CEDAR PARK, Texas – The Grand Rapids Griffins fought back from a two-goal deficit in the third period but eventually fell 4-3 in a shootout against the Texas Stars on Friday night at the H-E-B Center.
After Reece Scarlett scored at the 2:06 mark the Griffins bounced back with goals from Givani Smith at 5:08 and Jared Lukosevicius at 10:23. Tanner Kero was the lone goal scorer in the three-round shootout as the Griffins failed to convert on three chances.
The Griffins (2-1-0-1) and Stars (2-2-0-1) will continue their eight-game season series Saturday night at the H-E-B Center with puck drop set for 8 p.m. EDT. This will conclude Grand Rapids’ three-game road trip before the Griffins head back to West Michigan for a four-game homestand.
Both Calvin Pickard and Landon Bow came up with timely saves as both teams came out firing. Grand Rapids scored the game’s first goal at the 11:37 mark. While on the power play, Evgeny Svechnikov ripped a one-timer from the right wing that bounced to Matt Puempel off the left boards. Puempel took a rocket of a slapshot that sailed over the right shoulder of the goaltender.
The second period was littered with a combined five power play opportunities. Texas tied the game at one at the 7:04 mark on a goal from Conner Bleackley. Tye Felhaber found a streaking Bleackley who skated into the Griffins’ zone on a 3-on-1 and took a wrist shot from the right side that beat Pickard over his stick-side shoulder.
Less than three minutes later, the Stars took a 2-1 lead. Gavin Bayreuther, on the power play, played a puck through the center of the Griffins’ zone that found Brad McClure on the top of the left circle. McClure’s one-timer sailed under the glove of Pickard at the 9:56 mark in the second period.
The Stars made it a two-goal advantage 2:06 into the final frame. Adam Mascherin gathered the puck off the right boards and found Scarlett hovering around the blue line. Scarlett’s wrist shot from the right point deflected off a Griffins defender and into the top right corner of the net.
The Griffins secured their second power play goal at the 5:08 mark to cut the Stars’ lead down to one. After Puempel took a one-timer from the right wing, Smith controlled the rebound and snuck the puck inside the left goalpost to score his second of the season. The Griffins finished 2-for-7 on the power play and have scored in every game this season.
Grand Rapids continued to fight its way back into the game with a tying goal at the 10:23 mark. Dominic Turgeon smashed a shot from the blue line that was saved by Bow but the rebound would go back into the center of the zone. Jarid Lukosevicius hustled past the defenders and his rebound shot beat Bow over the right shoulder.
In the first minute of overtime, Michael Rasmussen was denied by Bow after a strategic poke check. The best chance during the overtime period was created by the Griffins as Puempel broke out on a breakaway but his shot missed the target.
Bow came up with three saves for the Stars during the shootout as Joe Veleno, Puempel and Svechnikov were all denied. Kero scored the only goal of the shootout on the first attempt from the Stars.
Notes: Grand Rapids outshot the Stars 39-32…The Griffins have points in three straight road games.
Three Stars: 1. TEX Kero (SO deciding goal); 2. TEX Scarlett (goal, assist); 3. GR Puempel (power play goal, assist)