CEDAR PARK, Texas – In his AHL debut, Petr Mrazek recorded 29 saves to help the Grand Rapids Griffins defeat the Texas Stars 4-2 Saturday at the Cedar Park Center.
The Griffins’ offense was led by their three Swedish players, as Adam Almquist scored his first two AHL goals and Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist also stuck to help the Griffins improve to 3-4-1-1.
Grand Rapids’ quick start marked the seventh time in nine games it has scored before its opponent. Moments after returning to full strength, Brent Raedeke found Almquist coming up the left side trailing the play. Almquist’s wrist shot from the left circle beat Stars goaltender Jack Campbell to give the Griffins a 1-0 lead at 3:08 of the first period.
Mrazek kept the Stars from scoring the equalizer with under one minute left in a Texas power play. Matt Fraser received a pass on the back side of the net, but Mrazek cut across just in time to deny Fraser the backdoor play with one of his 15 first-period saves.
Colton Sceviour tied the score at one at 13:48 of the first period. Jamie Oleksiak found Sceviour streaking up the middle, and Sceviour beat Mrazek with a wrist shot from the top of the slot.
The Griffins restored their one-goal lead just over two minutes later. Campbell robbed Tomas Tatar of a goal, but Tatar centered the rebound to Joakim Andersson who was waiting in front of the net. Andersson’s backhander appeared to be going wide of the goal, but the puck deflected off Stars defender Cody Eakin’s skate and into the net at 15:27.
Almquist scored his second long-distance goal of the night on a power play at 2:43 of the second period. On a pass from Nathan Paetsch, Almquist one-timed the puck towards the goal from just inside the blueline. Campbell mishandled the puck and it found the back of the net, giving Grand Rapids a 3-1 lead heading into the third period.
Gustav Nyquist sealed the victory for the Griffins with his team-leading fifth goal of the season at 16:00 of the third period. With a wide open shot opportunity of his own, Tatar quickly dumped the puck to Nyquist who found the back of the net an extended his point streak to six games.
Campbell recorded 23 saves while Mrazek earned the victory in his AHL debut with 29 saves.
The Griffins will stay in Texas to finish their second three-in-three of the season, playing the Houston Aeros tomorrow at 6:05 EST.
GAME NOTES : Tonight’s matchup marked the first meeting between Griffins’ Brendan Smith and Stars’ Reilly Smith, brothers from Mimico, Ontario.
THREE STARS : 1. GR Almquist (two goals); 2. GR Mrazek (W, 29 saves); 3. TEX Sceviour (goal)
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