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1 comment Grand Rapids Griffins' season comes to painful end against Texas Stars in Game 6

May 19th, 2014 - Sports News

(Mlive)– The season-long goal to repeat as Calder Cup champions, and the drama of a must-win game in Texas ended quickly and painfully Sunday for the Grand Rapids Griffins.

The Stars scored three times in the first period, chased goalie Petr Mrazek early in the second and thoroughly dominated throughout to win Game 6, 7-1, to clinch the Western Conference semifinals.

The loss ends the playoff run for the Griffins, who needed to win twice in Texas to avoid elimination. They were the fourth seed in the conference after they finished second in the Midwest Division in the regular season.

The Stars, the No. 1-seed in the conference, will meet Toronto in the conference finals beginning in Texas on Friday, May 23. The Marlies completed a sweep of Chicago on Friday.

The Griffins struggled in the first two games of the series in Texas – getting outscored 9-2 - and nothing changed in their return for Game 6 before 4,002 at Cedar Park Center in Austin, Texas. Teemu Pulkkinen scored 36 seconds in the first period for a 1-0 lead, and the highlight of the night for the Griffins.

The Stars’ Chris Mueller, who scored in overtime to win Game 5 in Grand Rapids, answered Pulkkinen’s goal three minutes later.

But that opened the floodgates.

Dustin Jeffrey scored a minute later, and Derek Meech added the third midway through the period.

The outburst extended into the start of the second when Radek Faksa got his first goal and first points of the playoffs that pushed the lead to 4-1 two minutes in that chased Mrazek.

Mrazek, who played in 34 consecutive playoff games dating back to last season. was replaced by Tom McCollum, who got his first action in five seasons with the Griffins.

The Stars dominated shots in the second period, 14-5, part of a 34-24 overall shot advantage.

In the third, the Stars added three more goals, two against McCollum - the second of the game by Faksa two minutes in, and by Brett Ritchie with eight minutes left on the power play. It was also Ritchie’s first game of the playoffs.

An empty net goal by Jeffrey, coming short-handed, capped the scoring with just over six minutes left.

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