Griffins Edge Stars in Series Finale

The game between the Texas Stars (4-3-0-1) and the Grand Rapids Griffins (4-3-0-0) was one of power plays. Four the game’s seven goals came on power plays, albeit one was a short-handed score.  The Stars ultimately fell to the Griffins, 4-3. 

Curtis McKenzie opened the scoring for the Stars on a power play just 6 minutes into the contest.  Grand Rapids evened the score 4 minutes later with Dominik Shine’s power play goal. 

Rhett Gardner reclaimed Texas’ advantage at 12:08 on a short-handed goal, and Eemil Viro knotted the contest with under two minutes.  All this in the opening frame. 

Grand Rapids jump-started the second period, scoring 37 seconds in to the period off the stick of Jonatan Berggren.  The Griffins double their lead five minutes later with Austin Czarnik’s power play goal. 

Stars’ head coach Neil Graham replaced starting goal keeper Anton Khudobin  for Matthew Murray allowing the Griffins’ fourth goal of the game. 

“I didn’t think he was his sharpest tonight.  I didn’t love the first two (goals),” said Graham of Khudobin. 

Fredrik Karlstrom brough Texas with one score with this goal at 11:50, the final goal of the game for both sides. 

Graham summarized the team’s performance by saying, “Came out really well. First twenty (minutes) was solid. Probably deserved to be up 2-0.  Lost our way to start the second (period).” “In the third (period) we were the better team; we just didn’t get enough sustained pressure.” 

Grand Rapid goalkeeper Jussi Olkinuora (2-1-0) earned the win, making 27 saves against 30 shots.  Texas’ Khudobin (2-1-1) endured the loss, allowing 4 goals on 11 shots in 27 minutes.  Murray successfully faced 10 shots between the posts. 

Stars team captain Curtis McKenzie continued to set expectations high for the team, despite the loss, saying, “We had a huge return group from last year, which helps.  Everyone is a year older from that.  And some great additions. I really like were our team is at.  Not even close to our peak, but I like the way we are going.”   

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