West Valley City • Vinny Scarsella and Phil Mangan scored back-to-back goals within the first 1:35 of the first period, and the Utah Grizzlies never looked back, extending their season-best home unbeaten streak to seven games by beating the Idaho Steelheads, 4-2, at the Maverik Center on Saturday.
With the win, Utah improves its record to 8-2-1-2 in its last 13 games.
“That’s the kind of start we’re looking for,” said Utah coach Tim Branham. “Guys are sticking to the system, they’re working hard — they’re finishing their checks, scoring goals. We just got to keep it rolling. We played a solid game.”
Despite arriving in West Valley City by bus at around 3:30 a.m. Saturday after a late game in Idaho, the Grizzlies showed no signs of fatigue. Only 47 second into the first period, Utah scored on its first shot of the night as D.J. Jelitto skated behind the Steelheads’ goal and wrapped the puck around to teammate Vinny Scarsella, who found the back of the net for his eighth goal of the year.
Less than a minute later, at 1:35 in the first period, Phil Mangan gathered the puck off the faceoff to begin Utah’s first power play and fired home his fifth goal as a member of the Grizz. In addition to the five goals, Mangan has recorded three assists since joining the team midway through the season.
The Grizzlies have scored two first-period goals in four consecutive games after achieving the feat only three times in their first 33 games.
Idaho answered with a power-play goal of its own to cut into the lead, but seven minutes into the second period, Utah’s David Vallorani skated the puck down the ice with only one defender to beat. The Steelheads defenseman threw his stick and dived between Vallorani and the net, but even that wasn’t enough to prevent the second-year pro from scoring his team-leading 14th goal of the year.
Danick Paquette sealed the win for the Grizz in the third period, firing a shot from the blue line between two defenders for Utah’s fourth goal.
Utah will face off against Idaho again Monday afternoon to complete the four-game home-and-home series.
“We’re right behind [Idaho] in the standings, said Branham. “We want to close the gap. We know we can and we’re a lot better team than our records shows and we’re proving that.”
Grizzlies 4,Steelheads 2
O A night after going 7 for 7 on the penalty-kill, Utah allows two power-play goals on five Idaho chances.
• Utah outshoots Idaho 33-31, and for the first time in six games, the team allows an opponent to shoot more than 27 shots.