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Texas Toasts Grand Rapids 6-3
Five goal 1st period too much for Griffins to overcome...
By Jason Kasiorek
December 3rd, 2022

The visiting Texas Stars laid a major league beat down on the Grand Rapids Griffins Saturday night, scoring 3 goals on 6 shots to chase starter Jussi Olkinuora early in the first. They added two more before the end of the period to effectively put the game away en route to a 6-3 win. The Griffins got tallies from Trenton Bliss (1), Taro Hirose (6), and Pontus Andreasson (6) and a two-assist night from Chase Pearson. Victor Brattstrom absorbed the loss, coming in in relief and stopping 30 of 33 shots he faced.

First Period
Big Collision at center ice with Jared McIsaac leaving a Stars' player in a heap. Trenton Bliss buzzed around the Texas net and fired a blast from the slot that hit Khudobin in the chest. Bad Griffins defensive coverage left two Stars' players open around the net and Harley roofs a shot from the slot for a 1-0 Texas lead. Less than two minutes later, Petrovic fired a shot from out by the blueline that was tipped by Olofsson and beat Olkinuora low, stick-side. Tyler Spezia behind the Texas net centered the puck and touched off a scrum in front as several griffins tried to bury it. Texas on the powerplay and Karlstrom in front of Olkinuora took a pass and then went cross-crease to Damiani who snuck in and burned a shot into the net. That was all she wrote for Olkinuora as Victor Brattstrom came in in relief.

Texas wasted no time welcoming Brattstrom to the game, as Shea put a shot on net from the circle that Blumel tipped past the griffins netminder for a 4-0 lead. Edvinsson called for holding but really doesn't agree with the call. Dominik Shine saved a goal when he skated into the crease, stopped a shot that was going in, and carried it out of danger before sending it back up ice. The Griffins finally got on the board when Trenton Bliss crashed the net and jammed a loose puck past Khudobin for his first career AHL tally. A huge hit in the corner by Smith which drew a crowd. Wyatt Newpower with a big hit along the boards. With Gleason in the box for High-sticking, the Griffins had another chance with the man advantage. Edvinsson great defensive play to break up a 2-on-1, then block the shot and use his long reach to corral the loose puck and start the transition. Texas made it 5-1 when Kero at the side of the net took a nice pass from Barber and buried it, low glove-side. Shots on goal: GR 12 - Tex 14.

Second Period
Pearson found Hirose for a shot and a goal just 22 seconds into the period as the home team pulled to within three, 5-2. Barber to the box and GR has a chance to get back into the game. Griffins doing a good job of generating chances with the man advantage. A big shot from the slot hit Khudobin and knocked him down. Cedric LaCroix went after Studenic and pummeled him, earning an extra two minutes because the Stars winger never even got his gloves off. Shine in on Khudobin and was blatantly high-sticked and taken down right in front. Shortly after the powerplay expired, Cecconi attacked Lacroix and ended up in the box for 4 minutes. Texas with a nice rush added insult to injury scoring a shorthanded goal. Shots on goal: GR 15 - Tex 14.

Third Period
Brattstrom two-handed McKenzie as he went by, which drew a crowd. Edvinsson and Gardner came together, and Gardner dropped the gloves. LaCroix came right over and got involved, and Gardner backed down and changed his mind. They both went to the box for two minutes, and then promptly went at it again when they got out. Dominik Shine centered for Pearson who just couldn't get the shot off. McKenzie stuck his leg out and interfered with LaCroix going back to the bench. Then later in the shift, McKenzie got in a scuffle right in front of the GR bench right in front of LaCroix. McKenzie ended up getting four minutes in penalties to McIsaac's two. As the penalty expired, Andreasson walked out of the circle, took a pass from Shine, and buried it for a 6-3 final. Shots on goal: GR 8 - Tex 11. For the Game: GR 35 - Tex 39.

Starting Lines:
Team Dressed 11 F and 7 D
#79 Tyutyayev - #13 Worrad - #41 LaCroix
#17 Hirose - #22 Pearson - #11 L'Esperance
#54 Smith - #96 Andreasson/#32 Spezia - #65 Shine
#32 Spezia/#96 Andreasson - #13 Word/#65 Shine - #28 Bliss

Steady rotation of partners
#33 Johansson - #40 Newpower/#49 Barton
#77 Edvinsson - #20 Kampfer
#18 Lashoff - #3 McIsaac

Starter: #45 Olkinuora
Backup: #1 Brattstrom

#39 Chiasson
#45 Hellberg
#51 Criscuolo - Injured
#71 Hanas - Injured


#54 Smith - #11 L'Esperance - #96 Andreasson
#17 Hirose - #77 Edvinsson

#79 Tyutyayev - #28 Bliss - #22 Pearson
#33 Johansson - #65 Shine

#32 Spezia - #13 Worrad
#18 Lashoff - #40 Newpower/#33 Johansson

#22 Pearson - #65 Shine/#17 Hirose
#77 Edvinsson - #20 Kampfer


For the second night in a row, the Griffins came out with low energy and seemed very disinterested. Olkinuora was not sharp but truthfully had very little help as Texas was allowed to gain the zone and attack the net at will, with very little resistance. It is understandable our offensive game isn't on track with Berggren, Czarnik, and Luff in Detroit, and Cross Hanas out of the lineup with an injury. But defensively we should not look as bad as we have the last stretch of games. One has to wonder whether dressing 7 defensemen is hampering the chemistry and effectiveness of the blueline, since everyone plays with everyone else, and there are no steady partners. Texas played a poised game and clearly was playing within its system or plan of attack. The same could not be said of Grand Rapids, who were very disorganized and running around with little cohesion. Something will have to change, as I am sure the organization does not want blue chippers Edvinsson and Hanas learning bad habits in this environment.

Official Game Sheet