Stars retake series lead with OT win

Chris Mueller scored 3:18 into overtime as the Texas Stars defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins, 3-2, in the pivotal fifth game of their Western Conference semifinal series on Friday night at Van Andel Arena.

With the win, the Stars take a 3-2 series lead back home with Games 6 and, if necessary, 7 scheduled for Cedar Park.

After dropping Games 3 and 4, the Stars raced out to an early 2-0 lead on Friday with goals 59 seconds apart.

Mike Hedden scored on a power play at 6:36 of the first period, redirecting a point shot by Jyrki Jokipakka for his fifth goal of the playoffs.

Brendan Ranford doubled the Stars’ lead at 7:35 with his seventh postseason goal, taking a pass from Curtis McKenzie and burying it behind Petr Mrazek.

Grand Rapids got on the board with a power-play goal at 11:22 of the second period as Mitch Callahan got a piece of Tomas Jurco‘s shot and deflected it past Jack Campbell.

Teemu Pulkkinen tied the game at 2-2 with 2:03 left in the middle frame, taking a cross-ice feed from Cory Emmerton and blasting a shot home from the top of the right-wing circle.

Following a scoreless third period, Mueller took a feed from Kevin Henderson, skated in alone down the right wing and blasted a shot past Mrazek from the dot to win it for Texas in overtime.

Campbell made 34 saves, but left the game with an apparent injury with 1:59 remaining in regulation due to injury. Cristopher Nilstorp (4-1) stopped all four shots he faced in relief and earned the win.

Mrazek (5-4) stopped 26 of 29 shots in the loss.

Western Conference Semifinals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
1-Texas Stars vs. 4-Grand Rapids Griffins
| Series Snapshot
Game 1 – Thu., May 8 – TEXAS 5, Grand Rapids 2
Game 2 – Sat., May 10 – TEXAS 4, Grand Rapids 0 
Game 3 – Tue., May 13 – GRAND RAPIDS 5, Texas 2
Game 4 – Wed., May 14 – GRAND RAPIDS 3, Texas 2
Game 5 – Fri., May 16 – Texas 3, GRAND RAPIDS 2 (OT)
Game 6 – Sun., May 18 – Grand Rapids at Texas, 8:00
*Game 7 – Mon., May 19 – Grand Rapids at Texas, 8:30
   *if necessary… All times Eastern