West Valley City • The Utah Grizzlies haven’t lost back-to-back home games all season, and with the first place Alaska Aces in town, they weren’t about to start a new trend. Brent Gwidt scored the game-winning goal off a perfect pass from Teigan Zahn with less than seven minutes remaining in the third period to help Utah beat the Aces, 4-3.
“You never want to lose two in a row,” said Coach Tim Branham. “I thought it was really good response [after] yesterday’s game. We needed to put more pucks in the back of the net and we did that today.”
After being shutout for the first 58 minutes of Friday’s loss to Alaska, it took only one minute for the Grizzlies to get their first goal on Saturday. On Utah’s first shot of the game, Danick Paquette skated behind the Aces’ goal and dumped a pass to Zahn who redirected the puck for his seventh goal of the season. And less than four minutes later, David Vallorani made it 2-0 as he found the back of the net for his 19th goal of the year.
Utah nearly added a third goal before the first intermission as Jamie MacQueen broke away from the Alaska defense but couldn’t beat goalie Gerald Coleman with his backhanded attempt. Through the first 20 minutes of play, the Grizzlies thoroughly dominated Alaska, killing both Aces’ power plays and tallying 13 shots, compared with just nine for Alaska.
“We came out strong in both of these games,” said Branham. “It was kind of similar [to Friday’s loss]. We just put the puck in the net today. … We battled through and found a way this time.”
The Aces came back to score two goals in the second period, including a four-on-four goal to tie the game, 2-2, midway through the period. But with less than four minutes remaining on the second period clock, Zahn fired a pass from behind the blue line in the Aces’ offensive zone to find a streaking MacQueen who scored a power-play goal on his second break-away attempt of the game.
MacQueen now leads all Grizzlies in goals scored with 19 through 35 games.
Alaska pulled even again with a power-play goal of its own in the opening minutes of the third period, but the Grizzlies were not to be denied. With less than seven minutes remaining, Zahn skated the puck down the left side past two Alaska defenders before finding Brent Gwidt for the game-winning goal.
Grizzlies 4, Aces 3
R Making his first appearance for the Grizzlies in almost two weeks, Aaron Dell returns from the AHL to save 23 of 26 shots for his 15th win.
• Teigan Zahn records three points on a goal and two assists, including an assist on the game-winning goal in the third period.
• Utah wins to improve to 6-0 following a regulation loss at home this season.