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ECHL: Toledo proves too tough for Utah Grizzlies

First Published      Last Updated Dec 14 2016 10:54 pm

ECHL » Toledo’s defense limits Grizzlies to 19 shots.

The Toledo Walleye are the best team in the ECHL this season for a reason. Playing stifling defense and balancing it with offensive firepower, the Walleye entered Wednesday night's contest against the Utah Grizzlies with an 18-4 record.

Holding the Grizzlies to a season low 19 shots, the Walleye offense did the rest at the Maverik Center, defeating Utah 5-3.

"Ultimately I thought we gave them way too much respect, particularly in the first period," Grizzlies coach Tim Branham said. "We know we can play with this team and we need to learn to have confidence right from the start. Once we realized they were just a normal team, we started playing."



For the fifth game in a row, the Grizzlies gave up the first goal of the game. Tylor Spink got the Walleye on the board with two seconds remaining in Toledo's first power play on a sharp wrist shot that beat Utah goalie Ryan McKay.

Halfway through the second period, Tyler Sikura fired a shot past McKay on an odd-man rush to make it 2-0 for the visitors. Utah would fight back late in the period and cut the deficit to 2-1, as a turnover by Toledo deep in its zone was controlled by Brad Navin, who promptly shot past a surprised Walleye goalie Cal Hester.

Whatever momentum the Grizzlies had acquired with the Navin goal was vanquished in the early moments of the third period. A pair of goals by Simon Denis and Carter Sandlak less than one minute apart thwarted any hope of a Utah comeback as the Grizzlies struggled to keep the puck out of their zone.

The Grizzlies would fight back with a pair of goals to make things interesting at 4-2. Navin scored his second of the night and when Mathieu Aubin's shot got past Hester with less than two minutes remaining, suddenly Utah had a glimmer of hope.

However, forced to play with an empty net, Walleye forward Shane Berschbach ended the Grizzlies' comeback attempt.

 

AT A GLANCE

ECHL standings

EASTERN CONFERENCE

North GP W L OL SL Pts GF GA

Manchester 24 15 7 1 1 32 91 74

Adirondack 22 13 4 2 3 31 78 60

Reading 24 14 8 1 1 30 85 74

Brampton 22 12 7 1 2 27 85 85

Wheeling 22 11 9 2 0 24 70 68

Elmira 22 6 12 4 0 16 52 74

South GP W L OL SOL Pts GF GA

Florida 22 15 4 1 2 33 78 62

Orlando 24 15 7 2 0 32 95 77

Greenville 23 12 9 2 0 26 72 72

South Carolina 22 11 9 1 1 24 60 58

Atlanta 26 10 13 2 1 23 90 100

Cincinnati 23 9 10 4 0 22 64 74

Norfolk 24 4 16 4 0 12 49 92

Western Conference

Central GP W L OL SOL Pts GF GA

Toledo 23 19 4 0 0 38 105 68

Tulsa 26 16 8 2 0 34 79 71

Fort Wayne 22 13 6 3 0 29 81 62

Quad City 23 13 7 1 2 29 66 61

Wichita 20 11 8 0 1 23 63 59

Kalamazoo 25 9 14 0 2 20 59 87

Indy 22 8 12 1 1 18 55 81

Mountain GP W L OL SOL Pts GF GA

Colorado 25 15 6 1 3 34 86 78

Alaska 23 14 5 1 3 32 83 64

Idaho 25 13 9 2 1 29 81 80

Allen 27 13 13 1 0 27 82 83

Missouri 24 9 11 1 3 22 71 85

Rapid City 24 8 11 5 0 21 74 84

Utah 25 9 14 1 1 20 70 91

Wednesday’s games

Orlando 5, Wheeling 2

Norfolk 4, South Carolina 3, SO

Colorado 5, Allen 4

Alaska 3, Tulsa 2

Toledo 5, Utah 3

Rapid City 5, Idaho 2

Thursday’s games

Adirondack at Brampton, 9 a.m.

Reading at Greenville, 5 p.m.

Indy at Cincinnati, 5:35 p.m.

NHL standings

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Atlantic GP W L OT Pts GF GA

Montreal 29 19 6 4 42 92 64

Ottawa 30 16 11 3 35 73 82

Boston 31 16 12 3 35 74 75

Tampa Bay 29 14 13 2 30 81 81

Florida 30 13 13 4 30 71 82

Detroit 30 13 13 4 30 71 81

Toronto 28 11 11 6 28 81 87

Buffalo 28 11 11 6 28 62 75

Metropolitan GP W L OT Pts GF GA

Pittsburgh 30 20 7 3 43 108 87

N.Y. Rangers 31 20 10 1 41 106 72

Columbus 27 18 5 4 40 90 57

Washington 28 18 7 3 39 76 61

Philadelphia 31 18 10 3 39 101 94

New Jersey 28 12 10 6 30 69 82

Carolina 29 12 11 6 30 77 82

N.Y. Islanders 28 11 12 5 27 73 85

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Central GP W L OT Pts GF GA

Chicago 31 19 8 4 42 83 71

Minnesota 28 16 8 4 36 80 57

St. Louis 30 16 10 4 36 82 85

Nashville 28 13 11 4 30 84 81

Dallas 31 12 13 6 30 81 98

Winnipeg 32 13 16 3 29 82 96

Colorado 27 11 15 1 23 60 86

Pacific GP W L OT Pts GF GA

San Jose 30 18 11 1 37 75 66

Anaheim 30 15 10 5 35 83 81

Edmonton 32 15 12 5 35 94 88

Calgary 31 16 13 2 34 81 86

Los Angeles 28 14 12 2 30 74 76

Vancouver 30 12 16 2 26 73 94

Arizona 29 10 14 5 25 66 91

Wednesday’s games

San Jose 4, Ottawa 3, SO

Pittsburgh 4, Boston 3, OT

Tampa Bay at Calgary, late

Philadelphia at Colorado, late

Thursday’s games

Anaheim at Boston, 5 p.m.

Chicago at N.Y. Islanders, 5 p.m.

Arizona at Toronto, 5:30 p.m.

Los Angeles at Detroit, 5:30 p.m.

Minnesota at Nashville, 6 p.m.

New Jersey at St. Louis, 6 p.m.

Florida at Winnipeg, 6 p.m.

N.Y. Rangers at Dallas, 6:30 p.m.


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