CEDAR PARK, Texas — The Stars closed out their fourth homestand of the season Saturday night against the Grand Rapids Griffins. After suffering a 5-4 overtime loss in Friday night’s contest, the Stars struck for their own 4-3 overtime win on Saturday.
The Stars took to the ice Saturday night still hurting from the previous game’s disappointing result.
The Stars wasted no time in getting on the board. Exactly five minutes into the game, Riley Damiani scored his third goal of the season, this time on the power play. With a solid set up in the Griffins’ zone, the Stars stayed hot on the man advantage. The first period featured lots of back-and-forth play with both teams firing every puck on the net. Fortunately for the Stars, their shot was the next to go in. At 17:01 of the first period, Fredrik Karlstrom’s shot bounced perfectly off Calvin Pickard’s pad to Oskar Back who ripped it into the net.
With a 2-0 lead late in the first period, the Stars allowed a late goal to Jonatan Berggren to cut their lead in half. Berggren’s goal stifled all momentum the Stars had built up over the first 17+ minutes. Following intermission, the Stars were on their heels yet again when Damiani took an undisciplined penalty. After the puck was frozen, Damiani tapped Pickard with his stick on the way by. 14 seconds into the Damiani minor, Josh Melnick broke loose and notched the first shorthanded goal in the H-E-B Center this season, extending the Stars lead to two again.
At the end of the second period, there was an altercation in the corner which featured two fights and a resulting power play for the Griffins. Thomas Harley and Dan Renouf squared off alongside Ty Dellandrea and Dominik Shine. All four players left the ice for the remainder of the second and Harley and Renouf were both given match penalties. Andreas Borgman was also called for boarding on the play, resulting in a Stars penalty kill.
Borgman’s minor carried into the third and the Stars were without their top offensive defenseman for the rest of the game. Despite this, the Stars maintained their lead for much of the third period, until Turner Elson dangled through traffic and found Kyle Criscuolo to narrow the difference to one. Not even a minute later, Berggren got his second of the game and leveled it at three.
For the fourth straight game, the Stars found themselves playing in extra time. For the second straight night, the only shot in overtime proved to be the only one necessary as Ben Gleason took a pass from Dellandrea and slid it five-hole on Pickard for the OT winner.
The Stars have gotten accustomed to playing into overtime when they are at home. Splitting both games against the Griffins and the Colorado Eagles, Texas is struggling to get over .500 at home. This is the fourth straight series at home they have split and have found themselves having to claw back on the latter half in three of those four series. Getting three out of four possible points in the standings will help them going forward, but surely the team would prefer to pick up those extra points every chance they can.
There have been issues at times this season with maintaining the lead. Saturday night was no exception, with the Stars blowing a 3-1 lead in the final five minutes. Much of the issue in holding onto these leads come from a lack of discipline throughout. Unnecessary penalties and uncharacteristic lapses in puck movement and coverage have been the Stars’ kryptonite this season. In spite of this, they are still hovering around .500 and have yet to hit their stride.
The Stars will take to the road this week, crossing into the Great White North to take on the Manitoba Moose. Those games will be Saturday, Nov. 27th, and Sunday, Nov. 28th. The Stars will not return to action at the H-E-B Center until Thursday, Dec. 9th when they will take on the Chicago Wolves to start a month-long, 11 game homestand.
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