CEDAR PARK, TX– The Texas Stars and Grand Rapids opened a two-game weekend with a thrilling goalie duel on Friday night. Stars goalie Landon Bow would stop 33 of 34 Griffin shots in route to a one-goal win. The game entered the final period even at one before Sheldon Dries found the eventual winner.
With Grand Rapids on the power play midway thru the frame, Dries stole the puck and found himself behind the defense. He skated in, pulled it to his forehand, and beat Tom McCollum blocker side. The Stars would hold on and defeat the defending champions 2-1.
The first period would be dominated statistically by the Griffins, outshooting Texas 16-8 in the frame. Bow was on his game, though, and made several key saves to keep Grand Rapids off the board.
It would be Texas who would score the only goal of the period off of a 2-on-1 with 2:25 to go. Colin Markison carried it into the zone, looked pass, then sent a wrist shot on goal that looked to have deflected off the defender’s stick. McCollum was unable to adjust to the change in speed, and it eluded him to open the scoring.
The second period would start with Texas leading 1-0, but the second would be a reversal from the first. This time it was the Stars who outshot Grand Rapids, albeit by a smaller 10-7 margin, and the Griffins who would score the only goal.
Midway into the middle stanza, the Griffins used a solid forecheck to keep the Stars under pressure. Bow made a couple great saves, but Tyler Bertuzzi stuck with the play and slid a rebound home. It would be Bow’s only blemish on a stellar night and sent us to the third level at 1-1.
The third period would be an intense battle as the teams fought for the lead, and once again the only goal would come against the run of play. With Grand Rapids on the power play with 11:13 to play Dries would step up and get the crucial marker. He picked the pocket of the Griffin defender and skated in all alone. He pulled the puck to his forehand and fired it past the outstretched blocker of McCollum for the shorthanded winner.
There was still half a period to play, of course, and the defending champs would not go down without a fight. They would outshoot Texas 11-5 in the period, and 34-23 for the game, but Landon Bow was just too good on this night. The Stars would hold on, and defeat Grand Rapids by a 2-1 score.
With the win, the Stars move to 7-6-0-1 on the year, while the Griffins fall to 6-7-0-1. The two teams will square off once again tonight inside the H-E-B Center, with the puck set to drop at 7:00 CST. It will be the second night of Military Appreciation Weekend, and the Stars will once again be in their Stars and Stripes jerseys. The auction will continue until the second intermission tonight, so if you have not bid you still have time!
The Stars will have Curtis McKenzie back tonight, as he was loaned back to Texas today after missing one game while in Dallas. McKenzie has 11 points (6G 5A) in 12 games with Texas this year, including a five-point night (3G 2A) night on Wednesday against San Diego.
You can follow the Stars all year by following @SinBinStars on Twitter, where we live tweet every game! For our friends from Grand Rapids, you can follow @SinBinGriffins on Twitter as well.