WEST VALLEY CITY Offense is becoming a reliable staple in recent weeks for the Utah Grizzlies, who have scored at least five goals in their last six games.
But while the Grizzlies have mastered the art of picking apart opposing defenses, they haven't quite figured out how to deliver the knockout blow in overtime.
Especially against Fresno.
The Falcons scored a second consecutive overtime victory over Utah on Wednesday night, after Pierre-Olivier Beaulieu fed the puck past the inside post to send the Grizzlies to a 4-3 defeat at the E-Center.
Beaulieu's shot made it past two Grizzlies defenders and goaltender Mike Mole without any of the three getting so much as a glove or stick near it.
"When we play these guys, it comes down to kind of a chess match," said Utah's Scott Burt. "It came down to that last shot and it was overtime. That's the way it goes sometimes. We had our chances and they had their chances."
Fresno went up 2-1 early in the second period when Josh Prudden faked out Mole for an easy goal. Prudden skated one-on-one toward him and scooted the puck behind Mole's back when the Utah goalie lurched forward to stop the attack.
But the Grizzlies rallied from the one-goal deficit 13 seconds later when Burt took a feed from Ryan Kinasewich and guided the puck around the feet of Kris Mayotte to tie it up. Burt then put Utah ahead 3-2 when he slapped the puck past a Falcons defender.
"I thought it was a back-and-forth game," said Grizzlies coach Jason Christie. "That's what you want. You just want a different outcome."
Utah came into this week's three-game series with Fresno looking to reclaim some home ice advantage.
The Grizzlies have been true road warriors recently, winning eight of nine away from the E-Center. Coming back to Utah hasn't gone smoothly, with five losses in their last six home games.
Wednesday's game featured Mole's return as starting goalkeeper after a short stint in the AHL with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Mole left Bridgeport to take the place of Nathan Lawson, who was injured in Sunday's loss.
Mole's first game back featured some rough patches. He got burned on Fresno's first shot of the game when Matt Quinn smacked the puck smoothly into the net, while skating on an off-center line toward Mole, to put the Falcons up 1-0.Newly acquired Evan Kotsopoulos scored his first goal in a Grizzlies uniform, during the first period, scoring on a power play opportunity to make it 1-1.
E-mail: [email protected]