Utah Grizzlies: The Falcons strike back at Grizzlies
WEST VALLEY CITY - The Grizzlies knew it was coming.
Utah knew the Falcons - down 0-2 in the best-of-seven-series - would not be the same team they faced in Fresno. Utah knew the Falcons would be playing for their playoff lives.
Though the Grizzlies knew what to expect, the 3-0 loss Fresno handed them on Wednesday night at the E Center indicated otherwise.
"They put their lives on the line and we knew they were going to come hard and we needed to match that," said Utah right wing Travis Rycroft. "This will be the game that wakes us up."
Fresno wasn't as dominant as its shutout victory suggests. For 55 minutes and 30 seconds, the Falcons held on to just a one-goal lead and at that time, the number of shots-on-goal for both teams was close.
The Grizzlies created plenty of chances to tie the game. In the second period, Utah had opportunities to score off rebounds. In the third, there were some defensive breakdowns the Grizzlies could have capitalized on. But, all 37 of Utah's shots were denied by Fresno goalie Jake Moreland.
"We tried to force a lot of plays, tried to run and gun too much," Utah coach Jason Christie said. "That was the difference [between this game and the first two]."
With 4:30 left to play, Fresno's Josh Prudden gave his team some breathing room when his shot from the right side snuck past Grizzlies' goalie Nate Lawson.
Seconds later, a full team brawl happened behind Fresno's net after Scott Burt took a shot on goal. Six players were penalized for fighting, with Fresno's Matt O'Dette getting the additional roughing penalty.
The Grizzlies got one more good look on the power-play with 1:43 left to play, but still couldn't finish.
The game ended with Fresno's Daryl Marcoux scoring on an open net.
"Basically, it was a 1-0 game until five minutes left. We battled," Rycroft said. "We still have a 2-1 [series] lead. We're not pushing the panic button yet."
Falcons 3, Grizz 0
* After scoring 10 goals in Fresno on Sunday and Monday, the Grizzlies are held scoreless in Game 3.
* Fresno's Jake Moreland records the shutout with 37 saves.
* Josh Prudden's power-play goal with 4:30 left to play gives Fresno the breathing room it needed.
Utah 6, Fresno 1
Utah 4, Fresno 3 (30T)
Fresno 3, Utah 0
Friday, 7:05 p.m., E Center
Saturday, 7:05 p.m., E Center
Monday, 8 p.m., at Fresno
April 23, 8 p.m., at Fresno