Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Colton Hargrove's First Career Hat Trick Paces Texas to 6-3 Win Over Grand Rapids

The Texas Stars added four new players to their lineup and beat the Grand Rapids Griffins 6-3 on Wednesday night. Immediate scoring contributions were unnecessary from the newcomers as the older players provided plenty, blowing the game open in the third period.

Colton Hargrove scored his first career hat trick to account for half of the goals. The DFW native was moved back to his natural position on the wing and made two pretty plays with the puck in the second period to confound Griffins goaltender Harri Sateri.

“I thought [Hargrove] really stepped up tonight,” said head coach Derek Laxdal after the game. “We’ve asked him to play center for us the last couple months, and he got back into his normal position. Harsy’s pretty good in tight when he gets a chance. He’s going to bury it.”

(credit: Texas Stars)
The new-look lineup for the Stars featured three new centers and one defenseman. Dallas first round pick Ty Dellandrea especially stood out to both Laxdal and Hargrove.

“I thought we had really good chemistry right out of the gate,” said Hargrove. “Our goals that we had started with good D zone play. Ty down low winning his battles, winning battles up the wall.”

Defenseman Gavin Bayreuther also helped carry the scoring load, chipping in a goal and a helper. His goal came in the second period after a choppy first for both teams. The Stars had a power play expire right before Bayreuther caught Sateri swimming.

Four minutes later, Griffins forward Turner Elson scored on the rush. Denis Gurianov answered within the final minute of the period to give the Stars the lead again. He made a slick move on the rush, hesitating just enough to get the defender to lay out, then burying the puck.

Hargrove’s first two goals in the third period were beauties. “I thought he made a great play when he got out there on the late power play and had great speed down the left side and took it to the net,” said Laxdal. Hargrove finished the play with his backhand.

Minutes later, the same look for Hargrove came at even strength, but he changed his approach in a split second. “I figured [Sateri} was going to read that and maybe cheat,” he said. “So I kind of tried to fake like I was going across again and put it short side.”

Erik Condra got in on the action eight minutes into the third period, burying a one timer to a 5-1 lead. “It kind of opened up in the third period, and I think it took the pressure off our guys and allowed them just to kind of play through the game,” said Laxdal.

Joe Hicketts scored for the Griffins two minutes later during 4-on-4 play. The goal sparked the Griffins to go with an empty net with over five minutes left in regulation, leaving the door open for Hargrove to secure the hat trick. It wasn’t easy, though. “He missed the first one, and then he shot out of a cannon on the second one.”

Griffins forward Carter Camper scored with forty ticks left for aesthetic purposes. The Stars deserve credit for integrating so many new bodies into the lineup and beating a playoff-bound team to continue their bid for that fourth and final playoff spot in the Central.

“It’s a huge two points. You have to win your games to get in that fourth spot. Doesn’t matter who we play, we have to try and get the two points.”

The Stars square off against the Wolves on Friday in Cedar Park.

Tonight's lines:
Mersch-Dowling-Condra
Markison-Melnick-Gurianov
Mascherin-Gardner-McClure
Hargrove-Dellandrea- Hanna

Heatherington-Hansson
Bayreuther-Hanley
Cecconi-Gleason

Bow

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Laberge (upper body)
Caamano (lower body)
Morin (illness)
Payne, Phelan, Nyberg, Calderone (scratch)

Tonight’s attendance was 5,420.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Grand Rapids - March 20 2019

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