The Utah Grizzlies flexed their muscles and pitched a 3-0 shutout against their division rivals, the Idaho Steelheads.
The Grizzlies kept intact their unbeaten streak against Idaho — having defeated the Steelheads in both preseason contests — and started their season undefeated (2-0).
"As a team we're playing great hockey," forward Jon Puskar said. "From the moment training camp began we've gelled on the ice and we're doing everything it takes to get that win."
Utah came out fast and furious, much to the dismay of Idaho goaltender Branden Komm who was tested early and often.
Puskar got the home team on the board at the 7:52 mark, flashing speed on a breakaway.
Brandon McNally followed with his first professional goal at 15:31 on an assist from Puskar on a pass behind the net.
The Grizzlies played as dominant a period as can be expected. When the session expired, Utah not only had outshot the Steelheads 20 to five, but more importantly, had taken a 2-0 lead.
As the second period commenced, Idaho was unable to stay out of the penalty box and the Grizzlies were provided with several opportunities to bury the Steelheads.
Idaho managed to stave off consecutive 5-on-3 power plays to remain within striking distance.
With time dwindling in the second, Idaho's best chance to break through came when Kyle Jean found himself alone with the puck and only Utah goalie Ryan Faragher between him and the net.
However, Faragher made his biggest save of the contest, brushing aside Jean's chance to keep the Steelheads scoreless.
"That save was the turning point in the game," head coach Tim Branham said. "Jean is arguably the best player in the league. To stop him on a breakaway was huge."
Playing desperate hockey in the third, Idaho fired shot after shot against Faragher, outshooting Utah 17 to four, but Utah's keeper stood his ground. In all, 32 shots were fired his way and not one reached the back of the net.
In the third period, Shane Walsh registered Utah's final goal of the game.