The Texas Stars suffered their first loss of the postseason, falling 5-2 to the Grand Rapids Griffins at Van Andel Arena in Michigan Tuesday night. The loss left the Stars with a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Tomas Jurco scored three goals for the Griffins, who made the most of their opportunities by scoring five times on 22 shots. Goaltender Petr Mrazek stopped 35 of 37 shots for Grand Rapids, which bounced back after losing the first two games of the series in Texas by a combined score of 9-2.
Grand Rapids built a 2-0 lead in the first period and then scored three more times in the second to take a 5-0 lead into the third.
Mike Hedden and Brendan Ranford scored for Texas, which fell to 5-1 in postseason play. Jack Campbell got the start in goal for the Stars, was pulled in the second period with Texas down 4-0 and then was put back in to start the third period with the Stars trailing 5-0. He ended up stopping 15 of 19 shots. Cristopher Nilstorp, who played 11:37 in the second period, stopped two of three shots.
Jurco scored twice in the first period to give the Griffins early control of the game. He won a puck battle behind the goal line, took the puck to the net and tallied on a wrap-around 7:06 into the game. He scored again from close range off a nice cross-ice pass from Riley Sheahan with Grand Rapids on the power play at the 13:44 mark to give Grand Rapids a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Andrej Nestrasil scored 25 seconds into the second period and Teemu Pulkkinen scored off a blast from the point at the 8:23 mark of the second to chase Campbell from the net temporarily. With Nilstorp in goal, Jurco scored from close range to make it 5-0 going into the final period.
Campbell was back in the net to start the third, and Hedden and Ranford scored goals in a 3:23 span early in the period to give the Stars some life. Texas had a power play just 20 seconds after Ranford scored, but couldn’t cash in and it stayed a 5-2 game the rest of the way.
Game 4 of the series is Wednesday night in Grand Rapids.
*The Stars had given up just eight goals in five playoff games before surrendering five in Tuesday night’s game.
*Texas had a 37-22 shots advantage in the game.
*Defenseman Patrik Nemeth led the Stars with eight shots on goal.
*Brendan Ranford extended his goal scoring streak to five games with his tally Tuesday night. Ranford is tied for the lead in AHL playoff goal scoring with six.
*Grand Rapids was 1-6 on the power play. Texas was 0-4 on the power play.
Curtis McKenzie – Travis Morin – Brendan Ranford
Dustin Jeffrey – Chris Mueller – Scott Glennie
Kevin Henderson – Justin Dowling – Mike Hedden
Toby Petersen – Radek Faksa – Matej Stransky
Patrik Nemeth – Jyrki Jokipakka
Jamie Oleksiak – Cameron Gaunce
Derek Meech – Maxime Fortunus