One shot off the stick of Allen American defensemen Harrison Ruopp in overtime was all it took to end what was a forgettable six game home stand for the Utah Grizzlies as the visiting Kelly Cup champions defeated Utah 3-2 at the Maverik Center.
The Grizzlies ended the stretch 1-3-1-1. However, head coach Tim Branham overall is pleased with his team's effort.
"We're playing good hockey and we're doing the right things to create scoring chances. I'm really happy from a coaching standpoint. We're working hard, we're winning battles, we're out-chancing teams. The puck just isn't finding its way into the back of the net so we can't get discouraged."
The Grizzlies had two golden chances with less than thirty seconds left in regulation but Allen goalie Riley Gil stood on his head when it mattered most. Erik Higby and Carlos Amestoy fired two lasers at point blank range that Gil snapped dramatically out of the air.
The Grizzlies would battle back twice from single-goal deficits to tie the game in the second period. With heavy traffic in front of the net, Jon Puskar fought his way through and fired past Allen goalie Riley Gil for Utah's first goal to level the contest at 1-1. The Americans would reclaim the lead as Chad Costello's shot from an improbable 90 degree angle somehow beat goalie Kevin Boyle. However, Utah would respond once again, taking advantage of a power play late in the period. Mathieu Aubin launched a wrist shot that escaped the glove of Gil, leveling the contest at 2-2 as the second period drew to a close.
"We're working hard and we had a lot of chances to score," Aubin said. "It's been like this the last couple of games. We need to continue to work through it, put our heads down because the effort is there. We have a big trip coming up in Alaska and if we continue to fight, ultimately we'll be rewarded."
A two on one opportunity proved disastrous for the Grizzlies as Allen scored the game's first goal at 6:50 of the first period. Greger Hanson threaded the needle beautifully to Derek Mathers who beat Boyle gloveside.