Anchorage, Alaska - The Utah Grizzlies defeated the Alaska Aces 4-3 in a shootout Friday night in Anchorage.
Carrying a 3-0 lead to the third period, the injury depleted Grizzlies skated with as few as 10 skaters in the final frame of regulation as they wrapped up the three-game in three-night series by taking two of three from Alaska and five of six overall during the ten-game road stretch.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this group of guys and the way that they battled,” said Head Coach/General Manager Tim Branham. “I can’t say enough about what the boys went through to tonight to get the two points. From top to bottom it was another complete effort.”
Utah, who opened the game two defensemen short, came out of the gates strong by outshooting full-strength Alaska 17-5 in the first period as they took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Brad Navin’s fifth of the season, as he converted on a two-on-two, gave Utah a 1-0 lead 9:35 into the frame.
“Our group is so resilient, it doesn’t matter how many injuries that you have, it doesn’t matter how many defensemen you have,” said Branham. “When you have heart and will then you can do a lot.”
Colin Martin (12, 13) scored two goals in the second period to build a 3-0 lead as he first scored 3:56 into the frame knocking in a third chance after two Erik Higby looks in front as the Grizzlies ultimately converted on what started as a three-on-two led up ice by Ralph Cuddemi.
The Grizzlies made it 3-0 as Martin took a feed from Cuddemi that started with Cam Reid leading Utah up ice on another three-on-two.
The Aces got on the board on their 23rd shot of the night on Grizzlies goaltender Kevin Boyle on the power-play 5:56 into the third period and then scored four-on-four at 9:08 as Utah limped along. The Aces tied the game with 3:32 left in regulation on their only five-on-five goal of the game.
“Fans don’t even know the amount of things this team had to battle through in the third period,” said Branham. “Alaska capitalized on a couple of bad bounces, but at the end of the day, we faced a lot of adversity and we got two points.”
In overtime, goaltender Kevin Boyle stopped all five shots that he saw, including several with Utah shorthanded after Cuddemi was called for hooking 15 seconds into the extra frame.
Cam Reid and Mathieu Aubin scored on both Utah shootout attempts and Kevin Boyle stopped two of three Aces looks after Alaska elected to shoot first.
The Grizzlies are back home Friday, February 17 and Saturday, February 18 for Pink In The Rink Weekend Powered by B-Mazda. Fans will be able to purchase a weekend package to attend both games in the lower bowl starting at $20 at the Maverik Center Box Office with a portion of the proceeds going back to fight breast cancer. In addition, the Grizzlies will be selling $5 Pink Grizzlies Pink In The Rink T-Shirts in the team store for ticket holders of games that weekend with again a portion of the proceeds going back to fight breast cancer while supplies and sizes last.
The Grizzlies are home February 20 for their next Maverik Monday and a President’s Day Matinee at 1:30 p.m. Fans can get buy 1 get 1 free tickets with their Maverik Adventure Club Card. In addition, there will be a $6 Lunch Combo that includes a hot dog, fries and a soft drink. Churros will be available for $2.