Jeffrey, Faksa Each Score Twice to Send Texas to Western Conference Finals
CEDAR PARK, TEXAS – Dustin Jeffrey and Radek Faksa each tallied two goals to lead the Texas Stars to a dominating 7-1 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins in Game 6 on Sunday night in front of a crowd of 4,010 fans at Cedar Park Center. The victory clinched the series for the Stars 4-2 and sent them to the 2014 Western Conference Finals for the second time in team history.
The Griffins grabbed the lead just 36 seconds into the first period as Riley Sheahan sent a cross-ice pass to rookie Teemu Pulkkinen, who one-timed it from the right faceoff dot into the top left corner. It would be the only goal the Stars would allow in the contest. At 3:56, Grand Rapids goaltender Petr Mrazek tipped left-winger Kevin Henderson’s centering pass into the middle of the slot where Chris Mueller was waiting and unleashed a slap-shot past Mrazek to tie the game at one. Texas took the lead 62 seconds later as center Dustin Jeffrey kept Mrazek guessing on a two-on-one and banked the puck of his pad and into the net. Mueller and Texas goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp notched the assists on Jeffrey’s goal. Defensemen Derek Meech extended the Stars’ lead to 3-1 on a slap shot that found its way through multiple screens and into the net at 10:37. Mike Hedden picked up the second assist on the goal to extend his playoff point streak to seven games, breaking the Stars’ franchise record.
Two minutes into the second period, rookie Radek Faksa scored an unassisted goal, the first of his Calder Cup Playoff career, beating Mrazek with a wrist shot from the high slot to put Texas on top 4-1. After giving up four unanswered goals, Tom McCollum was called in to replace Mrazek in net for Grand Rapids. The Stars kept the pressure on the Griffins, outshooting them 14-5 during the frame.
Faksa would score his second goal of the game at 2:22 of the third period, hammering home a rebound on a shot from fellow rookie Matej Stransky. In his return from a month-long injury, rookie Brett Ritchie scored a power play goal on a wrist shot from the slot at 11:53, beating McCollum for a 6-1 lead. In a last-ditch effort, Grand Rapids pulled the goalie with 6:26 left in regulation, but Dustin Jeffrey spoiled their six-on-four advantage, firing a shot from the Stars’ defensive zone and into the empty net, for a shorthanded goal to cap off a convincing 7-1 victory. Jeffrey’s second goal of the night broke the Stars’ franchise record for most goals scored by Texas in a single playoff game.
Cristopher Nilstorp (5-1) stopped 23-of-24 shots to record his fifth win of the playoffs in net for Texas. Grand Rapids goalie Petr Mrazek (5-5) started the game and had 13 saves on 17 shots and took the loss in 22:03 of action. Tom McCollum played 28:01 in relief and stopped 15-of-17 shots for a no-decision. The Stars out-shot the Griffins 34-24 and went 1-for-5 on the power play. Grand Rapids was 0-for-2 with the man-advantage.
The Texas Stars will open the 2014 Western Conference Finals with Game 1 on Friday, May 23rd at 7:30 p.m. at Cedar Park Center against the Toronto Marlies. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased via Ticketmaster or the Cedar Park Center Box Office. Friday’s game is a $3 Draft Beer and $4 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Wine Night, as well as a Texas Lottery Lucky Row Night. Texas Stars’ 2014 Calder Cup playoff ticket packages are on sale now! Reserve your seats for all Calder Cup playoff games at Cedar Park Center at a discounted rate. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.