The Utah Grizzlies defeated the Kansas City Mavericks, 6-5, in overtime Friday night before 8,035 fans.
Grizzlies captain Ryan Walters ended the game with his 29th goal of the season 2:54 into overtime.
“We are playing for pride at this moment and we are playing for the fans. They have been here all year supporting us and showing us a lot of love,” said head coach and General Manager Tim Branham. “Over 8,000 again here at the Maverik Center; can’t say enough about that.”
Kyle Thomas led Utah with two goals and two assists. James Melindy, Walters and Jake Marchment each had one goal and one assist.
“Walters came through and got the game-winner. That was huge,” said Branham. “Kyle Thomas played a great game obviously with four points. At the very least, we put on a good show for the fans.”
The Grizzlies led 1-0 and 5-3, while the Mavericks held 2-1 and 3-2 leads in the third period.
Utah recorded 16 shots in the first period and scored on Thomas’ 13 of the year as he fired from the slot on a feed from Michael Pelech as Travis Howe also added an assist. Kansas City scored with 1:16 left in the frame to tie the contest.
“We have to find a way to play for 60 minutes, but definitely proud of the effort and proud that we found a way to win in overtime,” said Branham.
The Mavericks took a 2-1 lead 6:18 into the second before Kyle Thomas (14) tied with another goal 9:22 later. Kansas City took the lead 15 seconds after that before James Melindy (three) banged in a Mitch Jones blast off the back wall to again tie the game with 57 seconds left in the frame.
Utah took a 5-3 lead with two goals in 55 seconds in the first 1:28 of the third period as Marchment (17) and Brendan Harms (13) scored.
Joel Rumpel stopped 24-of-29 shots to improve to 18-13-2-2.
Saturday is the Grizzlies home finale to wrap up Fan Appreciation Weekend, which is Free Seat Upgrade Weekend.