The Utah Grizzlies had owned the Idaho Steelheads this season, garnering a 7-1 record against their division rivals. Friday night at the Maverik Center, however, that changed. Idaho poured it on, embarrassing the Grizzlies on home ice to the tune of 8-2.
"Tonight wasn't our night and I wouldn't even say one player played well," head coach Tim Branham said. "You just have to throw this one away and refocus your energy for tomorrow's game."
The first period was the Steelheads' show, led by Joe Basaraba who scored the first two goals of the game and assisted on a third. The first occurred when goalie Ryan Faragher gave up a juicy rebound that Basaraba pounced on. Just two minutes later, Basaraba was successful again.
After Anthony Luciani and Bryce Van Brabant scored, Utah pulled Faragher for Troy Redmann. Idaho held a commanding 4-0 lead with two periods still to play.
Things went from bad to worse in the second, as Redmann fared no better than Faragher. Connor Chatham scored another to give Idaho a 5-0 advantage.
Idaho took a two-man advantage when Utah's Travis Howe was issued a five-minute major for fighting and Michael Pelech joined him in the penalty box. Aaron Harstad, on Basaraba's second assist, increased Idaho's lead to 6-0.
Utah salvaged some dignity 13:35 into the second period, as Brad Navin got the home team on the board.
Idaho added two more goals in the third, from Brian Nugent and Wil Merchant.
Utah's Colin Martin scored his tenth goal in the past 11 games on a nifty wrap-around.
Utah was playing with just four defensemen, as injuries to Sam Windle, Tim Daly, Taylor Richart and Evan Stoflet cost the Grizzlies. There isn't a timetable for their return.