Apparently it doesn't matter which goalkeeper the Utah Grizzlies throw in between the pipes, the team consistently gets a solid goaltending performance. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, the team can't seem to find a way to score the puck either, and fell to the Alaska Aces, 3-0, after being shut out for the second straight night.
After posting back-to-back shutouts against Alaska earlier this week, Igor Bobkov was recalled by Anaheim and assigned to the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League. No matter. Ben Meisner got the call for the Grizzlies on Saturday and saved 33 of 35 shots. But yet another outstanding performance by a Utah goalie wasn't enough to overcome the Grizzlies' lack of scoring.
"[The Aces] outplayed us all game tonight," said a disappointed coach Tim Branham. "They were faster than us, they were in better shape than us and they took it to us all game. [But] we had our spurts, we had our moments where we should have put the puck in the net. â¦ It's our guys who are supposed to score goals [that] are not scoring goals. It's about time that we started putting pressure on them â¦"
After drawing only two power plays the night before, Utah had Alaska short-handed on six occasions Saturday, including four power plays in a row during the first and second periods, but the team managed to put up only three shots during those early power plays and never really got anything going offensively.
Despite their offensive struggles, however, the Grizzlies continued to impress on defense.
Utah held the Aces without a goal through eight periods of hockey in the three-game series (plus one overtime), and through 5:36 of the third period of Saturday's contest. In total, Utah withstood a total of 83 shots before allowing Alaska's game-winning goal.
The Aces added a second goal with four minutes left in the third period, and a third after Utah emptied the net, to seal the victory.
"Our team is playing great defensively," said Branham. "We're offensively challenged."
At the end of the three-game series, Utah splits the six total standings points with Alaska and embarks on a six-game road trip beginning Friday in Bakersfield.
Storylines Actual header goes here
R Over the three-game series, Utah and Alaska goaltenders combine to stop 169 of 175 shots.
• One game after killing seven straight penalties, Utah goes 4 for 4 on the penalty-kill, but fails to capitalize on six power plays of its own.
• Utah scores two total goals in the series, and combined with Alaska, a total of six goals were scored in 185 minutes of hockey.