The Idaho Steelheads scored a controversial power-play goal with 6:16 left in regulation and added an empty-net goal with less than four seconds left to defeat the Utah Grizzlies, 4-2, on Saturday night at CenturyLink Arena.
Idaho was awarded six of the nine power plays in the game and scored two of its three goals on the one-man advantage starting 1:53 into the game to go up 1-0.
The Grizzlies tied the game at one on the first of two goals scored by Travis Howe (four and five) on the evening as he backhanded home a puck to tie the game 8:40 into the first period after Mitch Jones sent in a puck from center ice. Jake Marchment was credited with an assist.
Howe gave Utah a 2-1 second-period lead as he slammed home a loose chance off a Sam Windle blast on a puck carried in by Charley Graaskamp.
Idaho tied the game 4:32 later with 6:16 left in the second period off a deflected puck that came off Utah defenseman James Melindy’s face.
Handed two power plays in a two minute and 43 second stretch, Idaho was awarded a goal that ended up in the back of the net with all sorts of holding and contact going on in front as the Grizzlies protested.
Utah goaltender Brandon Wildung stopped 22-of-25 in the contest as Utah outshot Idaho, 29-26 and 23-14 in the first two periods.
Referee Sean Fernandez lost control of the game late as 58 penalty minutes were handed out in the final 10 minutes of regulation.
The Grizzlies are next in action Wednesday in Colorado. Faceoff is at 7 p.m.