The Utah Grizzlies return to the E Center tonight to begin their final homestand of the regular season.
Tonight's game - 7 p.m. faceoff against Long Beach - is a critical one for the Grizzlies if they hope to climb up the Western Conference ladder for playoff seeding.After a disappointing road loss to Kansas City on Wednesday - the Grizzlies blew a two-goal lead - Utah stands at 46-23-8.
That leaves the Grizz, currently the West's fourth seed, seven points behind Long Beach. The Southwest Division-leading Ice Dogs are tops in the IHL with a 49-19-9 record. Utah also trails third-seeded Houston by four points with five games left.
This will be the first of three games the Grizzlies play against Long Beach to close out the regular season. Utah hosts the Ice Dogs again on Wednesday before traveling to SoCal for the season finale next Saturday.
If Utah sweeps Long Beach and gets some luck, the Grizz could find themselves with the top seed in the West. However, the most likely scenario has Utah finishing at No. 4 and matched against Kansas City in a best-of-five first round.