West Valley City • On military appreciation night at the Maverik Center, in front of more than 9,000 fans, the surging Utah Grizzlies scored four second-period goals to beat the Idaho Steelheads, 4-1, in perhaps their most impressive and decisive victory of the season against their closest competition in a tight Western Conference playoff race.
With the win, Utah remains in third place with nine games remaining in the regular season.
Grizzlies 4, Steelheads 1Third-place Utah beats fourth-place Idaho for its fourth straight win to improve on the ECHL’s best record since late December.
» Danick Paquette extends his scoring streak to seven games with a two-goal night and has scored five goals in his last three games.
» Igor Bobkov saves 30 of 31 shots for his 16th win of the season.
"It was a real big win in front of a good crowd against a tough opponent," said coach Tim Branham. "We needed that. It was big for our confidence to know that we can get a lead on a team — [Idaho] especially — and keep it. That was a big win … an important one."
Despite the win, Utah took some time to get things going as Idaho killed each of the team’s first four power-play chances, including a 5-on-3 power play in the opening minutes of the second period.
But just when it seemed the tide might turn in Idaho’s favor, Utah scored back-to-back goals within a 42-second span. At 7:10 into the second period, Phil Mangan crashed the net for the game’s first goal. And just seconds later, Danick Paquette scored his 18th goal of the season to extend his scoring streak to seven games.
Then, 11:28 into the second period, just moments after Idaho gained a power-play advantage, Mathieu Abuin forced a turnover inside the Steelheads’ offensive zone and skated the length of the ice to score a short-handed, breakaway goal. The Grizz made it four in a row with just over a minute remaining in the second period as West Valley City native D.J. Jelitto held off a defender behind the Steelheads’ net and fired a centering pass to Paquette in the slot for a one-time blast that found the back of the net. Paquette has now scored five goals in Utah’s past three games.
The four goals by Utah in the second period are the most goals scored by the team in any period this season.
"The boys have [swagger] now," said Branham. "They know they can beat any team in this Conference."
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