GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Stealing a page from their opponents’ frequently used playbook, the Grand Rapids Griffins used a strong second period to rally past the Texas Stars by a 5-4 count on Sunday at Van Andel Arena.
Five different players recorded multiple points to help the Griffins (25-30-2-1) snap a four-game winless streak. Grand Rapids, which played its third home game in as many nights, will complete a four-game stand at Van Andel Arena on Wednesday when the San Antonio Rampage visit at 7 p.m.
A giveaway by Grand Rapids in its own zone quickly led to a goal by a former Griffin, as Aaron Gagnon beat Daniel Larsson from close range 3:35 into the opening period. Texas defenseman Ethan Graham then made it a 2-0 game at the 11:16 mark, taking a harmless-looking wrister from just inside the blue line that eluded a screened Larsson and found the top corner of the net.
The Griffins answered only 44 ticks into the second period, when Tomas Tatar converted Kris Newbury’s centering pass from the slot. Midway through the frame, Doug Janik redeemed himself for the turnover that led to Texas’ first goal by solving Richard Bachman on a long shot from the left boards, evening the score at 10:37.
Newbury set up his longtime teammate, Jeremy Williams, with 2:39 left in the period for a power play goal that put the Griffins ahead 3-2. Newbury’s pass from the right point hit Williams at the bottom of the left circle, and he connected on a one-timer for his team-leading eighth power play tally and 19th goal of the season (tied with Jan Mursak).
Texas (31-20-3-4) needed 23 seconds of the third period to tie matters, as Greg Rallo put a juicy rebound past Larsson from the high slot. But the Griffins went ahead once again during a power play at 6:06, when Patrick Rissmiller finished a scrum around the Stars’ goal by sliding the puck past Bachman.
Justin Abdelkader pushed Grand Rapids’ advantage to 5-3 just 16 seconds after his teammates had killed off his interference penalty, crashing the net to pot Francis Pare’s feed from the right side at 8:52. That goal sent Bachman to the Texas bench in favor of Todd Ford.
The Stars pulled Ford in favor of an extra attacker with just over two minutes left, and Gagnon tallied his second of the night on a backdoor tip-in with 25.3 seconds remaining. But Grand Rapids held on to post its fourth straight win over Texas, which currently resides in fourth place in the West Division.
Larsson made 30 saves for the win, while Bachman took the loss despite finishing with the same number of stops. Ford denied all four attempts he faced in relief.
Three Stars: 1. GR Janik (goal, assist); 2. GR Pare (three assists); 3. TEX Gagnon (two goals)