West Valley City • The Utah Grizzlies just keep climbing the ECHL standings.
Igor Bobkov stopped all but one shot he saw on Wednesday for a total of 26 saves, and Utah never trailed, beating the Idaho Steelheads, 2-1, and bumping its record to 25-19-3-5 to move within one standings point of second place in the Mountain Division.
"It’s no secret," said Grizz coach Tim Branham. "The reason for our turnaround … we’ve been getting really good goaltending. If you look at the good teams in this league, they have really good goaltending. … It’s the most important position. [Bobkov] is now unbeaten in his last ten [games]."
After failing to record a shot during their first power play of the night, the Grizzlies completely dominated the puck, moving it crisply through the offensive zone, on their second go-around. And less than two minutes into the second period, Phil Mangan collected a pass near the blue line and fired a slap shot to beat Idaho goalie, Pat Nagle, for the game’s first goal.
Seconds later, Idaho capitalized on Utah’s first penalty, scoring a power-play goal of its own after Michael Pelech was sent to the box for crosschecking.
But the Grizzlies regained the lead when Vinny Scarsella turned a perfect pass from Danick Paquette into the game-winning goal.
Twelve minutes into the second period, as the Utah regained full strength after Idaho’s second power play, Danick Paquette received the puck near the red line just as Vinny Scarsella skated out of the penalty box. The two Grizzlies led a 2-on-1 break down the ice and Paquette dumped the puck to his teammate with a nifty backhand pass before Scarsella found the back of the net for his ninth goal of the season.
"The puck kind of squirted out to Paquette," said Scarsella. "I really thought he would shoot it, but he made a really nice play, faking the [defense] out. He kind of faked me out too at first and then I saw the puck coming and all I had to do was tap it in."
Utah and Idaho will face off again on Friday for game three of the four game home-and-home series.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.