For fans of offensive hockey, the third period of Friday night’s contest between the Utah Grizzlies and Worcester Railers provided a feast for the eyes. A scoring frenzy occurred as a total of five goals lit up the scoreboard. Three came off the sticks of Railers forwards Ashton Rome, Wade Murphy and Patrick McNally. Utah countered with Ryan Olsen and Charley Graaskamp. With 60 minutes tallied, the score was tied at 4.
In the overtime session, it was Grizzlies defenseman Taylor Richart who rifled a shot past Worcester goalie in Eamon McAdam, becoming the hero of the night and sending the home crowd happy with a 5-4 victory.
Utah goalie Kevin Carr had been brilliant up until the third, recording saves on 52 of his past 53 shots faced dating back to last Saturday against the Idaho Steelheads. His 46 th consecutive save was his most mesmerizing, extending his leg and robbing Railers forward Chris Langkow of a certain goal. Immediately following the save, the Grizzlies dashed up the ice and Michael Pelech connected to give Utah an early lead. Carr’s streak of consecutive saves would come to an end at 49 as Langkow found redemption.
Turning Point • Buzzer-beaters rarely occur in hockey but that’s exactly what happened at the end of the second period when Utah forward Cliff Watson’s laser from the blue line connected as time expired, giving Utah a lead it would need as Worcester entered the third period blazing.
First star • Utah forward Michael Pelech not only got the Grizzlies on the board early but also assisted on Watson’s buzzer- beater. Pelech would end his productive night with three points on a goal and two assists and has arguably been the Grizzlies MVP thus far.
Second star • A wizard with the puck, forward Kyle Thomas assisted on two of the Grizzlies goals. Displaying exemplary speed and precision passing, Thomas already has seven assists on the young season.
Third star • By providing the game-winning goal, Richart secured Utah’s third consecutive win. Not only did he record his fourth goal of the season, Richart anchors the Grizzlies defense.
Quoteworthy • “We’re sticking to our system and are having fun right now,” Richart said. “Guys are working together and listening to the coaches. Worcester came out on fire, but we were able to take momentum back and work through it for a win.”
What’s next • Utah hosts Worcester on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Maverik Center.