Bakersfield, Calif. • The heavyweight fight between Utah and Bakersfield in the first round of the ECHL playoffs continues Tuesday night.
After the Grizzlies and Condors split a pair of physical, low-scoring battles in Utah, Game 3 in the best-of-seven shifts to the Rabobank Convention Center at 8 p.m. MDT.
The Condors won the opening game of the bruising series, 1-0. Utah rallied for a 2-1 victory in Game 2, when Michael Pelech’s rebound goal with 10 minutes remaining was the difference.
Both teams have had difficulty scoring, mostly because goaltenders Aaron Dell and Laurent Broissoit have been superb.
Dell has stopped 47 of 49 shots by Bakersfield. Broissoit has stopped 55 of 57 shots by Utah.
The Grizzlies’ advantage in shot attempts is a little surprising, considering Bakersfield has enjoyed an 11-4 advantage in power play opportunities.
“We have to be more disciplined,” Utah coach Tim Branham said after Game 2. “... Whether we agree with all of [the calls] or not, we have to stay out of the box.”
Oddly, the momentum in the series shifted after Bakersfield found itself with a 5-on-3 power play late in the second period of Game 2.
The Condors owned a 1-0 lead at the time.
Considering how well Brossoit was playing, Salt Lake would have been in deep trouble if Bakersfield had been able to extend its advantage.
Instead, the Grizzlies killed the penalties and, as Teigan Zahn stepped back onto the ice, he found himself in a 2-on-1 break. Taking a pass from Brent Gwidt, he fired a low wrist shot past Brossoit, tying the game with Utah’s first goal of the series.
The sequence will be the obvious turning point, if Utah manages to win the series.
“It was huge,” Branham said.
Game 1 • Bakersfield 1, Utah 0
Game 2 • Utah 2,Bakersfield 1
Game 3 • at Bakersfield, Tuesday, 8 p.m. MDT
Game 4 • at Bakersfield, Thursday, 8 p.m. MDT
Game 5 • at Bakersfield, Friday, 8 p.m. MDT
x-Game 6 • at Utah, Sunday, 7 p.m.
x-Game 7 • at Utah, April 30, 7 p.m.
x — if necessary