West Valley City • The Utah Grizzlies hadn’t lost in regulation when scoring first in a game this season. Although they scored first Saturday night against the Manchester Monarchs, it was the only goal Utah could muster, and it wasn’t nearly enough. Utah was dominated in the third period. The Monarchs recorded two goals to Utah’s zero in the final period, registering a 4-1 victory for a sweep of the three-game series. Utah ended a seven-game homestand with one win.
Turning Point • On a power play, Utah defenseman Cliff Watson had a bad turnover that resulted in a breakaway opportunity for Manchester. Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman deked Utah goalie Kevin Carr to one side and lobbed the puck gently into the back of the net. Manchester scored again 43 seconds later to take a 2-1 lead.
First star • Manchester goalie Charles Williams allowed a goal by Chris Leibinger but stopped the Grizzlies’ other 36 shots, denying both Ryan Walters and Greger Hanson on breakaways.
Second star • LaVallee-Smotherman also assisted on the Monarchs final goal, ending his night with two points.
Third star • Rarely showing up in the stat sheet, Utah’s Leibinger nonetheless is one of the hardest working members of the club. Saturday he was rewarded for his efforts, recording his first goal of the season on a blistering slapshot from the blue line just 20 seconds into the second period.
Quoteworthy • “It feels good, but it would have felt better if we’d won. But to see one go in was nice,” Leibinger said. “If we continue to put the work in and show up everyday, we’ll get better.”
What’s next • The Utah Grizzlies are at the Colorado Eagles on Friday at 7 p.m.