West Valley City • In the midst of a five-game series against the Mountain Division-leading Colorado Eagles, the Utah Grizzlies are fighting for their playoff lives. Unfortunately for the home team, it lost consecutive games for only the second time since December.
Colorado flexed its muscles yet again, defeating the Grizzlies 4-1 on Saturday.
"We did a lot of things well tonight and had our scoring chances, but at the end of the day they worked a little harder than us," coach Tim Branham said. "Colorado's forwards are the key to their success and they work so hard with and without the puck. If you want to have success against them, you need to outwork them."
Colorado scored twice in the second period to claim a 3-1 lead. Luke Salazar broke a 1-1 tie as his wrist shot trickled through the pads of Utah goalie Troy Redmann. A Grizzlie power play backfired as the Eagles gathered the puck and stormed down the ice on a two on one. Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Teigan Zahn passed the puck back and forth until Zahn deposited it into the back of the net. Things could have been worse for Utah, but when Jackson Houck blazed down the ice on a breakaway he was stopped stone cold by Redmann.
With Utah playing desperate hockey in the third and unable to cut into Colorado's lead, Branham pulled Redmann with three minutes remaining. Despite firing a barrage of shots at Colorado goalie Kent Simpson, none was successful. With time dwindling, Luke Salazar sealed Utah's fate with an empty-net goal to finalize the scoring.
Although first-period shots were lopsided in favor of the Eagles to the tune of 18 to five, the score after the initial session was 1-1. Matt Garbowsky threaded the needle to Cam Maclise, who got the visitors on the scoreboard. The Grizzlies responded quickly with Michael Pelech's slapshot from the blue line.