Hockey: Alaska Aces beat Utah Grizzlies 5-4
West Valley City • If familiarity breeds contempt, then Friday night's ECHL contest between Utah and Alaska was downright loathful.
For Utah coach Kevin Colley, who said his "immature" team had too many "crybabies" and "selfish prima donnas," it is quickly becoming time to re-evaluate his roster.
The Aces, losers to Utah twice during a four-game series in Anchorage, rode a second-period goal explosion then hung on for a 5-4 victory in the Maverik Center.
It was the fifth consecutive meeting between the two hockey teams, on the opposite ends of the Mountain Division, and the seventh in nine games.
"I don't even want to talk about the third period," Colley said. "We stunk pretty much in every aspect of the game. We come out and get that early goal. We should be rolling, be the hammer against a team that was not ready to play.
"When you have guys going through the motions, it's a recipe for disaster."
Alaska's victory marked the sixth win for the road team in the season series. The two meet again Saturday at 7 p.m.
After a solid, free-flowing start, the game sank into a flurry of power plays before Grizzlies forward Ian Schultz was ejected in a second period that saw the Aces (19-8-0) score three times.
The last goal of the period came via a brilliant pass from Alaska's Bobby Hughes, who hit the stick of teammate Zach Harrison right on the Utah doorstep to take a 5-1 lead. Utah keeper Grant Rollheiser had no chance against the quick 2-on-1 break. And it could have been worse as a few seconds later Alaska's Nick Mazzolini missed a wide-open net at point-blank range.
"This has been happening to us all year," said Utah forward Riley Armstrong, who scored two goals. "We get a one-goal lead off the start and then kind of sit back. Then they take it to us."
Utah (10-11-1) could not have asked for a better start. A Grizzly power play 12 seconds into the game led to the opening goal by Riley Armstrong eight seconds into the penalty. It was his first of two goals.
Alaska responded with two power-play goals in the first period to begin a string of five consecutive goals.
Aces 5, Grizzlies 4
R Utah scores the first goal 20 seconds into the game, but gives up 5 straight goals.
• Riley Armstrong scores his ninth and 10th goals of the season for Utah.
• Utah outshoots Alaska 37-17 but is short handed a total of 25 minutes due to penalties.