ECHL: After 7-4 loss, Grizzlies to face Ontario in playoffs
West Valley City • At least the Utah Grizzlies know their first opponent in the upcoming ECHL playoffs.
After Colorado used a four-goal second period as the springboard to a 7-4 victory Friday night at the Maverik Center, the Grizzlies are locked in as the Western Conference's No. 7 seed.
Utah will face second-seeded Ontario in the opening round. Game 1 in the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night in California.
"It's going to be a battle," said Grizzly coach Kevin Colley. "They compete, but I like to think we have a lot of guys who compete, too. So it's going to be a good series. We're pretty familiar with how they play and it can get chippy. But I wouldn't expect anything less."
Against Colorado, Utah lost in regulation for the first time since March 6. The Grizzlies had earned at least one point in 10 straight games before being manhandled by the Eagles.
"They were better than us, no question," Colley said. "They played a playoff game and we didn't. It's unfortunate, but I give our guys a lot of credit. We were unbeaten in 10 straight [games] and that's something to be proud of."
Colley hopes his team learned a late-season lesson against the Eagles, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
"We have to look at the big picture and move forward and realize how we need to compete for 60 minutes," Colley said.
"You can't get the warm-and-fuzzies. You have to be hungry at all times. We had an off night and we have to regroup and get ready for Ontario."
Colley hinted some players might be rested in Saturday night's rematch with Colorado in the regular-season finale. Certainly, the Grizzlies appeared a step behind the Eagles during their lopsided loss.
After the teams fought to a 1-1 tie in the first period, Colorado dominated the final 40 minutes.
Kevin Ulanski and Greg Gardner scored in the opening 80 seconds of the second period to give the Eagles a 3-1 lead.
Eagles 7, Grizzlies 4
O After Friday's loss to Colorado, Utah is locked in as the Western Conference's No. 7 seed for the upcoming playoffs.
• The Grizzlies lose in regulation for the first time since March 6 a span of 10 games.