Jeffrey Nets Two Goals, Campbell Stops 23 to Lead Texas to Victory over Grand Rapids
Dustin Jeffrey scored two goals and Jyrki Jokipakka and Travis Morin each notched two assists as the Texas Stars defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins 5-2 Thursday night in front of a crowd of 2,661 fans at Cedar Park Center to take Game 1 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
The Stars came out firing offensively, with Travis Morin sending rookie Brendan Ranford streaking on a breakaway at 3:19, which he finished with a beautiful forehand-to-backhand move, beating sprawling goaltender Petr Mrazek to put Texas ahead 1-0. The Stars doubled their lead just 13 seconds later as Chris Mueller won the draw forward, skated into the offensive zone and dropped the puck to Dustin Jeffrey, who beat Mrazek with a backhand shot from the low slot at 3:32. The two quick strikes set a new franchise record for the fastest two goals scored by Texas in a single playoff game. Grand Rapids responded 70 seconds after that, getting on the scoreboard with a power play goal. The Stars’ defense disintegrated off a defensize zone faceoff and Nathan Paetsch setup Cory Emmerton for a sprawling goal around goalie Jack Campbell to cut the Texas lead to 2-1. The Stars regained their two-goal lead late in the period with a power play goal of their own, as Mike Hedden tipped a Jyrki Jokipakka blast past Mrazek for a 3-1 advantage.
Grand Rapids narrowed the lead less than five minutes into the second period when Tomas Jurco ripped a wrister from the high slot off the underside of the crossbar and in to make it 3-2 Texas. Even though it was not the game-winner, Curtis McKenzie answered for the Stars 81 seconds later in perhaps the most crucial goal of the evening. Jokipakka made an inch-perfect 100-foot pass from behind his own goal like to send McKenzie off on a breakaway. McKenzie’s attempt appeared to be stopped by Mrazek, but the puck arched high in the air off the Griffins’ goalie and dropped down behind and over the goal line before to extend the Texas lead back to two goals. Jeffrey notched his second goal of the game when he was fed the puck by Morin and carried it all the way to the net, skating right by a defender and then sliding it through the pads of Mrazek to put the Stars in front 5-2. That score held up as the final after a scoreless third, as Texas held on for the 5-2 win in Game 1.
Jack Campbell (2-0-0) stopped 23-of-25 shots faced and earned his second win of the playoffs in net for Texas. Grand Rapids goalie Petr Mrazek (3-2-0) had 31 saves on 36 shots and took his second loss of the postseason. The Stars outshot the Griffins 36-25 and went 2-for-5 on the power play. Grand Rapids was 1-for-2 with the man-advantage.
The Stars will continue the Western Conference Semifinals against the Grand Rapids Griffins with Game 2 on Saturday, May 10th for a 7:00 p.m. face off at Cedar Park Center. Saturday’s Game 2 is a Coke Zero Family Four Pack Night, as well as a Texas Lottery Lucky Row Night. Texas Stars’ 2014 Calder Cup playoff ticket packages are on sale now! Reserve your seats for all Calder Cup playoff games at Cedar Park Center at a discounted rate. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.