The Utah Grizzlies are starting to catch fire at the right time. Garnering five of a possible six points in their three game series against the Tulsa Oilers, the Grizzlies won, 3-1.
One of the elements to Utah's success this season has been the steady and often spectacular play of goalie Ryan Faragher and Saturday night was no exception. Stopping all but one of the 20 shots the Oilers fired his way, the Grizzlies keeper tallied his 24th win of the season, good for fourth most in a season in franchise history.
With an all important game upcoming against the Idaho Steelheads next Wednesday that may decide the winner in the race for first place in the Western Division, Faragher understands the importance of these final games.
"These points are huge, we know we can't afford to give any games away at this point of the season. We need to lay it all on the line and give our best effort if we hope to win the division."Continuing a trend in which the home team has scored the first goal in the season series between the two clubs, Matt Berry got Utah on the board in the first on a dazzling wrap-around for a 1-0 lead. Tulsa would respond later in the period as Shawn Bates slapshot leveled the contest at 1-1.
The Grizzlies power play had been relatively quiet against Tulsa in the series, having been successful on one of eight attempts. However, Barry Almeida would change that as the forward made Oiler goalie Jussi Olkinuora pay the price for failing to secure a rebound, putting Utah ahead 2-1. Not only did the goal give Utah the lead, it proved to be the game winner.
"It was a great team effort tonight. We have a big game against Idaho Wednesday and we needed to get these two points," Almeida said.
In the third, Bryan Moore blistered the net at 6:22 to complete the scoring for the evening.