Since the ECHL was founded in 1988, its teams have played thousands of games.

Only 15 lasted longer than Colorado's 5-4 win over Utah on Sunday night.

In Game 2 of their first-round playoff series, the Eagles and Grizzlies battled into triple overtime before Colorado's Darryl Bootland finally scored. It was the second longest game in Grizzlies franchise history.

His goal at 2:31 of the third extra 20-minute period prevented Utah from finishing a gutsy comeback and taking a 2-0 stranglehold on the best-of-seven series.

Game 3 is Thursday at the Maverick Center.

"Definitely a good effort," Grizzlies coach Tim Branham said. "It was a very good effort. We battled. We really battled. Unfortunately, they scored before we did" in overtime.

After Utah took a quick 1-0 lead on T.J. Syner's goal, Colorado charged back. The Eagles scored three times in a span of 90 seconds before Branham changed goaltenders. Ryan Faragher replaced starter Mark Owuya. He stopped 33 of Colorado's final 35 shots.

"Well, they had five shots and scored three goals," Branham said. "Whether they were good goals or bad goals, I just thought it was a good idea to try and help us change the momentum.

"When you do that, you hope it sparks the team a little — gives the boys a little life. We obviously battled back and tied it up, so it worked out. We got the response we wanted. We just didn't get the results."

Utah made it 3-2 early on the second period of a goal by Connor Hardowa. Ryan Hayes scored 40 seconds into the third period to tie the game, 3-3. After the Eagles countered, the Grizzlies forced overtime on Charlie Sarault's goal with 11:42 left in regulation.

"That was a big win for them," Branham said. "They needed it. It gave them life. They're probably thinking now they need one in Utah to take the series back home."

After the loss, the Grizzlies jumped on a bus outside the Budweiser Events Center at 12:30 a.m. Including a brief stop in Rock Springs, Wyo., at 4:30 a.m.. They arrived home about eight o'clock Monday morning.

Branham never sleeps well on long bus rides, he said, but this one was more difficult than usual: "… A lot of things going through my mind."

And his team?

"The boys were very tired," he said. "You're always more tired when you lose, right? But I think they know how well they played."

Said team vice president and broadcaster Adrian Denny, "It was a quiet ride. The guys usually watch a movie. But they went straight to sleep."

Utah can avoid another long bus ride across southern Wyoming and into Colorado by winning the next three games of the series and moving on to the second round.

"We're very confident coming home," Branham said. "We wanted to steal one in Colorado and get home ice [advantage] and we stole the first one. Now we have to take care of our business here."

luhm@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sluhm

Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Monday, February 15, 2016.
Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Alex Krushelynski (27) brings the puck down, in hockey action Utah Grizzlies vs. The Rapid City Rush, Monday, February 15, 2016.
Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Tim Daly (5) brings the puck down, in hockey action Utah Grizzlies vs. The Rapid City Rush, Monday, February 15, 2016.