Curtis McKenzie’s hat trick leads Texas past Grand Rapids 5-2

Texas kept their win streak alive and well in their 5-2 trouncing of Grad Rapids this Wednesday.

Both clubs began with a solid flow to the game, exchanging rushes but not giving up high quality chances.

One of the positive narratives trending for Texas has been their ability to control special teams, and keep play tight with Landon Bow growing increasingly more comfortable as the (un)official starter.

Only a few penalties were exchanged in the first period. The best chances came from the Denis Gurianov – Roope Hintz – Brian Flynn line. This sequence in particular saw Hintz chip it to himself to manage a prime chance in the slot.

The period ended with both clubs tied.

The Stars opened up the second frame with another prime chance. Gurianov and Hintz managed a two on one in the opening minute but Hintz shanked it just wide.

There wasn’t much action other than the Grand Rapids announcer trying real hard to get a couple to take advantage of the Kiss Cam.

After an uneventful first half, Bow made the rare critical error, passing it right to Griffin forward Colin Campbell on the forecheck, who tapped it into the open net for the shorthanded goal.

Texas answered right back just as the penalty expired. From the right dot, Justin Dowling fed Curtis McKenzie just outside the crease for the tap-in past Jared Coreau.

It didn’t take long for McKenzie to pounce back, shoving a puck through Coreau after making the initial save on Flynn.

The Griffins were quick to respond, tying it up when Tyler Bertuzzi beat Bow just five minutes into the middle frame.

Texas then got into trouble as Travis Morin and Jason Dickinson both went to the sin bin to give Grand Rapids a 5 on 3. Despite their general struggles – Texas still sits 27th in the league on the PK – the Stars killed it off to keep the game tied and Grand Rapids 0 for 5 on the power play.

Luckily for Texas, Joe Hicketts blew a tire in the defensive zone on a breakout. McKenzie was the lone Star forward to take advantage, and confidently put it past Coreau for the hat trick.

Texas had a scare when Evgeny Svechnikov missed a wide open net to potentailly tie the game with nine minutes left of the third.

Max French padded the lead with a two on one with Colin Markison. Apparently Texas was just heating up. After getting crunched along the boards, Dowling found himself wide open to complete the cross ice crease pass to Morin to beat an unsuspecting Coreau.

Texas returns to action Friday at 6 against Grand Rapids.

Line Up

Denis Gurianov – Roope Hintz – Brian Flynn

Travis Morin – Jason Dickinson – Curtis McKenzie

Matt Mangene – Justin Dowling – Sehldon Dries

Samuel Laberge – Max French – Colin Markison

Andrew Bodnarchuk – Niklas Hansson

Gavin Bayreuther – Reese Scarlett

Dillon Heatherington – Brett Regner

Landon Bow

Scratches: Fyten, Rallo, McNeill, Thompson

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