FRESNO, Calif. The Utah Grizzlies defeated the Fresno Falcons 6-1 Sunday night to take a 1-0 lead in their first round best-of-seven ECHL playoff series. Utah scored two goals in each period and had 12 players log at least one point in the contest which saw goaltender Nathan Lawson's shutout broken up with 28 seconds left to go.
Travis Rycroft put Utah up 1-0 on a redirection 15:39 into the game as James Sanford threw the puck towards the net off of a Utah face-off win. The Grizzlies went up 2-0 at 18:22 on a Keith Johnson breakaway goal shorthanded.
In the second period, James Sanford and Micheal Haley extended Utah's lead from 2-0 to 4-0 with a pair of power-play goals 2:26 apart.
Early in the third period, Olivier Labelle set up two Utah goals with Jordan Hart and Haley, making it 6-0.
Haley had two goals and two assists for Utah, Labelle added three assists and James Sanford finished with one goal and one assist.
Each pair of Utah goals came no longer than 2:43 apart.
Utah held a 4-1 differential in the game on special teams with three power-play goals and one shorthanded tally. The Grizzlies went 3-10 on the power-play and 4-5 on the penalty-kill as Fresno added a late five-on-three power-play goal. At one point in the game, Utah had eight-straight power plays awarded to them.
Utah leading scorer Ryan Kinasewich did not play in the game due to an injury and is listed as day-to-day.
Utah was also without 6-foot-7 defenseman Ian Forbes in the game; he was serving a one-game ECHL mandated suspension.
Game two of the series is scheduled for today in Fresno. Face-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
The best-of-seven series reverts to the E-Center for 7:05 p.m. face-offs Wednesday, Friday and if necessary, Saturday.