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The Utah Grizzlies and Alaska Aces is one of the marquee rivalries in the ECHL, and Saturday at the Maverik Center marked the 126th time the two clubs squared off.

There will not be a 127th.

With Alaska folding at the end of the season and both teams vying for the final playoff spot in the Mountain Division, it was fitting that the final matchup would be closely contested. Ultimately Alaska couldn't contain Colin Martin, and behind his hat trick, the Grizzlies prevailed 5-4.

"This whole series I don't think we put together a full 60 minutes until tonight," Martin said. "We took it to them from the puck drop to the final buzzer. That's what we need to do every night. It's playoff hockey and it's time to go."

The game was tied at 4 in the third following Alaska defenseman Nolan Descoteaux's second goal of the evening. However, Utah wouldn't be denied as Mathieu Aubin provided the game winner and sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Utah came out of the gates blazing with a pair of goals. Jon Puskar, receiving a pass from Ralph Cuddemi, spun and fired a rocket past Aces goalie Kevin Carr. Martin began his campaign by rifling a shot at point blank range to give the Grizzlies a 2-0 lead. Utah would withstand a five on three Aces power play but couldn't stop Yan-Pavel Laplante from getting the visitors on the board to reduce the deficit to 2-1.

The Grizzlies were clicking on all cylinders early in the second period and were awarded when Martin scored his second for a 3-1 advantage. However, Alaska pushed back and tied the contest with a pair of goals less than two minutes apart when Descoteaux and Daniel Moynihan scored. Martin, though, ensured the Grizzlies would end the period with the lead when he completed his hat trick.

"We were determined as a group and we talked about it on the bench that we were going to win this hockey game," Utah coach Tim Branham said. —

ECHL standings

EASTERN CONFERENCE

North GP W L OL SL Pts GF GA

Manchester 58 31 16 7 4 73 217 200

Brampton 56 32 17 3 4 71 204 194

Reading 57 33 21 1 2 69 206 167

Adirondack 56 29 17 6 4 68 197 175

Wheeling 56 28 22 6 0 62 190 179

Elmira 58 12 38 7 1 32 130 220

South GP W L OL SOL Pts GF GA

Florida 55 38 12 2 3 81 204 155

Greenville 58 32 21 4 1 69 201 198

Orlando 58 29 20 6 3 67 217 210

Cincinnati 60 31 25 4 0 66 167 174

South Carolina 59 31 25 2 1 65 181 174

Atlanta 56 21 27 6 2 50 181 219

Norfolk 56 21 31 4 0 46 161 209

Western Conference

Central GP W L OL SOL Pts GF GA

Toledo 56 40 13 2 1 83 234 153

Fort Wayne 56 34 15 5 2 75 209 168

Quad City 57 32 22 1 2 67 179 170

Kalamazoo 58 29 25 1 3 62 166 184

Tulsa 60 26 28 5 1 58 168 192

Wichita 55 17 34 3 1 38 150 214

Indy 57 15 37 3 2 35 139 229

Mountain GP W L OL SOL Pts GF GA

Colorado 59 40 15 1 3 84 229 170

Allen 59 37 17 3 2 79 235 170

Idaho 58 33 18 5 2 73 195 177

Alaska 56 28 20 2 6 64 183 183

Utah 58 27 24 5 2 61 182 203

Missouri 56 26 23 2 5 59 181 188

Rapid City 58 21 29 8 0 50 180 211

Saturday's games

Reading 2, Manchester 1, OT

Florida 4, Atlanta 0

Orlando 5, Greenville 3

Toledo 3, Kalamazoo 0

Elmira 6, Norfolk 3

Fort Wayne 4, Wheeling 3

Cincinnati 3, Adirondack 2

Wichita 3, Tulsa 2, SO

Allen 4, Missouri 2

Quad City 6, Indy 1

Utah 5, Alaska 4

South Carolina 4, Colorado 1

Idaho 4, Rapid City 2

Sunday's games

Adirondack at Kalamazoo, 1 p.m.

Wheeling at Fort Wayne, 3 p.m.

Norfolk at Reading, 3 p.m.

Tulsa at Missouri, 3:05 p.m.

Brampton at Toledo, 3:15 p.m.

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