Three periods of hockey had elapsed in Wednesday night's contest at the Maverik Center between the Utah Grizzlies and Tulsa Oilers. Although the shots were 42 to 12 — in favor of the home team — the scoreboard read Grizzlies 2, Oilers 2. With the matter still undecided following the five minute overtime session, a shootout ensued.
While Tulsa's Brady Ramsay and Adam Pleskach wove down the ice and beat Utah goaltender Ryan Faragher, neither Utah's Barry Almeida nor Charles Sarault would get the puck past Oiler goalie Jussi Olkinuora. By all accounts, what should have been a convincing Utah victory was relegated to a one-point overtime loss salvage. There are just seven games remaining in the schedule, and Utah now trails Idaho by four points in the race for first place in the Western Division.
"For us, we need to have that killer instinct," head coach Tim Branham said. "This is a big weekend to catch Idaho. It's up to this group; if they want to play, they can beat any team if they choose to work."
Utah jumped out to a lead in the first period as Sarault rescued an errant Tulsa pass and sent it to wide-open teammate Almeida. The forward deked Olkinuora to one side and deposited the puck into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. The Grizzlies would improve on that lead early in the second as Utah was the beneficiary of two consecutive Oiler minor penalties. With a rare five on three power play opportunity, Utah fired a barrage of shots until Ryan Hayes' effort got past the hapless Olkinuora for a two-goal advantage.
However, the tables turned later in the frame as the Grizzlies found themselves on the wrong end of the second five on three power play in the contest. Only five seconds had lapsed into the two man advantage when Oiler forward Christophe Lalancette blistered a slapshot past Faragher. Yet another penalty resulted in Tulsa's second goal of the night. With Utah forward Jon Puskar watching from the box, Phil Brewer leveled the game at 2-2 at the 17:21 mark.