ECHL: Utah Grizzlies post shutout vs. Alaska Aces
West Valley City • It was a night of twos for the Utah Grizzlies at the Maverik Center on Wednesday night.
At the concession stands, fans enjoyed $2 hot dogs and drinks, while on the ice, the Grizzlies' Michael Pelech scored his second goal of the year to help Utah beat the Alaska Aces, 2-0.
Both teams played aggressive hockey, with the Grizzlies firing 34 shots on goal through three periods, compared with 29 shots for the Aces. But goaltending was the story for the Grizz.
One game after getting his second win of the season, Igor Bobkov was outstanding once again for Utah, stopping all 29 Alaska shots for his first shutout as a member of the Grizzlies.
"He was great," said coach Tim Branham of Bobkov. "He made some big saves. We broke down a couple times defensively â¦ but he was there. â¦ He won his first game here and then he was winless in six [games], so getting that win underneath his belt last game just gives him more confidence, and then tonight he was just phenomenal."
Branham was upset with his team's offensive performance to start the season, so the first-year head coach made some line changes prior to Saturday's game against San Francisco. The changes paid off instantly as Utah scored five goals for the first time this season. One game later, Branham's line changes continue to pay dividends on offense for Utah.
Five minutes into the second period, Michael Pelech forced a turnover in the Aces' offensive zone and fired the puck past Alaska's goalkeeper for the game-winning goal.
Minutes later, during their first power play of the night (and after the first penalty assessed to either team through two periods) the Grizz scored again to take a 2-0 lead, as Teigan Zahn fired a one-timer to the net and the puck was tipped in by Kris Hogg for his fifth goal of the year.
"I split the lines a little bit and I [put] a little grinding on each line," said Branham. "The thing about my grinders though, is that they have skill, too â¦ those guys are a real key part of our team. They play with energy and they keep the other team honest. They have given room for our skill guys to make plays."
Grizzlies 2, Aces 0
O Igor Bobkov posts his first shutout of the season for his third win of the year.
• Grizzlies goalkeepers have held their opponent to two goals or fewer in nine of their last 11 games.
• Utah gets its third win in its last 11 games against Alaska at home.