Texas Stars win season opener
BY DANIEL JONES
Outside it was a balmy 80-plus degrees, but inside the H-E-B Center in Cedar Park Friday night, Oct. 5, the ice was cold – marking the beginning of hockey season for the Texas Stars.
The Stars, who are the American Hockey League’s affiliate for the NHL’s Dallas Stars, opened their 10th season with a 3-1 home win over the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Coming off a strong season in which they won the Western Conference Championship with 38-24-0-14 record, the team picked up right where it left off.
Stars left winger Colton Hargrove scored an unassisted goal early in the first period before the Griffins tied the game going into the second period.
In the second period, center Joel L’Esperance scored on assists from Hargrove and right winger Erik Condra, sending the Stars into the third period with a 2-1 lead.
Lastly, Stars center Justin Dowling, in the last remaining minutes of the game, scored in an empty net after Grand Rapids had pulled their goalie.
Ultimately, the Stars took 21 shots on the night; the Griffins took 25, but Stars goalie Landon Bow was a defensive force with 24 saves on the night.
“I thought we were really resilient – kind of the trademark of our organization. I like the way we handled that, especially with 11 new guys in the lineup,” said Stars head coach Derek Laxdal after the game. His contract was extended earlier this year, tonight marking his fifth season leading the team.
“… It’s always tough to get that first win,” he added, “so now we can move forward and focus on the second one.”
The Stars play the Milwaukee Admirals Saturday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m., at the H-E-B Center in Cedar Park, the Admirals’ first game of the season. Last season, the Stars beat the Admirals three out of four times.
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