West Valley City, Utah – The Utah Grizzlies beat the Rapid City Rush 5-4 Saturday night before 7,446 fans at Maverik Center on Star Wars Night.
Nearly $20,000 was raised in the postgame Star Wars jersey auction with all proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation as Utah scored five goals a night after tallying eight in an 8-3 victory over Rapid City.
“All five of our guys on the d-core played outstanding this weekend,” said Head Coach/General Manager Tim Branham. “When you have 5 defensemen, it's a lot of ice time for all of them. It's baby steps, it's a process and I think we are doing well.”
Utah scored three goals in the third period, after Rapid City tied the game at two, to earn the win as the Grizzlies saw five different players score goals as four players recorded multiple-point nights in Greger Hanson (one goal, two assists), Kyle Thomas (one goal, one assist), Michael Pelech (one goal, one assist) and Ryan Olsen (two assists).
“We battled pretty hard,” said Branham. “In the third period, I thought we absolutely dominated. Our execution just raised ten-fold. I thought we could have been cleaner in the first two periods but overall we found a way, got the job done, got four points and that's all that matters.”
For the second-straight game, Utah took a 2-0 first period lead.
Kyle Thomas fed Ryan Misiak (6) on a two-on-one to make it 1-0 Utah 12:34 into the first period before Erik Higby (3) knocked in a rebound on the power-play with 2:11 left in the period.
Rapid City scored late in the second period and early in the third to tie the contest.
1:14 after the Rush tied it, Greger Hanson (8) gave Utah the lead back as Chris Leibinger walked the puck to the net for Utah 8:01 into the third period.
1:51 later Kyle Thomas (4) made it 4-2 as he walked in on a feed from Greger Hanson setup by Ryan Olsen.
After Rapid City made it 4-3 12:57 into the third period, Michael Pelech (8) made it 5-3 with 4:03 left as Mitch Jones and Greger Hanson drew assists as Utah beat what would have been an icing call.
The Rush made it 5-4 with 23 seconds left as Utah held on.
Anaheim Ducks prospect Angus Redmond stopped 29 of 33 in the win.
The Grizzlies host Colorado Saturday, December 23 at Maverik Center. Fans who say “Merry Christmas” at the Maverik Center Box Office when purchasing tickets will receive a voucher to receive a free gift from the Grizzlies and their partners.
Starting at $39, the Grizzlies are offering three lower bowl game tickets a Grizzlies Hat and a Grizzlies T-Shirt that can be purchased at utahgrizzlies.com/holidays.