Stars Rally for Point, Fall in Shootout to Grand RapidsFeb 22, 2019
Dahill Office Technology Corporation Three Stars:
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, scored a pair of second period goals tonight to tie the Grand Rapids Griffins and force an eventual shootout with the Central Division leaders. Texas fell after the five-round shootout and turned in a 4-3 decision at Van Andel Arena.
Denis Gurianov put Texas on the board early in the game. Just over three minutes into the first period Michael Mersch grabbed the puck from behind the net and tried for a wrap around on Griffins goaltender Patrik Rybar. The first attempt did not go past his pads so Mersch recollected the puck and sent it across the crease for Gurianov to tap the puck into the open net.
The Griffins countered in the second half of the period, notching three quick goals. Givani Smith was the benefactor of a loose puck that came to him on the right side of the net before ripping his fourth of the season into the net, tying the game at 1-1 at 9:20. Four minutes later Libor Sulak walked into the high slot and fired a slap shot past Landon Bow in the Stars goal. Finally, Tanner Elson capped the period, scoring a power play goal from the left hash mark with less than one second left in the period. The Griffins ended the game 1-for-2 on the power play with both chances coming in the first period.
After the break, the Stars tried their hand on the power play. Texas would enter the man advantage three minutes into the middle period and Justin Dowling connected on his third goal in four games to pull the Stars within one. The captain walked in from the left circle and ripped a shot inside of the top left corner for his 12th of the season. Nine minutes later it was another shot from the left circle that evened the score. Niklas Hansson was fed a one-timer by his partner Joel Hanley and rifled a shot in for his third goal of the season at 12:47. Hansson’s second career two-point outing would be all the Stars needed to secure a point in the contest. Texas was 2-for-5 on the power play in the decision to gain a point in the Central Division standings.
After being outshot in the first period, Texas turned the tables on Grand Rapids sending 25 shots on net in the second and third period compared to 13 Griffins shots in the same time. Bow finished his night with 28 saves while Rybar made 34 stops in his 13th win of the year. After both a scoreless third period and scoreless overtime, the teams skated into a shootout.
Travis Morin and Hanley each scored in the shootout across the first three rounds, forcing further sudden death play. The Griffins scorers were Matt Puempel, Dominic Turgeon, and Derek Hulak, with Hulak scoring the clinching goal in the fifth round of the skills competition.
Photo Credit: Grand Rapids Griffins