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Utah Grizzlies gearing up for playoff series against Stockton Thunder

Published: Sunday, April 3 2011 11:19 p.m. MDT

WEST VALLEY CITY — The Grizzlies and the Stockton Thunder meet in the post-season for the first time ever as each team just completed their sixth season in the ECHL.

In six of the seven games played at Maverik Center between Utah and Stockton this year, the winning team had four or more goals. In all four games in Stockton, the winning team had three goals or less.

Utah leading scorer Kevin Deeth led Utah against Stockton this year with four goals and five assists in nine games. Brett Parnham led Utah with five goals against the Thunder.

Grizzlies' goaltender J.P. Lamoureux is 3-0 in his last three starts at home and has allowed just one goal in that stretch. He has stopped 105 of the last 106 shots that he has seen at home dating back to December 22 and has a .990 save percentage and a 0.26 goals-against-average in that stretch. Lamoureux did not face Stockton at home this year.

Against Stockton, Lamoureux played the first two games of the season series in Stockton and went 1-1 with a .928 save percentage and a 2.52 goals-against-average. Despite having a 1-4 record against the Thunder, Andrew Engelage still had a .915 save percentage and a 3.03 goals-against-average.

Utah and Stockton combined for 728 penalty minutes against each other in the 11-game regular season series. However, in four of the 11 games, there was less than 30 penalty minutes combined.

Utah is 2-0 versus Pacific Division opponents in the first round of the playoffs in the ECHL. The Grizzlies beat Fresno in six games in a best-of-seven first round in 2008 and defeated Las Vegas last year in five games in a best-of-five set.

This year marks the first time since 1999-2000 that the Grizzlies have opened a playoff series at home. Utah hosted the Houston Aeros in the first round that year.

Both Utah's Kevin Colley and Stockton's Matt Thomas have had regular season records of .500 or better and led their teams to the post-season each year in ten combined seasons as ECHL head coaches. In the only other playoff meeting between the two, the Grizzlies defeated Fresno four games to two in the first round in 2008. Kevin Colley was in his first year as the Grizzlies 29-year-old assistant coach, while Matt Thomas was the head coach of the

Falcons. That series pitted Fresno as the three seed and Utah as the six seed, just like this year.

ECHL Playoffs

Game 1: Tuesday, April 5, Stockton at Utah

Game 2: Wednesday, April 6, Stockton at Utah

Game 3: Saturday, April 9, Utah at Stockton

Game 4: Sunday, April 10, Utah at Stockton*

Game 5: Tuesday, April 12, Utah at Stockton*

* — if necesary

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