Alaska goalie Gerald Coleman shut out the Grizzlies for more than 58 straight minutes to help beat Utah, 2-1, at the Maverik Center on Friday in front of 6,669 fans.
The Grizzlies, winners of five of their last eight and boasting a 20-6-2-3 record in their last 31 games, lose to Alaska for the fifth time in the teams’ last five meetings.
“We weren’t good enough on the penalty-kill,” said Coach Tim Branham. “We took some dumb penalties. … [Alaska] just managed the puck better than we did. They had a lot [fewer] turnovers … and that cost us the game.”
Despite the loss, the Grizzlies got off to a fast start, dominating the puck early and firing up nine first-period shots. But 13:10 into the first period, the Aces’ Brett Findlay skated ahead of the Grizzlies’ penalty-kill unit and fired a one-time blast to beat goalie Igor Bobkov for the game’s first goal.
Utah had several scoring chances through the first two periods, including during two power plays, but Alaska goalie Gerald Coleman sent away every Grizzlies’ attempt for 17 saves heading into the second intermission. With the exception of the early power-play goal, Igor Bobkov matched his Alaska counterpart, shot for shot, totaling 15 saves through two periods. The loss is Bobkov’s first in 12 games for Utah.
“You can’t fault him,” said Branham speaking of his goalie. “We’ve got to get more run support for him. One goal is not enough. … He’s definitely not the problem.”
The Grizz looked to pull even late in the second period after Utah forward Vinny Scarsella was sent to the boards on a vicious hit from the Aces’ Zach Davies. But before a penalty could be assessed, Teigan Zahn stepped in to defend his teammate and was assessed penalties for fighting and instigating, negating Utah’s would be power-play chance.
Alaska made it 2-0 during its sixth power play before Utah emptied the net with just two minutes remaining in the third period. On cue, Jamie MacQueen scored on a slap shot from the crease, but the goal was too little too late.
“I think we can compete with any team in this conference,” said Branham. “But we’ve just got to make sure we play our best every night, and that’s everyone, top to bottom.”
The Grizz will face off against Alaska for the final time this season on Saturday.
Utah allows two power-play goals on six Alaska chances and goes 0-3 on the power play.
Grizzlies’ goalie Igor Bobkov saves 22 of 24 shots and records a loss for the first time in 12 games.
Grieving the death of his father Dirk, Utah native D.J. Jelitto plays well, recording two shots on goal with no goals and no assists and 0 penalty minutes.
Aces 2, Grizzlies 1
O Utah allows two power-play goals on six Alaska chances and goes 0-3 on the power play.
• Grieving the death of his father Dirk, Utah native D.J. Jelitto plays well, recording two shots on goal with no goals and no assists and 0 penalty minutes.