Texas Stars Drop Opener to Grand Rapids 2-1, Losing Streak Now at Three

(Photo credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)

Cedar Park, TX - Texas Stars goalie Adam Scheel overcame a slow start to turn away twenty-five Grand Rapids shots and center Ty Dellandrea added his to his career-high with his 9th goal, but Texas was unable to surmount enough offense to overcome a 2-goal first period deficit and lost 2-1 to the visiting division-rival Grand Rapid Griffins (Detroit Red Wings affiliate) Tuesday night at the H.E.B. Center at Cedar Park, in the opener of a 2-game set.

After spending the first half the first period in very much a feeling-out process, with 5:34 left Taro Hirose opened up the scoring, catching the defense (and Scheel) flat-footed on a 3-on-2 rush, burying his shot past Scheel to give the Griffins the 1-0 lead, and a lead they would not give-up.

It was the first time in 5-games the Stars weren't the first to score.

Less-than 2-minutes later, with the Stars' Riley Tufte in the box for slashing, Jonatan Berggren took advantage of the power play and lit the lamp, silencing the 3,177 in attendance as the Griffs took a 2-0 lead to the intermission. Grand Rapids dominated the period at both ends of the ice, outshooting Texas 13-6 for the frame in the process.

"We didn't come out ready. They (Grand Rapids) had a better jump, they had a better effort and they had better compete." Texas head coach Neil Graham said after the game. "We did a few things in the final 40 but we weren't nearly good enough tonight to part of a hockey game."

Dellandrea provided some spark for Texas late in the 2nd period when he took a feed from Curtis McKenzie and stick-handled thru the zone and lifted one off the backhand past Griffins goalie Calvin Pickard to cut the Griffins lead to 2-1 with 5:53 left in the second period. With the goal, the former Dallas first-round pick not only added to his career-high in goals, but points as well at 22.

Late in the second period, the officials created some excitement with a couple of questionable calls putting the Stars at a disadvantage, including Ryan Shea being called for a hook-from-behind to Griffins winger Jon Martin that treated the fans to "the most exciting play in hockey, a penalty shot. Scheel met the test, easily turning away Martin's offer.

Grand Rapids who came into the series 30th on the power play, finished the night 1-4 on the advantage while Texas was shutout on 3-attempts.

"Unfortunately our effort wasn't good enough so I'm not gonna bail us out and say the refs were ticky-tac calls or bad and I'm not even going to go down that road." said Graham.

Texas finally came to life in the third period but was unable to solve Pickard to amount any threat in the frame on the ten shots he faced, despite Texas getting a chance late on the power play while also adding the extra-attacker with the net empty.

With the loss, the Stars third in-a-row, Texas falls to a season-low 13-18-5-3 (34 pts./.436%) to remain in seventh in the 7-team Central Division, while Grand Rapids improves to 18-18-5-2 (43 pts./.500%) to remain sixth in the division.

"We've shown ourselves we can play; we can compete, and we can win games. We have to get back on track, and we have to do it immediately." an exasperated Graham concluded. 

The 2 teams square off again on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. puck drop at the H.E.B. Center at Cedar Park.

Tonight's lines




Injuries, scratches and notes
Martin, Melnick, Comeau, Khudobin

Tonight's attendance was 3,177.

AHL Gamesheet - Grand Rapids at Texas - February 15, 2022