CEDAR PARK, Texas – The Grand Rapids Griffins suffered their first regulation road loss and were held scoreless for the first time this season, falling 3-0 against the Texas Stars (3-2-0-1) on Saturday night at the H-E-B Center. Stars rookie goaltender Jake Oettinger saved all 28 shots that came his way.
The Griffins (2-2-0-1) now turn their sights to a four-game homestand to end the month of October. Grand Rapids will welcome back the Milwaukee Admirals to Van Andel Arena on Wednesday, Oct. 23 with puck drop set for 7 p.m.
It was a slow start for both teams with only three combined shots in the first nine minutes of the game. Parker MacKay scored at the 9:21 mark after a massive scramble in front of goaltender Filip Larsson, who made his second appearance as a professional. Conner Bleackley ripped a close-range shot that was rebounded into a swarm of players in the crease, where MacKay was able to gather the puck and slip it inside the left goalpost.
The second period began with four penalties in the first 45 seconds as each team received a pair. Oettinger continued to make his presence known around the 15-minute mark batting away three shots in a span of five seconds to keep the Griffins off the scoresheet.
The defense for the Griffins kept the Stars in line for most of the second, holding them to only one shot 11:24 into the period. Grand Rapids held a 16-10 shot advantage heading into the third frame.
Both offenses came to life to start the third, however, it was the rookie goaltenders who continued to play well for both squads. The Griffins created one of their better chances at the four-minute mark when Filip Zadina gathered a rebound but fanned his shot on an open net. Oettinger made another timely save after denying Evgeny Svechnikov on the breakaway with 13 minutes remaining.
Texas added their second goal at the 15:19 mark when Joel Kiviranta scored his first of the season. Reece Scarlett sailed the puck down the right wing to Kiviranta, who took a slapshot from the right circle that floated over the left shoulder of Larsson.
The Griffins pulled Larsson with about two and a half minutes left to gain an extra skater, however, it was the Stars who would take advantage of the empty net. Gavin Bayreuther secured the Texas’ third goal of the night as his shot from center ice found its way into the net at the 18:21 mark.
Notes: Grand Rapids failed to convert on the power play stopping their four-game streak…The Griffins outshot the Stars 28-21…The Griffins were shutout for the first time since April 13, 2019 at Milwaukee…Captain Matthew Ford appeared in his 700th game as a professional…The Griffins finished 1-1-0-1 in their three-game road trip, winning 4-2 last Saturday at Rockford and losing 4-3 in a shootout last night at Texas.
Three Stars: 1. TEX Oettinger (28 saves); 2. TEX MacKay (game winning goal); 3. TEX Kiviranta (goal)