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ECHL: Utah Grizzlies’ victory breaks franchise’s home unbeaten streak
First Published Jan 29 2014 11:04 pm • Last Updated Mar 24 2014 11:37 pm

West Valley City • Hometown native D.J. Jelitto scored a tie-breaking goal with 12 minutes left in the third period Wednesday, leading the Grizzlies to a 2-1 victory over the Las Vegas Wranglers. The win extends Utah’s home unbeaten streak to 11 games — the longest home unbeaten streak since the team moved to Utah in 1995.

"[We] come to play," said Coach Tim Branham. "The first half of this game wasn’t great, but we hung in there … and we found a way to get it done. We’re finding ways to win games versus finding ways to lose games. You’ve got to give the boys a lot of credit … for breaking that record. That’s something special."

At a glance

Grizzlies 2,Wranglers 1

O Utah outshoots Las Vegas, 39-28, and improves its record to 11-2-2-2 since Christmas – the best record in the ECHL during that stretch.

» Jamie MacQueen extends his personal season-best scoring streak to five games and has recorded three goals and four assists during a seven-game stretch.

» The Wranglers’ power-play goal snaps a streak of eight straight killed penalties by the Grizzlies and is only the third Las Vegas power-goal allowed by Utah in 29 chances this year.

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One day after Aaron Dell was named the ECHL goaltender of the week for his two wins and .949 save percentage in two appearances last week, the goalie was given a well-deserved night off prior to Utah’s two-game weekend in Bakersfield. In his place, Igor Bobkov saved 27 of 28 shots for his fourth win as a member of the Grizzlies.

"[Bobkov] showed what kind of a goalie he is," said Branham. "He made some really, really big saves early in the game. He bailed us out. [There was] nothing he could do on [the one goal he allowed] … we just messed up in front of him. We need that same effort every time."

Six minutes into the game, Las Vegas grabbed a 1-0 lead on its first power play of the night after Utah’s David Vallorani was sent to the box for slashing. But with less than a minute remaining in the second period and only three seconds before the Wranglers regained full strength during Utah’s third power play, Kris Hogg fired the puck toward the net and Jamie MacQueen tipped in the game-tying goal.

The score remained tied until midway through the third period when Jelitto gathered a rebound off a missed shot from Michael Pelech and backhanded home his seventh goal of the season to break the 19-year-old home unbeaten record.

"It’s pretty cool," said Jelitto of scoring the game-winning goal to surpass the Utah franchise record. "I really didn’t know about this record until … this morning’s skate. … The guys definitely wanted to win to break that record … and to score the game-winner makes it even more special."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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