WEST VALLEY CITY — The Utah Grizzlies started their chase to the Kelly Cup on Friday night as the Bakersfield Condors rolled into town to start the first game of the playoffs series, but things didn’t go as planned in game one as Utah fell 1-0.
“Both teams played well defensively, but they found a way to put the puck in the back of the net" said head coach Tim Branham. "We need to find a way to get more shots and be hungrier.”
Before the puck dropped, we knew this series was going to be the battle of the goaltenders, as Aaron Dell and Laurent Brossoit entered as two of top goalies for the season.
After two scoreless periods, we found out why those two were tops in the ECHL.
Andrew Carroll scored the lone goal on the night that was tipped in past Dell.
Dell, who played a solid hockey game in between the pipes on Friday, stopped 24-25 shots on the night.
“He played well,” said Branham. “It was a dirty goal (on the lone goal of the night) and they happened to get it.”
One of the negative points on the night was how the Grizzlies found themselves in the penalty box five times on the night, then killed every power play opportunity, with Danick Paquette having four of those penalties.
“He (Paquette) knows he’s a marked man in the league and we did well on the penalty kill,” said Branham. “I thought the calls were fine against us, however there should have been more against them. It shouldn’t have been that uneven.“
The Grizzlies and Condors are just getting started in the best-of-seven series with game two on tap for Saturday night at the Maverik Center as the puck drop at 7.
“We have to get better on the walls, net presences, win more battles, and until we pay the price, we are going to continue to struggle to score goals,” Branham said of what needs to change for Saturday night.
Follow David Winkworth on Twitter @RealDavidVito and listen to his podcast at sportsathomeradio.com for news and notes inside and outside of the state of Utah in the world of sports.