Dillon Heatherington makes Texas Stars debut in 5-2 loss to Grand Rapids Griffins

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Dillon Heatherington made his debut for the Texas Stars after getting traded from Columbus for Lauri Korpikoski.

Heatherington looked comfortable in his debut on Nick Ebert’s left side, but the Texas Stars struggles continued, mostly on special teams, in a 5-2 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Texas got off to a solid start. They killed off the game’s first penalty 22 seconds into the game, and then responded with an even strength goal. Nick Ebert slapped the puck from the blueline, allowing Cole Ully to deftly deflect the puck past Jimmy Howard.

However, Austin Fyten’s goaltender interference minor would put Dallas back on the penalty kill.

Like clockwork, the penalty kill continued its leaky run. Evgeny Svechnikov banked one past Justin Peters. Tyler Bertuzzi would follow it up for the 2-1 lead when he found himself open in the middle of the ice thanks to sloppy defensive work by Texas.

Shots were 18 to 9 in favor of the Stars three minutes into the second period. Texas tied the game up with a great no look center ice feed to Mark McNeil, who potted his first goal as a Star.

Matej Stransky nearly gave Texas the lead when he had a wide open chance in the low slot on the power play but whiffed completely. Texas had great looks on the power play, in part due to the budding chemistry between Morin and McNeil.

Texas appeared to run out of gas going into and during the third period. After dominating most of the first half of the game, the Griffins pushed back, eventually gaining the edge in shots.

Grand Rapids took advantage of their growing amount of opportunities, taking the lead thanks to Eric Tangradi.

Texas made a strong push halfway into the final frame. They spent almost a minute pressuring in the zone while the refs swallowed their whistles when it seemed like the Griffins got away with several potential hooking minors.

The Stars got a chance to tie it up on the power play with four minutes left in regulation.

It was Grand Rapids who ended up with the prime scoring chance, however. Texas overcommitted on the man advantage, allowing the Griffins to beat Peters on a prime 2 on 1 threat. Ben Street was the benefactor. Grand Rapids scored an empty netter for salt in the proverbial wound.

Texas gets back on the road, but remain in Texas for the matinee contest against San Antonio at 3 on Sunday.

Texas Stars Line Up

Jason Dickinson – Travis Morin – Mark McNeil

Brandon DeFazio – Justin Dowling – Matej Stransky

Cole Ully – Gemel Smith – Ethan Werek

Austin Fyten – Mike McMurtry – Matt Mangene

Dillon Heatherington – Nick Ebert

Andrew Bodnarchuk – Julius Honka

Dustin Stevenson – Ludwig Bystrom

Justin Peters

Scratches: Gurianov, Backman, Herbert, Hache

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