Nilstorp, Stars Blank Griffins, Take 2-0 Series LeadMay 10, 2014
Brendan Ranford and Justin Dowling each tallied two goals and Cristopher Nilstorp stopped all 30 shots he faced as the Texas Stars defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-0 Saturday night in front of a crowd of 4,635 fans at Cedar Park Center to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
After 19 minutes of high-energy action, chocked-full of chances for both teams, rookie Brendan Ranford broke the deadlock with just 45 seconds remaining in the period as he fought through traffic and put home the rebound of a Curtis McKenzie shot, giving the Stars a 1-0 lead. Ranford’s tally set a franchise playoff record with a four-game goal streak. Texas dominated Grand Rapids in shots 18-8 in the period.
The Stars doubled their lead in the second on a beautiful effort by center Justin Dowling. He beat a Griffins defenseman to a loose puck in the neutral zone, carried it down the left wing, toe-dragged around another defender and fed a pass to a cutting Kevin Henderson. When Henderson’s attempt was stopped by Griffins’ goalie Petr Mrazek, Dowling jumped on the rebound and buried it with a backhand shot over the sprawling netminder. Dowling struck again less than three minutes later on the power play with a laser of a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that beat Mrazek to put Texas ahead 3-0.
Ranford added another goal to his Calder Cup Playoff-leading total in the third, when he collected a pass from McKenzie at the right circle, cut to the left side of the net, and slid the puck around the outstretched pad of Mrazek to extend the Stars advantage to the eventual final of 4-0.
Cristopher Nilstorp (3-0-0) stopped all 30 shots he faced to record his third win of the playoffs and his second career postseason shutout in net for Texas. Grand Rapids goalie Petr Mrazek (3-3-0) had 33 saves on 37 shots to suffer his third loss of the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs. The Stars outshot the Griffins 37-30 and went 1-for-4 on the power play. Grand Rapids was 0-for-4 with the man-advantage.
Note: Cristopher Nilstorp holds claim to both Calder Cup Playoff shutouts in Texas Stars franchise history. His first clean sheet came on May 1, 2013 in a 21-save effort in Game 3 of the Stars’ first round series with the Milwaukee Admirals.
The Stars will continue the Western Conference Semifinals against the Grand Rapids Griffins in Michigan, with Game 3 on Tuesday, May 13th at 6:00 p.m. CT at Van Andel Arena. If necessary, Texas will return to Cedar Park Center for Game 6 on Sunday, May 18th for a 7:00 face off. Texas Stars’ 2014 Calder Cup playoff ticket packages are on sale now! Reserve your seats for all Calder Cup playoff games at Cedar Park Center at a discounted rate. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.