· Published: January 17, 2017 Updated: August 03, 2017
Rarely in hockey does a team recover from a three-goal deficit, particularly against a club as red-hot as the Idaho Steelheads, losers of only two of their last 10 games. But that's exactly what the Utah Grizzlies did. Led by Jon Puskar's two goals, the team forced overtime and an eventual shootout. And when goalie Ryan Faragher stood on his head and stopped all three Steelhead shots, the crowd erupted and the comeback was complete, 5-4.
"Puskar's line was tremendous tonight and Faragher was huge when he needed to be," Utah coach Tim Branham said. "I'm proud of the way we played and the boys battled. They're calm on the bench and whether we're down or not, nobody panics."
Precious minutes were remaining in the contest and the Grizzlies were trailing by a lone goal when Brad Navin leveled the contest, firing a puck at point-blank range that beat Philippe Desrosiers. And with just one second remaining, Faragher made a diving save to preserve the game.
Utah's Cam Reid scored the only goal in the shootout.
Following a quiet beginning to the first period, a rapid succession of three goals was scored just 45 seconds apart halfway through the frame. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, only one belonged to them. Puskar scored his 12th goal of the season to get Utah on the board, but his goal was sandwiched by Steelhead forwards Joe Basaraba and Travis Walsh to give Idaho a 2-1 advantage. And when Anthony Luciani found the back of the net at 13:06, Utah found itself in a heap of trouble with two periods remaining.
After Rob Linsmayer made it 4-1 for Idaho, things looked dire for the Grizzlies. However, Taylor Richart and Puskar refused to accept Utah's apparent fate. Richart launched a shot from the blue line that blistered the back of the net, and when Puskar scored his second of the night, Utah suddenly had life with 20 minutes of hockey remaining, trailing by one goal.
"Our players lead by example and we're gelling as a team and that's what you need in a locker room," Puskar said. "When we're down it doesn't matter anymore, we refuse to quit."