Hockey: Utah Grizzlies beat Bakersfield Condors, 5-3
West Valley City • This week Mitch Wahl, still the Utah Grizzlies' top scorer, was named an ECHL All-Star.
The only problem for Utah? Wahl now plays for the AHL's Abbotsford Heat. Wahl was one of seven Utah player who left for teams in the NHL or the triple-A AHL.
Massive player movement is one of the aftereffects of the recently concluded 113-day NHL lockout. And the Grizzlies, who battered Bakersfield 5-3 Friday in the Maverik Center, were not alone in seeing their roster change.
"You'll go mental if you try to figure things out," Utah coach Kevin Colley said. "We just have to make sure we're doing our part with the guys in the locker room."
On Friday, paced by Kory Falite's two goals, Utah (15-16-2-3) scored five in the second and third periods. Bryan Cameron and Falite scored within 25 seconds of each other in the second period to put the Grizzlies in front 2-1.
Bakersfield (11-27-1-2) and Utah traded goals until Colin Vock and Falite of the Grizzlies put the game on ice in the third period.
"I like positive rebound, especially in the third period," Colley said. "We've been struggling in that period."
Following the lockout, a glut of players competing in lower leagues, such as the ECHL or Central Hockey League, or Europe, returned to the NHL. Salt Lake City native and L.A. King Trevor Lewis spent a productive week with Utah.
However, since the signing of the NHL's new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, nearly 150 players have left the ECHL for the NHL or AHL. And that has left a hole.
"You worry every day," Colley said. "It's one day at a time. It's a scary situation."
Although three of the players who left have returned to Utah, including forward Riley Armstrong, the Grizzlies still needed to fill holes. Utah plucked Berkley Scott from Knoxville of the single-A Southern Professional Hockey League. T.J. Batani would have made the Grizzlies in fall camp, but was edged out by lockout players.
And Mike Adamek, living in Park City, was available.
Grizzlies 5,Condors 3
O Kory Falite scores two goals, while Bryan Cameron and Colin Vock each score a goal and add an assist.
• Utah extends its streak of not allowing a power-play goal to 26 chances over four games.