GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2 vs. Texas Stars 3 (SO)
Jan. 7, 2023
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Texas Stars escaped with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins despite a ferocious comeback by the Griffins in the final period on Saturday at Van Andel Arena.
Grand Rapids tallied two-late goals in the third from Drew Worrad and Taro Hirose to send the game into overtime and to push their point streak to three games. Hirose leads the Griffins in points this season (9-22–31) and is in a three-way tie for second in goals scored by a Griffin this season with Pontus Andreasson and Austin Czarnik. Alex Nedeljkovic started his third game in goal for Grand Rapids, bagging 36 saves on 38 shots.
Texas scored the lone goal of the initial frame, as Jacob Peterson’s shot in the crease slipped between the pads of Nedeljkovic at 1:41. Dominik Shine’s attempt in the goalmouth at 8:25 floated just wide of the goal to keep Texas in the lead.
On a power play with 5:34 remaining in the second, Matej Blumel rocketed a one-timer from the right circle into the cage to give the Stars a 2-0 edge heading into the third.
The Griffins comeback began at 3:37 in the final stanza, as Eemil Viro rifled a shot from the blue line and Worrad tapped the puck in from the slot to cut their deficit to one. With 1:53 remaining, Hirose fired a shot from the bottom of the left circle past Anton Khudobin to knot it up at two apiece.
After a scoreless overtime period, Joel L’Esperance kicked off the shootout with a goal that narrowly slipped past Khudobin. Tanner Kero matched L'Esperance by lasering the puck into the top shelf. Following Jakub Vrana and Jacob Peterson’s missed attempts, Czarnik and Riley Barber traded goals to keep the shootout tied in the third round. The Griffins and Stars missed a combined seven consecutive shots before Antonio Stranges buried the game-winner to secure a 3-2 win for Texas.
- The Griffins ended the weekend series against the division-leading Stars with three out of four possible points and ended Texas’ 12-game point streak on Friday.
- Czarnik skated in his 400th professional game and buried his shootout attempt.
- In games decided by one goal, Grand Rapids has tallied a point in every contest with a 7-0-1-1 record.
- The Griffins moved to 112-120 all time in shootouts after suffering their first shootout defeat since Jan. 15, 2022 (1-2 SOL vs. MB).
Texas 1 1 0 0 - 3
Grand Rapids 0 0 2 0 - 2
1st Period-1, Texas, Peterson 9 (Karlstrom, Bourque), 1:41. Penalties-McIsaac Gr (cross-checking), 14:26; McKenzie Tex (slashing, misconduct - abuse of officials), 20:00.
2nd Period-2, Texas, Blumel 8 (Butcher, Stranges), 14:26 (PP). Penalties-McIsaac Gr (holding), 12:46; Hanas Gr (hooking), 15:56.
3rd Period-3, Grand Rapids, Worrad 1 (Viro, Shine), 3:37. 4, Grand Rapids, Hirose 9 (Pearson), 18:07. Penalties-Gardner Tex (holding), 14:11.
OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties
Shootout - Texas 3 (Kero G, Peterson NG, Barber G, Blumel NG, Bourque NG, Karlstrom NG, Stranges G), Grand Rapids 2 (L’Esperance G, Vrana NG, Czarnik G, Hanas NG, Andreasson NG, Hirose NG, Chiasson NG).
Shots on Goal-Texas 15-12-8-3-1-39. Grand Rapids 8-7-6-0-0-21.
Power Play Opportunities-Texas 1 / 3; Grand Rapids 0 / 2."
Goalies-Texas, Khudobin 12-3-4 (21 shots-19 saves). Grand Rapids, Nedeljkovic 2-0-1 (38 shots-36 saves).
1. TEX Stranges (Shootout-winning goal, assist); 2. GR Hirose (Goal); 3. TEX Blumel (goal).
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 13-17-1-1 (28 pts.) / Wed., Jan. 11 vs. Iowa 7 p.m.
Texas: 20-8-4-2 (46 pts.) / Sat., Jan. 14 vs. Milwaukee 7 p.m. CST
Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins