WEST VALLEY CITY Facing Idaho for the final time this season, the Utah Grizzlies were afforded a golden victory-making opportunity in the second period after a series of penalties sidelined multiple Steelhead players.
Utah's offense could not get anything going on the resulting power plays. Idaho suffered no such power outage.
The Steelheads used three second-period goals all coming during power plays to bury Utah 4-1 at the E Center on Saturday night. It marked a second-consecutive home loss for the Grizzlies, previously winners of five games on a recent seven-game road swing.
Utah converted only one of eight power-play opportunities, but Idaho scored on four of six. Blown power plays were also an issue in Friday night's loss a game where the Grizzlies went 0-for-6.
"You can't give up four power-play goals," said Utah coach Jason Christie. "Whenever you need a save at a certain time (and) a guy blocks a shot on a power play that's what makes or breaks it."
Idaho used every man advantage it owned to burn Utah. The Steelheads seized a 2-0 lead by the 4:20 mark in the second period after Lance Galbraith and Matt Craig took turns scoring off a power play.
Utah earned a chance to answer when a pair of fights in a 46-second span sent three Steelhead players to the penalty box for a large chunk of the second period. Ryan Kinaswech, standing all alone at the top of the near faceoff circle, rifled the puck in the net to cut Idaho's lead to 2-1 on the first power play.
But the Grizzlies suffered several near-misses on ensuing man advantages simply because goalkeeper Kellen Briggs read several shots perfectly.
"Their goaltender gave them a chance to win the game," Christie said.
Scoring presented no problems for the Steelheads once they returned to full strength and picked up power play opportunities of their own later in the period.
Tom Wandell dropped a shot in from close range to make it 3-1 at the 14:39 mark. Then Darrell Hay blasted the puck between Michael Mole's knees less than a minute later to give Idaho its fourth and final goal.One consolation in the loss is that Utah claimed the season series against an opponent that has vexed them in recent seasons. The Grizzlies compiled a 5-4 record versus the Steelheads.