The Utah Grizzlies scored three in the third period to defeat the Idaho Steelheads, 6-3, on Friday night.
“That was a big third period,” said head coach and General Manager Tim Branham. “The biggest thing is that we got two points. Right now we need to gain points in the standings. We made some mistakes, but those were covered up because we scored so many goals.”
Utah was able to rebound after falling behind 1-0 just 58 seconds into the game on the first Idaho shot to build 2-1 and 3-2 leads before it pulled away with three goals in a 5:38 stretch in the third period.
Grizzlies captain Ryan Walters (10) scored on a two-on-one with 4:44 left in the first period from Ryan Misiak and Ryan Olsen to get Utah on the board after a rough first 10 minutes.
“Ryan Walters is already our leading goal scorer,” said Branham. “He's made a big impact ever since his first game. He leads by example, he gets us going and he's gotten the job done time and time again.”
Greger Hanson left a puck for Chris Leibinger (one goal, two assists) for a blast to give Utah a 2-1 lead with 3:47 left in the first.
Sam Windle scored from the redline 4:24 into the second period 2:55 after Idaho tied the game at two.
"Windle's goal in the second period, that slap shot from the red line,” said Branham. “it just gave us confidence. We weren't playing any different from other games, but the pucks were going in. We were getting in front of the net, in those dirty areas. We gained confidence as the game went on.”
After Idaho tied the contest 8:17 into the second period, the game went 19 minutes and 50 seconds without a goal before three straight by Utah.
Jon Puskar (three) walked in from Leibinger and Harms to give Utah the lead on what would be the eventual game-winner 8:07 into the third period.
Just 1:43 later, Erik Higby (three assists) forced a turnover and Michael Pelech (one goal, one assist) blasted in his ninth of the year before Taylor Richart’s eighth of the night through traffic capped the Utah scoring.
Utah goaltender Kevin Carr stopped 32-of-35 shots in the win.
“Every line contributed,” said Branham. “Chris Leibinger had a big game, and Kevin Carr made some big saves.”