For fans of defensive hockey, Monday's matinee between the Utah Grizzlies and Idaho Steelheads provided plenty to savor. A matchup of goaltenders, featuring Idaho's Landon Bow and Utah's Kevin Boyle, mesmerized the crowd with a variety of saves as only one goal was scored all afternoon. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, it was Bow who pitched a 43-save shutout as the Steelheads escaped with a narrow 1-0 victory.
"Their goaltender won them three games this weekend and they should be proud to have him," Utah coach Tim Branham. "Our goalie stopped several breakaways in the first period. We generated a lot of shots today and could have been more tenacious on the bounces, but that's the way the puck bounces sometimes.
Utah had a bad opening to the second period as Idaho possessed the puck for the majority of the first three minutes, and it cost the Grizzlies dearly. The Steelheads broke a scoreless tie as a trio of players batted at a loose puck until Kellan Laine's attempt was successful for the only score of the contest.
Try as they might, the Grizzlies couldn't solve Bow, who mystified Utah all night, whether it was with glove, pad or stick. Utah fired a total of 43 shots his way, and not a single one escaped his pads. Not that the Grizzlies were without their chances. Bow denied Ralph Cuddemi on a terrific toe save, and Erik Higby launched a shot that clanked off the crossbar in the third.
As the game was nearing the waning moments, Bow shined brightest. With Utah having little choice but to pull Boyle, the extra skater, nonetheless failed to make a difference.
Both goalies were tested early and often in the opening session, but it was Utah's Boyle who made the more spectacular saves, standing on his head on three breakaway attempts. Boyle denied one of the premier goal scorers in the ECHL in Anthony Luciani twice, and also Andre Bouvet-Morrissette.
Despite Utah's stellar 7-2-1 record against Idaho heading into Monday, the Grizzlies could muster only a single point in the holiday weekend series as Idaho broke through with a three-game sweep.