|(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)|
"We're comfortable playing tight games in the third period," said Travis Morin. "It's something we've been doing all year, and we're coming up with wins in OT and shootouts."
The Stars had to battle some second period adversity as their lead evaporated. Coach Laxdal commented, "We managed through that and did a better job in the third period getting traction. They've been a resilient group all year and that's going to be part of our motto moving forward. You have to battle back."
Mike McKenna collected the win in his first start since returning from Dallas. It was his first AHL action since March 17th.
A mostly quiet first period gave way to a score-filled second. Denis Gurianov had a good chance in the first but made good in the second on a breakaway. Gurianov had just been beat out on an iffy icing call but came down the ice with purpose to score. A solid seam pass from Sheldon Dries sent Gurianov into the zone all alone for the 1-0 goal. Greg Rallo followed shortly thereafter with a tally from the left wing circle that eluded Jared Coreau and seemed to perplex the tender.
With the 2-0 lead, Texas caught a break when the Griffins appeared to have score a goal and saw it waved off. That only seemed to invigorate them. Just a few minutes later, Dan Renouf ripped one from the left side dot, ringing it off the pipe and in past Mike McKenna.
Just three minutes later, Brian Lashoff scored his fifth of the year from the point, another bardown shot, off the faceoff win in the Texas zone.
McKenna made a huge save six minutes into the third period to keep things scoreless as Eric Tangradi broke in all alone on the power play. Going the other way, Joel L'Esperance just missed on a feed from Colin Markison on a 2-on-1. Markison was showing off his speed tonight but didn't find the net.
A few minutes into the overtime period, Travis Morin picks up the action. "[Bayreuther] knocked down a cross seam pass there and I was like, "I'm going!" I thought he had it, and he got it up to me. It's exactly what I wanted to do on my first breakaway in the first period just I thought somebody was on me on that one so I shot it a little quicker. I noticed the goalie dropped his glove a little bit and I thought I could get it over and I found some net."
Morin's breakaway goal was the OT game-winner, his 10th goal of the season and 60th point.
Texas heads to San Antonio to end the season with a home-and-home series with the Rampage on Friday and Saturday.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Mangene, O'Brien, Dowling, McKenzie, Kelleher, Hanna, Hansson, Thompson (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 3,850.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Grand Rapids - April 11 2018