GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins rallied from three deficits and out-shot the Texas Stars by a 38-21 margin on Saturday, but it was not enough to keep the visitors from escaping Van Andel Arena with a 5-4 shootout victory and breaking the Griffins’ four-game winning streak in the season series.
Still, the Griffins (31-35-3-4) earned a point to improve to 6-1-1-2 in their last 10 games and pull within seven points of Manitoba in the chase for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division. They’ll wrap up a three-game home stand on Wednesday by hosting the Rochester Americans at 7 p.m.
After a total of seven goals were scored during the third period of Friday’s 6-3 Griffins win over Milwaukee, Grand Rapids and Texas combined for five tallies in the opening 20 minutes of this contest. The Griffins fell into a 2-0 hole by the 6:16 mark on mirror-image plays, as Andrew Hutchinson charged down the slot to redirect Travis Morin’s pass from the left side during a power play at 5:53, and Warren Peters did the same to beat Daniel Larsson off a right-side feed from Raymond Sawada 23 seconds later.
Grand Rapids battled back to tie the score at 2-2 late in the frame. Mattias Ritola carried the puck through the neutral zone and patiently bided his time before ripping a shot past Matt Climie from above the left circle at 13:35, before Jan Mursak took root on the doorstep to deflect Jakub Kindl’s blast from the point for a power play marker at 17:36.
The Stars (42-24-3-4) took the lead into the locker room, though, as Mathieu Beaudoin tipped home Trevor Ludwig’s shot from the left point with 1:08 remaining in the period for a 3-2 Stars lead.
The Griffins again tied matters 4:45 into the second period. Kindl made a nice play along the right boards to hold a Texas clearing attempt in the zone then sent a long shot that Climie stood tall to deny, but Cory Emmerton fought through his defender to grab the rebound in the slot and slide the puck across the line.
Once more the Stars would go on top only to see the Griffins respond. Beaudoin was credited with his second goal of the night at the 11:03 mark when he deflected a puck behind the net that popped into the air and over the net before caroming off the stick of Francis Pare and eluding Larsson. Undaunted, Grand Rapids got it back 20 seconds later when John Vigilante won a faceoff to the left of Climie and quickly fed a pass across the slot to Jamie Tardif for an easy tap-in.
A scoreless third period brought overtime, where the Griffins were unable to covert a power play awarded with just under two minutes remaining, ushering in the shootout. Colton Sceviour and Perttu Lindgren scored in the first two rounds for Texas while both Jeremy Williams and Ritola hit posts on the other end. Former Griffin Aaron Gagnon and Justin Abdelkader were each thwarted in the third round before Morin secured the win for the Stars in round four.
Climie earned the victory by stopping 34 shots and all three shootout attempts, while Larsson finished with 16 saves and a 1-for-4 shootout performance.
Three Stars: 1. TEX Beaudoin (two goals); 2. GR Emmerton (goal, assist); 3. TEX Peters (goal)