By Miranda Collette
WEST VALLEY CITY – Just seven minutes into the first period of the Utah Grizzlies game, against the Alaska Aces, Grizzlies’ fans had more then enough to cheer about.
After the previous night’s loss, Utah came out on the ice with the mindset of winning, and wasted no time proving it, beating the Aces 4 to 3.
Just one minute into the first period, Utah was up 1-0 after a centering pass was made to Utah forward, Teigan Zahn for a quick first goal.
If that wasn’t enough, three minutes later David Vallorani, followed suit with another shot that found it’s way to the back of the net, making it 2-0 for the Grizzlies. Coach Tim Branham was pleased with his player’s performance.
“You never want to loose two in a row and I thought it was a real good response to yesterday’s game, we needed to put more pucks in the back of the net and we did that today,” Branham said.
At the start of the second period, the Aces came out of the locker room with a renewed desire to bring the heat.
Aces forward, Brendan Connolly did just that as he snuck Alaska’s first goal of the night passed Utah goaltender, Aaron Dell. Alaska was back in it with Connolly’s 18th goal of the season and a new score of 2-1.
The physicality of the second period continued as Danick Paquette and Sean Curry were given matching penalties for roughing. Both teams were playing four on four when Aces forward, Peter Sivak, got his 22nd goal of the season.
However the 2-2 tie was short lived. Grizzly forward, Jamie McQueen took advantage of a breakaway with just 3:48 left on the clock, ripping a shot top right and pushing Utah ahead once again, 3-2.
Regardless of the final score, Coach Branham thought his team could have stepped up more when it came to capitalizing on the power play.
“I thought we did okay.” Said Branham. “With them pressuring hard we just need to make quicker and better reads with the puck, down low and making plays.”
Alaska on the other hand, did not have that same issue. Mathew Sisca, for the Aces, tore a shot that went top shelf over Dell’s shoulder, once again tying the score, 3-3 with a power play goal, early into the third.
The Grizzlies answered right back with another goal to take the lead yet again by Grizzly forward Brent Gwidt.
With just two minutes left on the clock the Aces had one last chance to tie the game. However, right before the puck passed the goal line, Dell was able to pull it back just in time. Coach Branham commended Dell’s hard work in the game. Dell successfully blocked 23 of the 26 shots made by the Aces.
“Every good team, need a good goalie; its their job to stop the puck and he definitely made some real nice saves today,” Branham said.
The 6,340 fans that attended the game, left happy with a Grizzly win under their belt. The Grizzlies will not be returning to the Maverick Center until March 19, when the face the Stockton Thunder.