Having dropped the first two contests against the ECHL's best team, the Utah Grizzlies entered Saturday night's game against the Toledo Walleye hoping to salvage the finale of the three-game series. But Toledo dominated the Grizzlies 5-2, demonstrating why it is one of the early favorites for the Kelly Cup.
"We keep putting ourselves down early and every time they scored we had chances at the other end that we failed to capitalize on," Utah coach Tim Branham said. "It's night after night when you don't bury your chances that it gets tough on the psyche and tough to come back, especially against a team like Toledo."
Toledo scored on its second shot of the game, as Scott Czarnowczan's slapper beat Utah goalie Troy Redmann at 1:34 of the first period. A.J. Jenks later led an odd man rush and fired a shot past Redmann for a 2-0 advantage.
In the second period, Toledo's Tyson Spink scored on a power play at 1:54 and Tyler Sikura scored at 7:37. Trailing 4-0, the Grizzlies pulled Redmann in favor of Ryan McKay.
Toledo goalie Jake Paterson was sensational overall, but the Grizzlies' 20th shot on goal got the home team on the board in the third period.
Ralph Cuddemi blistered the net with a slapshot, and Brad Navin added a second goal with 1:14 remaining to cut the deficit to 4-2. Branham pulled McKay to cut into the lead further, and Toledo scored an empty-netter for the final margin of victory.