HAMILTON, Ont. - The Grand Rapids Griffins advanced to the AHL North Division final after defeating the Hamilton Bulldogs 4-1 Sunday.
Griffins defenceman Ville Leino scored once and added three assists as Grand Rapids eliminated the Bulldogs 4-2 in the series to claim their first playoff series win since 2006.
The Griffins will face the Manitoba Moose, who moved on to the final after eliminating the Toronto Marlies on Saturday.
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard quickly as forward Greg Stewart tipped in a pass from J.T. Wyman to make it 1-0 just nine seconds into the first period.
Grand Rapids evened the game back up when Darren Haydar scored on a 5-on-3 at 5:25.
Justin Abdelkader put the Griffins in front for good in the second period with a 45-foot shot for his AHL-high sixth goal of the playoffs.
Cory Emmerton added one more in the third for Grand Rapids and Leino tallied an empty-net goal with 38 seconds left to secure the win.
Griffins goaltender Jimmy Howard made 22 saves for the win while at the other end Marc Denis stopped 14 shots.