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Griffs split weekend series with Texas

by Randy Cleves / Detroit Red Wings

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.Francis Pare notched a goal and an assist to spark the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 3-2 win over the Texas Stars on Saturday at Van Andel Arena, in the process becoming the third-leading scorer in the franchise’s 17-year history.

Pare, whose 209 career points now place him ahead of Kip Miller (208) and behind only Travis Richards (238) and Michel Picard (380), registered his name on the scoresheet for the eighth time in the last nine games. Meanwhile, Riley Sheahan matched Pare’s multi-point night with two assists, helping the Griffins earn their ninth win in their last 11 tries.

Grand Rapids also received another solid performance by rookie netminder Petr Mrazek, who made 26 saves to improve to 7-1 on the season.

The Griffins (11-6-1-1), who remain alone atop the Midwest Division, needed only 3:37 to record the game’s first goal. As Sheahan jostled for position at the top of the Texas crease, Pare took advantage of the chaos by lifting a shot over a sprawled Jack Campbell from the right side.

Midway through the period, the Stars (9-8-1-1) scored twice in a span of 3:26 to go ahead 2-1. From the top of the right circle, Maxime Fortunus sent a hard pass to the left of the net to Matt Fraser, who tapped the puck behind Mrazek into a wide-open cage at 10:20. Fraser then set up Texas’ second tally on the rush by centering a pass to Colton Sceviour, who potted a shot from the doorstep that Mrazek had little chance to stop.

Grand Rapids scored twice in the second period to take its eventual 3-2 margin. Brian Lashoff’s blast from the point deflected off a defender and past Campbell 2:27 into the frame, before Nathan Paetsch fired a shot wide left of the net, resulting in a hard carom off the end boards that an opportunistic Triston Grant managed to knock home at 12:20. Grant’s third tally of the season proved to be the game-winner, as the Griffins avenged Friday’s lackluster 3-1 loss to the Stars.

Grand Rapids will conclude its four-game home stand on Wednesday when the Peoria Rivermen visit Van Andel Arena at 7 p.m.

THREE STARS: 1. GR Pare (goal, assist); 2. GR Sheahan (two assists); 3. TEX Fraser (goal, assist)

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