The Detroit Red Wings’ Alex Nedeljkovic couldn’t help himself when the opportunity arose. Holding a 4-2 lead over the Texas Stars, the empty net dared for a shot–and he took it. Unfortunately for Nedeljkovic, it was off.
But the rest of his performance wasn’t. Nedeljkovic made 33 saves in his second conditioning stint, backstopping Grand Rapids to a 4-2 victory over the red hot Texas Stars, who came in 10-0-0-2 in its last 12 games.
While the win was impressive, Nedeljkovic cracked a smile when talking about the chance at a goal.
— Griffins Nest (@GrGriffinsNest) January 7, 2023
“That’ll keep me up for a couple days,” Nedeljkovic said. “That was a pretty bad effort on my part. They were sitting and waiting on it and had a guy pretty far back. But just from an on-target point of view, that was nowhere near the net.”
Nedeljkovic has now stopped 59 of 62 shots in the two games with the Griffins, giving him a .952 save percentage. If he’s looking for momentum once he returns to Detroit, it’s certainly a good start.
“I think the numbers could be a little better than what they are,” Nedeljkovic said. “But I feel good about my game. Just keep rolling, and hopefully have another good showing tomorrow.”
Nedeljkovic Stands Strong in Second Game
Nedeljkovic was tested early by former Griffin Riley Barber, who ripped a shot during a five-on-three chance for Texas. Nedeljkovic gobbled it right up, and Grand Rapids would go onto wipe out the two-man advantage. The Griffins would add goals, including a shorthanded goal by Austin Czarnik that would bump the lead to 4-0.
There was no panic for Grand Rapids as the Stars pushed hard in the final two minutes, notching a couple in a 46-second frame. The latter goal is one he wishes he could have back.
“The second one I saw clean,” Nedeljkovic said. “I just didn’t make the correct save. I have to find a way to smother that first shot instead of letting it trickle by and throw it back in front and get a lucky bounce.”
Regardless, coming away with a 4-2 victory against a team on a 12-game point streak certainly bodes well for both the Griffins and Nedeljkovic.
“A huge win for our group,” Griffins head coach Ben Simon said. “Ned’s played so well, obviously we wanted to try to earn him a shutout. It does leave a little bit of a bitter taste in your mouth, but I’ll make sure to see the big picture.
“Having an experienced guy like Ned back there obviously does help. We just have to make sure in those situations not to give up significant chances.”