The Utah Grizzlies had good reason to be confident going into Saturday's game against the Alaska Aces.
In 11 previous games, the Grizzlies had only lost once to the Aces. And on Fan Appreciation Night at the Maverik Center, Utah kept up that statistic with a 2-0 win in its regular season home finale in the ECHL.
Utah is currently tied with Colorado and Idaho for first place in the Western Conference's Western Division. Each team has already clinched a playoff berth.
The Grizzlies have two games remaining in the regular season next weekend at the Rapid City Rush. Colorado beat Idaho on Saturday night.
Goalie Mark Owuya, making his seventh start of the season for Utah, stopped 33 shots for a shutout. Owuya was placing in place of regular starter Ryan Faragher, who was promoted to the Anaheim Ducks' AHL affiliate in San Diego.
"Mark was sensational tonight and made some huge saves," Grizzlies coach Tim Branham said. "Overall I thought our guys played hard. Our penalty kill was really good tonight and obviously the goals were huge. At the end of the day it took everybody's best effort and we got the job done."
Nearly 40 minutes of hockey had transpired and with the shot total relatively low, it was still scoreless.
That was until Alex Krushelnyski, who has demonstrated wizardry with his stick throughout the season, lobbed a beautiful wrist shot that nestled into the back of the net behind Alaska goalie Jacob DeSerres, who had 21 saves.
It was Krushelynski's 25th goal of the year, good for second-most on the team behind Barry Almeida, who was held scoreless on Saturday night by Alaska.
Bryan Moore, who assisted on the Krushelynski goal, provided some insurance for the home team as he blasted a slap shot from the right wing at the 4:46 mark of the third period to make it 2-0.
"We just need to keep working hard and doing the little things that have made us successful all season and we'll see what happens," Moore said.