The Utah Grizzlies defeated the Quad City Mallards, 5-2, on Wednesday night as they opened their road trip with a sixth-straight victory.
“It’s a big two points for us. From start to finish we controlled the game,” said head coach and General Manager Tim Branham. “We probably should have scored a few more goals, but we found a way to get the win”
Reining ECHL Player of the Week Austin Ortega had one goal and one assist to run his scoring streak to eight-straight games. Captain Ryan Walters scored his 24th and 25th goals of the season, and goaltender Joel Rumpel (5-1 with Utah, 16-9 overall) stopped 27-of-29 shots in the victory.
“We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now. We’ve been saying that for a little bit,” said Branham. “We’re a pretty dangerous team when we’re firing on all cylinders.”
Utah took a 1-0 lead 9:54 into the first period as Ortega fed Brad Navin in the slot for his 10th goal of the year as Sam Windle also added an assist.
Just 3:27 after Quad City tied the game at one, Walters scored his first of the night on another shot from the slot as Jake Marchment and Brendan Harms added assists as Utah maintained possession 16 seconds after its first power play expired with 3:52 left in the frame.
Utah made it 3-1 on a breakaway goal by Ortega (15) 3:16 into the second period before Quad City answered on a two-on-one to make it 3-2 just 64 seconds later.
Ryan Misiak (11) took a turnover in the neutral zone to the net to make it 4-2 before Walter’s empty-netter finished off the scoring.
Taylor Richart extended his scoring streak to six-straight games with two assists, as did Navin.
The Grizzlies and Quad City Mallards continue their series Friday at 6 p.m., before Utah continues to Indianapolis on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Utah returns home Friday, March 9, at 7 p.m.