The Utah Grizzlies won their season-high fourth game in a row by beating the Witchita Thunder 7-3 on Friday night and are playing their best hockey of the season.

It wasn’t the quantity of shots that counted for Utah but the quality. The Grizzlies converted six of their 14 shots through two periods into into goals.And you know it’s going well when you score two shot-handed goals as Michael Pelech and Ryan Misiak did for Utah. Even fan favorite Travis Howe got in on the fun for his first of the season.

Two former Grizzlies buried the puck against their former club as Jon Puskar waltzed unscathed across the ice for a goal and Ralph Cuddemi buried two chances.

Turning point

Wichita couldn’t stay out of the penalty box in the firstperiod and it paid the price twice. Brendan Harms blistered the back of the net, and Pelech pulled the trigger right as the Thunder returned to full strength as Utah took a 3-2 lead after one.

First star

Misiak, who has been on fire during the win streak, had a pair of goals and an assist. It was Misiak’s seventh point over the last four games.

Second star

Team captain Ryan Walters fired a shot with such velocity that it passed the red line, circled the net and came back out for his team leading 23rd goal of the season. Walters also assisted on Misiak’s shorthanded goal for a two-point night.

Third star

Pelech, who has missed significant time due to injury, scored his 13th and 14th goals of the season.


“I got a good bounce and my confidence grew from there,” Misiak said. “We’re desperate and we know the situation we’re in and we’re climbing in the standings. But we haven’t done anything yet but we’ll continue to move forward.”

What’s next

Wichita Thunder returns for the second game of the series Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Maverik Center.