WEST VALLEY CITY — The Utah Grizzlies (5-1) defeated the Alaska Aces (5-1) 3-2 Friday night at Maverik Center in a matchup of the ECHL's top two teams. Utah won their fifth-straight game in the process.
"For the most part, it was as close to a 60 minute game as we've played all year," said Grizzlies coach Kevin Colley, who earned his 100th career win in the game. "We didn't really give anything up and the guys really battled tonight."
Utah took their first lead of the night with 4:45 left in the game as Mitch Wahl (4) buried a shot from the left circle in transition as Utah goaltender Andrew Engelage and Mitch Fadden worked the puck up ice.
The Grizzlies battled back from two one-goal deficits in the contest, the final one lasting just 35 seconds early in the third period. Alaska took a 2-1 lead on the power-play 1:45 into the third period before Utah battled back to tie on a Fadden wraparound. Wahl and John Negrin picked up assists.
Utah trailed 1-0 for 13:09 in the first period before Jeff LoVecchio came from behind the net and shot the puck from an awkward angle for his third goal of the year as he extended his scoring streak to five games 15:18 into the first period.
The Grizzlies held Alaska in check for the final 1:30 of the game as the Aces pulled goaltender Gerald Coleman in favor of an extra-attacker. Utah goaltender Andrew Engelage stopped 15 of 17 shots in the game for his fourth win of the year. Utah outshot Alaska 38-17.
Both Aces goals were scored on the power-play. All three Utah goals were scored at even-strength.
The Grizzlies and Alaska meet again tonight at 7 p.m. for the team's sixth annual "Pink in the Rink" for breast cancer awareness.
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