Texas Stars Pull Away Late, Sweep Griffins With 6-2 Win

(Photo Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)

 Cedar Park, TX - A night after Mavrik Bourque's four-goal performance, including the game winner in overtime, the Texas Stars rode a four-goal third period along with Remi Poirier's 35 save effort to go on to topple the Grand Rapids Griffins 6-2 in front of 5,468 Wednesday night at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, in a game that was closer than the score indicated.

Nolan Stevens got the Griffins up early in the first when he went unassisted and beat Poirier with a laser from the slot while the crowd was still filing in, just 2:14 into the game.

Tuesday night's hero, Bourque scored the fifth straight Stars goal in two nights, when on the power play the 2020 first rounder one-timed a pass from rookie sensation Logan Stankoven past Griffins goalie Sebastion Cossa to level the game at 1-1 at 7:31 into the game. Derrick Pouliot was credited with the additional assist.

Texas took the lead, a lead they would never relinquish seven minutes later when rookie Artem Grushnikov scored his first North American professional from the top of the zone after tape-to-tape passes from Oskar Back and Matej Blumel to make it 2-1, a score the teams would take to the intermission after a period that saw Texas outshoot Grand Rapids 13-11

Neither team got on the board in the second in a period that saw the Stars once again outshoot the Griffs, this by an 11-9 edge, and teams remained with Texas leading 2-1 after forty.

The third period started off slow for Texas, really slow as they were outshot 9-1 over the first 6:26 of the final stanza with Poirier making several highlight reel stops along the way. With the crowd chanting "Remi, Remi, Remi" the offense got into gear and Ben Berard lit the lamp for his first professional goal to give the Stars some insurance at 3-1 with 12:32 left in regulation, what would ultimately be the game winner.

"Yeah, it feels good," Berard said of his inaugural professional goal. "You know when you don't have one you kind of you want it and maybe tighten up a little bit when you have a chance so to get that out of the way feels good."

Just over midway through the frame and with Texas once again on the power play, Scott Reedy netted his fifth goal of the year on a wrister from the slot to make it 4-1 with 8:30 left. Pouliot and Stankoven each tallied their second assists on the night. Texas finished 2-for-4 on the advantage Wednesday.

Frederik Karlstrom added an empty net goal with 2:05 left and Nic Caamano put the cherry on the pie of the game eight seconds later and Texas skated on to the 6-2 win, clinching the two-game series sweep.

Between the pipes, Poirier stopped 35-of-37 as he saw his record on the season improve to 8-3-2. 

"It's nice since my fight last year the crowds really liked me so I appreciate that really like them," Poirier said of the 'Remi' chants. "Obviously [it] put me in the game and gave me some confidence, so I really appreciate that."

Cossa made 32 saves on the 38 shots he saw as his record fell to 4-6-3.

With the win, Texas heads into the holidays leading the Central Division as their record moves to 16-7-2-1 (35 pts.). With the loss, Grand Rapids sees their record fall to 9-13-3-1 (22 pts.), leaving them entrenched in fifth in the division.

Up next, the Stars get a well-deserved eight-day break heading into the holidays. Texas heads out on a three-game road trip starting with a pair in Winnipeg as they take on the Manitoba Moose on December 29th & the 31st. The Stars don't return to Cedar Park until hosting a back-to-back against the Rockford IceHogs starting January 5th.

Happy Holidays y'all.

Tonight's lines



Injuries, scratches and notes
McDonald, J. Murray, Stranges (scratch)
Bayreuther (out - ankle)

Tonight's attendance was 5,468.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Grand Rapids - December 20 2023