The Texas Stars scored five goals in the first 30:02 of the game and took a 1-0 series lead in the AHL Western Conference semifinals with a 5-2 win against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Thursday in Cedar Park, Texas.
Brendan Ranford and Dustin Jeffrey scored 13 seconds apart early in the first period to give the Stars the 2-0 lead. This prompted coach Jeff Blashill to take a timeout in an attempt to settle his team down against the top-ranked squad in the Western Conference.
It appeared to work, as Cory Emmerton scored on the power play 1:10 later to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The Stars outshot the Griffins 35-26, including 30-14 in the first two periods. The power play was clicking for Texas as the Griffins gave up two power-play goals on five opportunities. Petr Mrazek made 31 saves.
Despite the wide-margin loss and early deficit in the series, the Griffins used a bad road loss last year as fuel for a Calder Cup run.
According to MLive.com, the last time the Griffins lost by three goals on the road in the playoffs, they went on to win the next seven straight playoff road games en route to securing the team’s first Calder Cup title.
After Texas made it 3-1 on a power-play goal late in the first period, the Griffins got within one again when Tomas Jurco took a pass from Ryan Sproul, made a move to the slot between three defenders and scored to cut the deficit to 3-2.
However, that was the last offense the Griffins would see for the night, as Texas’ Curtis McKenzie made it 4-2 just 1:31 later, and the Stars added a final tally midway through the second period to stretch the lead to 5-2.
Game 2 is at 8 p.m. Saturday in Texas before the next three games (if necessary) come to Grand Rapids.
How did the Red Wings do?
As stated earlier, Jurco scored once for the Griffins. He now has three points in three games since returning to the AHL club.
Emmerton also scored, and he technically started the season with the Red Wings, so I’ll consider him a Red Wing even though he hasn’t played for Detroit since March 23. Emmerton now has three points in five games, as he continues to flourish in the AHL.
Riley Sheahan was a minus-two against the Stars. However, he has two points in three games with the Griffins.
Tags: Grand Rapids Griffins