Punchless Grizzlies lose again to Tigers

Published: Sunday, Nov. 2 2003 12:00 a.m. MST

WEST VALLEY CITY — After not allowing a score for 58 minutes and 50 seconds, the Utah Grizzlies were hit with two Bridgeport goals in a minute and 40 seconds and fell for the second-straight night to the Sound Tigers on E Center ice, 2-1, Saturday before 4,183.

Such is life for a team without much firepower.

Having to defend a 1-0 lead for so long took a toll by the third period, and it would have been a lot easier if the Grizzlies had some firepower. But even those who have a history of scoring well, said coach Don Hay, are "snakebit" lately.

"It"s a concern," he admitted about having the league's lowest scoring output, 16 goals in 10 games.

"Some teams aren't gifted at scoring goals. It's not like in football where you can draw up a play. You gain opportunities. That's the positive thing. We're getting lots of opportunities and sticking with it.

"If there's ways (to foster scoring), we'd certainly be trying them out," Hay said.

"You just have to keep working, and hopefully one will go in off your shinpad or your rear end or your helmet.

"We've just got to learn to make plays in a tight game and win a game 1-0. These are all learning games. It's disappointing we can't find a way to win."

Utah is now 2-6-1-1, and Bridgeport moved to 4-3-2-1 and 3-1-1 on the road. Both teams are off until next weekend.

"We played hard, but they just kept coming at us and coming at us. We played too much in our own end in the third period," said Hay. "All the guys gave a real good effort, and we just ran out of gas. We stopped getting shots. When you get shots, you're going to play in their end. The third period, (Bridgeport) kept pushing ahead, and they never quit."

The Grizzlies nursed a 1-0 lead for about 54 minutes behind strong goaltending from Jason Bacashihua, who missed a start in the usual two-goalie rotation and came back strong.

Then disaster struck when Bridgeport's leading scorer, Justin Mapletoft, tipped one in from right on his doorstep to tie the game after quite a tussle with Utah defenseman Jeff MacMillan. That got the Sound Tigers into overtime, and 30 seconds after the puck drop, Bridgeport's Ryan Kraft let fly on a rush up the right wing from the top of the circle, and that ripped in for the game-winner.

The Grizzlies found a way to offset their power-play deficiencies.

Mattias Tjarnqvist intercepted a puck in the Sound Tigers' offensive zone during a penalty killing shift, skated up-ice with it, fed Justin Cox and then scored after the rebound of Cox's shot for Utah"s second short-handed goal of the season.

Utah has two short-handed goals this season in 45 chances and has two power-play goals on 63 chances.

You be the judge. Take the penalty?

It didn't matter much in the second period. Referee Harry Dumas didn't whistle either team for an infraction and in fact went nearly 26 minutes, from 16:20 of the first period until 1:38 of the third, without calling a penalty.


E-MAIL: lham@desnews.com

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