With time dwindling in the season if they hope to supplant the first place Idaho Steelheads, the Utah Grizzlies avenged Wednesday's loss to the Tulsa Oilers, taking game two of the three game series 4-3.
Facing a one goal deficit entering the second period, Utah responded with a vengeance and lit up the scoreboard with three goals in the span of ten minutes. Only 56 seconds had expired when TJ Syner leveled the contest at 2-2 off a rebound as Oilers goalie Jussi Olkinuora was unable to secure the puck.
Forward Erik Higby would take things from there, recording his 13th and 14th goals of the season. His first was on a two on one breakaway as he lobbed a wrist shot into the back of the net. The second — the game-winner — was off a blistering slapshot from the right wing.
"We came out strong in that period and it was huge" head coach Tim Branham said." We had a lot of good downline play and Higby had a great game. It was a playoff like game against a good team and we found a way to win."
Although Tulsa forward Phil Brewer would cut the Oilers deficit to one, Utah clamped down defensively in the third, holding Tulsa to two shots on goal, tying a season record.
The Grizzlies tallied 17 shots to Tulsa's 10 in the first period, yet found themselves on the wrong side of a 2-1 score. Things got off to a promising start as Charles Sarault received a pass from Shayne Taker and awaited a crease in the Oilers defense, then launched a shot to put the home team up 1-0. Tulsa responded with two goals in less than two minutes to play in the frame. The first came on a power play as Connor Kucera deflected a shot from the blue line. And with a mere 2.5 seconds to play, a three-on-one surge resulted in Shawn Bates scoring.