The Utah Grizzlies (21-17-3-4) defeated the Las Vegas Wranglers, 4-3, in a shootout Friday night in Las Vegas.
The Grizzlies improved to 3-1 on their current nine-game road trip and bounced back after losing for the first time in 21 days on Wednesday to go to 14-3-1-1 since Christmas.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to win,” Grizzlies head coach and General Manager Tim Branham said. “We can’t abandon our style of play and team identity that has made us so successful since Christmas.”
Phil Mangan scored in the sudden-death shootout in round five to give Utah the win as Mathieu Aubin and Jamie MacQueen also scored for the Grizzlies. Igor Bobkov won his third-straight start for Utah in goal.
It was a game where the Grizzlies never trailed but were never able to put Las Vegas away. They led 1-0 and 3-1, and had two four-on-three power-plays in the overtime before finally putting the Wranglers away in the skills competition.
Utah made it 1-0, 9:16 into the first period after Phil Mangan (7) hammered in a rebound on a Teigan Zahn shot going hard to the net. The lead lasted 3:23 before Las Vegas tied the game at one.
The Grizzlies got the lead back 11:26 into the second period as Kris Hogg scored his second goal in two games and his 10th of the year. A cross-ice pass to Brent Gwidt missed the Grizzlies forward, but he didn’t give up on the play and found Hogg who continued to move in as well for the goal.
Utah took a 3-1 lead 2:47 later as Mangan and MacQueen moved the puck around, just moments after MacQueen clanged a post and found Aubin for his 11th goal of the year.
Las Vegas made it 3-2 on a power-play goal with 36 seconds left in the second period and then tied the contest 2:33 into the third. Bobkov made some big stops down the stretch to force the game into overtime.
Utah continues its nine-game road stretch Saturday in Las Vegas at 8 p.m. and Sunday in Ontario at 4 p.m.
The Grizzlies return home Monday, Feb. 17, for a 1:35 p.m. game.