in the second period. On a Griffins’ power play, Haydar controlled the puck in the left corner and sent a cross-crease pass to Ritola, who one-timed the pass into the back of the net
Haydar picked up his second assist of the game on Evan McGrath’s power-play goal, which came just 2:17 after Ritola scored. Haydar blasted a shot from the point that trickled through Desjardins’ pads and McGrath was in position to put home the rebound, giving Grand Rapids a 2-0 lead.
Howard’s shutout bid ended on Hamilton’s 30th shot, which came with 7:20 remaining in the third period. Ben Maxwell skated in on the right side and threw the puck into the crease, where Ryan Flinn hammered it into the left side of the net to bring the Bulldogs to within one at 2-1.
Jamie Tardif put the Griffins back up by two, 3-1, with his goal at of the third period. Off of a faceoff in the Hamilton zone, Jakub Kindl fired a shot from the point that Tardif redirected inside the right goalpost for his eighth goal of the season.
Jimmy Howard stopped 32 of 33 shots Grand Rapids (24-8-5-3), while Cedrick Desjardins made 35 saves for the Bulldogs (24-14-2-0).