Stars Beat Griffins 6-4 to Take Over 1st Place in the WestJan 24, 2014
Rookie forward Brendan Ranford scored two goals and added one assist, while Mike Hedden and Travis Morin each notched a goal and two assists to lead the Texas Stars to a 6-4 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins Friday night in front of 4,639 fans at Cedar Park Center. The victory put leap-frogged Texas over Grand Rapids into first place in the Western Conference and extended the Stars’ franchise record home winning streak to 12 games.
Texas came out blazing in the first frame outshooting Grand Rapids 23-11. Stars defenseman Derek Meech, facing the Griffins for the first time in his pro career, opened up the scoring with a one-timer from the point on a power play at 6:39. The goal was Meech’s first as a Texas Star assisted by Justin Dowling and Jamie Oleksiak; Meech made his pro debut with Grand Rapids and played in 304 career AHL games in a Griffins uniform. Brendan Ranford doubled the Texas lead at 15:05, tipping in a Cameron Gaunce shot from the point. Just a minute and a half later Ranford scored his second goal of the period, and his eighth of the year, finding a rebound off a Mike Hedden shot from the right faceoff circle. Dowling was credited the second helper giving him his second point of the game.
Just 74 seconds into the middle frame, Stars center Travis Morin scored the fourth Texas goal of the night tipping in William Wrenn’s wrist shot from the boards. Following the Morin goal, Grand Rapids pulled staring goaltender Tom McCollum and brought in rookie backup Jared Coreau. At 11:26 of the second stanza, the Griffins entered the scoring when Tristan Grant’s wrap-around attempt was tapped in by Trevor Parkes. Grand Rapids forward Teemu Pulkkinen cut the Stars lead in half as he carried the puck through center ice and beat Stars goalie Josh Robinson with a wrist shot from high slot at 14:31, just three seconds after a Griffins power play had expired.
Hedden would score a crucial goal at 7:50 of the third period, giving Texas a 5-2 lead with a power play strike that would ultimately become the game-winning goal. Just under three minutes later, Colton Sceviour jumped in on the scoring with a wrap-around goal, assisted by Hedden and Morin, giving both their third point of the night; it was Sceviour’s AHL-leading 27th goal of the year. The Stars ran into some penalty trouble and Pulkkinen added his second goal of the game with a slap shot from the left circle off the draw to take the score to 6-3. Less than two minutes later, the Griffins would pull Coreau to create a six-on-three advantage and Adam Almquist cut the Stars lead to two with a one-timer from the top of the right faceoff circle at 14:06. The two teams traded power plays in the game’s final four minutes, but Texas would hang on for a 6-4 victory to move ahead of Grand Rapids to grab first place in the Western Conference.
Josh Robinson stopped 38-of-42 shots faced and recorded his fifth win of the season in goal for Texas. Grand Rapids goaltender Tom McCollum started the game and allowed four goals on 24 shots playing the first 21:14 minutes of action. Rookie Jared Coreau took the loss for the Griffins, stopping 33-of-35 shots in 35:53 of relief. The Stars out-shot Grand Rapids 59-41 in the game to set a new single-game franchise record for most shots on goal. Both teams finished the game 2-for-6 on the power play.
Note: Travis Morin’s three-point game made him the first player in the AHL this season to reach the 60-point mark. Morin has 61 points (25 goals, 36 assists) in 37 games and is just five points away from matching his single-season AHL career high.
The Stars will complete their three-game week as they host the Grand Rapids Griffins again on Saturday, January 25th for a 7:00 p.m. face off at Cedar Park Center. Saturday’s game is a Texas Lottery Lucky Row Night, a Coke Zero Family Four Pack Night and is the Stars’ Gym Bag giveaway presented by Shoal Creek Dental. Pro-rated full and partial 2013-14 Texas Stars Season Tickets are on sale now. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.