|Landon Bow (Credit: Texas Stars)
"It was a long road trip," said Sheldon Dries, who scored the game-winner. "Coming off that last game, we knew we had to build. Once we settled in, we played a strong game."
Texas did face an early challenge as they were being drastically outshot and outchanced. Midway through the first, the Griffins were outshooting Texas 12-2. Contributing to the imbalance was a 5-on-3 power play for the Griffins that spanned 71 seconds but came up empty for the visitors.
"We knew we had to work out our travel legs and fight tough," said goalie Bow. "We knew they'd come hard. That was a big turning moment in the game. If they get one or two there, we're in the hole, and we might not have that same energy we did at the end of the period."
After Bow bailed the club out in the first ten minutes of the period, the fourth line jumped in to take the mantle from there. Colin Markison scored his third of the year coming down the left side, just the sixth Texas shot of the game.
"Our bottom six guys gave us a spark in the last ten minutes of the first period," noted coach Derek Laxdal. "Our fourth line gave us good forechecks and just allowed us to sit back and create more energy in the game."
Despite a 16-8 shot deficit, the Stars ended the first up 1-0. Grand Rapids would fight back in the second. The Griffins themselves had just two shots in the first half of the second period. However, they would be the only goal scorers in the frame. Tyler Bertuzzi saw his shot trickle over the line behind Bow for the 1-1 tie.
The Stars only needed five shots in the final period to get things done. With Dillon Heatherington in the box, Sheldon Dries kept the bottom six energy going as he generated a turnover on a strong forecheck.
"The strong forecheck will help us keep the pressure up on the penalty kill," Dries said. "They threw it back. I saw the defenseman bobble it a little bit, thought I could dive in and scoop it up. Luckily I could."
Dries scored his third of the year, a shorthanded marker, to put Texas up 2-1. That would stand as the final score.
The game was solid in many regards for Texas. They had a perfect PK record and even scored a shorty. Landon Bow stopped 33 of 34 shots. Texas also hung tough in a low scoring game.
Coach Laxdal praised Bow's effort after his season started with a rough loss against San Antonio, "It's great having [goalie coach] Jim Bedard around because he can work with the goals daily. He's working on conditioning and skating. He's working to play a little more quiet.
"It's more of a healthy competition [in net]. We needed someone to step up and he's definitely stepped up for us."
Texas plays Grand Rapids again tomorrow night.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
McKenzie, Elie, Dickinson (call up)
McNeill, Ully, Fyten, Scarlett (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 5,245.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Grand Rapids - November 10 2017