It used to be a certainty that when the Rapid City Rush paid a visit to the Maverik Center, the Utah Grizzlies would acquire a victory and two points. But those days have come to a screeching halt. For the third straight game against their divisional foes, the Grizzlies bowed down to the Rush on home ice, losing 3- 1.
Although Utah outshot the Rush 16-8 in the first period, it was Rapid City that struck first off the stick of Riley Weselowski for an early 1-0 lead. The Rush would rub some salt in the wound, burying an empty-netter as time expired.
Utah’s offense was dormant until halfway through the second period when the Rush accrued two penalties just four seconds apart. As the beneficiaries of a sustained five-on-three power play, Utah pounced on the gift when Austin Ortega scored the Grizzlies’ lone goal.
Utah was dealt a pair of blows when it was announced that goalie Kevin Carr, who led the ECHL in minutes played, and forward Ryan Olsen had both signed with clubs in Europe.
Turning Point • Utah began the third period a man short with Kyle Thomas penalized for roughing, and former Grizzlie Peter Sivak made the home team pay with a bullet that whizzed by Utah goalie Angus Redmond.
First STAR • Sivak did something he failed to do with frequency while donning a Utah uniform: score a goal. But Sivak ended up connecting on what proved to be the game winner.
Second STAR • Despite possessing a 3.95 goals against average, Rush goalie Adam Vay stopped 36 of the Grizzlies’ 37 shots, and it took a two man advantage for Utah to score its lone goal.
Third STAR • With the news of Carr’s departure, Grizzlies goalie Angus Redmond accepted the pressure heaped upon his shoulders quite well. Utah’s net minder brushed aside all but two shots aimed his direction.
Quoteworthy • “I thought we outplayed them and had better scoring chances than they did,” Utah coach Tim Branham said. “We’ve got to do a better job of burying our chances.”
What’s next • Utah Grizzlies at Rapid City Rush, Friday, 7p.m.