BOISE — The Utah Grizzlies defeated the Idaho Steelheads 5-3 Friday night in Boise to open the regular season.
Riley Armstrong recorded a hat trick, scoring two third period goals to break a 3-3 tie in the win. Goaltender Andrew Engelage stopped 37 of 40 shots to earn the victory.
The Grizzlies host Idaho at 7 p.m. today at the Maverik Center in what is expected to be the largest opening night crowd in over a decade.
Kory Falite gave Utah a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal just past the four minute mark of the first period as he wrapped in a puck from behind. Tommy Maxwell and James Martin picked up assists.
Utah made it 2-1 5:58 into the second period as Brad Mills slammed in a Josh Burrows shot.
The Grizzlies made it 3-2 38 seconds after Idaho again tied it as Riley Armstrong started his natural hat trick by hammering home a shot assisted by Bryan Cameron and Paul McIlveen with 1:33 left in the third period.
After surrendering a 3-2 lead in the third period, Utah regained control on another power-play goal as Drew MacKenzie and Mitch Wahl went tic-tac-toe back to Armstrong in the left circle. Armstrong who won a late battle in his own end to keep the game 4-3 then raced back down ice for a big insurance goal with 1:19 left in the game.
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Idaho Steelheads (0-1) at Utah Grizzlies (1-0)
Saturday, 7 p.m.
Maverik Center, West Valley City
Radio: 1320 AM