McKenzie Has Two Assists, Texas Scores Two Extra-Attacker Goals in Loss
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Rookie left wing Curtis McKenzie had two assists and the Texas Stars scored twice in the final three minutes of regulation, but their rally fell shot in a 5-4 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins Friday night at Van Andel Arena.
Texas grabbed an early lead when rookie Taylor Peters capitalized on a misread from Grand Rapids goaltender Petr Mrazek. As the puck went behind the Griffins’ net Mrazek slid to the far right post trying to cover a wrap around. However, the puck was reversed by Francis Wathier and, before Mrazek could recover, Peters fired it home for his second goal of the season at 2:51. The Griffins tied the game at 10:57 on shorthanded goal, the first allowed by Texas this season. Cory Emmerton had the shorthanded breakaway that was thwarted by Stars’ goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp only to have the trailing forward Mitch Callahan swoop in unmarked and calming deposit the rebound around the stranded Nilstorp at 10:57. Riley Sheahan gave Grand Rapids the lead at 13:53 when he tipped-in a slap shot from Ryan Sproul, but Texas would answer back. With time winding down in the period, and the Stars getting a late power play, Travis Morin and Curtis McKenzie combined to set up Chris Mueller for a back-door one-timer and a power play goal with just 2.1 seconds left in the frame. Mueller’s goal was his team-leading sixth power play goal of the season; his ninth overall.
After combining for 26 shots on goal in the opening period, the two teams only put up a combined 12 shots in the middle frame. The Griffins would score the only goal period as former Houston Aero David McIntyre collected his own rebound from the end boards and beat Nilstorp to the far post for a wrap-around goal at 9:48.
Teemu Pulkkinen added some insurance just 3:42 into the third period, blasting a slap shot from the top of the right circle over the right shoulder of Nilstorp and into the top left corner of the net for a 4-2 Griffins advantage. With Texas trying to push back, Grand Rapids made it 5-2 with 3:34 left in regulation as Landon Ferraro connected with Jordin Tootoo on a two-on-one rush. With the game winding down, the Stars offense awoke when McKenzie found Scott Glennie wide open at the top of the crease and Glennie calmly faked out Mrazek and deposited his backhand along the ice into the net for a power play goal at 17:52. It was Glennie’s third goal of the season in just ten games and it came with Nilstorp pulled for a six-on-four advantage. Just 41 seconds later, again with Nilstorp on the bench, Justin Dowling unleashed a vicious slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that blazed by Mrazek to cut the lead to 5-4 at 18:33. The Stars would again remove their goalie in a push to tie the game, but the Griffins hung on for the victory.
Petr Mrazek finished with 21 saves on 25 shots to record his eighth win of the season in goal for Grand Rapids. Cristopher Nilstorp stopped 29-of-34 shots in the losing effort for Texas. The Griffins out-shot the Stars 34-25 and went 0-for-3 with the man-advantage. Texas’ league-leading power play was 2-for-5 in the game.
The Stars will continue their three-game road trip on Saturday, November 30th as they engage in a rematch with the Grand Rapids Griffins at 6:00 p.m. CT at Van Andel Arena. Texas will return home to take on the Iowa Wild on Friday, December 6th for the beginning of Sing for Santa Weekend. The December 6th game is another $3 Draft Beer and $4 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Wine night and it is the Stars Hockey Family Window Decal giveaway presented by Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. Pro-rated full and partial 2013-14 Texas Stars Season Tickets are on sale now. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.
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