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Grizzlies: Utah fails to clinch playoff spot, still control destiny

Published April 7, 2017 10:36 pm

Hockey • They could have clinched a spot in the playoffs.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The goal was simple for the Utah Grizzlies: win Friday night and clinch their 10th straight playoff appearance.

Someone forgot to tell the Missouri Mavericks.

Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, the Mavericks played the role of spoilers, defeating Utah 3-2. The Grizzlies still control their destiny, however. A Utah victory Saturday or a loss by the Alaska Aces on Friday or Saturday against the Idaho Steelheads and a postseason berth is secure.



"I was disappointed in our effort, and we dug ourselves a hole with a two-goal deficit and you can't play like that," head coach Tim Branham said. "We have to be hungry. The question is how bad do we want it. I don't want to leave it to chance with Idaho. We need to come out tomorrow and show what we're made of."

Only one goal was scored in the third period and unfortunately for Utah, it was recorded by the Mavericks. Missouri broke a 2-2 tie at the 7:38 mark of the third period on a two on one when Connor Bleakley threaded the needle to Matt Robertson, who lobbed the puck just out of the reach of Utah goalie Kevin Boyle.

The Grizzlies offense came out of the gates stagnant and they paid the price. Before Utah had even managed a shot on goal, the score was 2-0 Missouri. A pair of top-shelf goals was tallied by Dane Fox and Eric Scheid less than two minutes apart.

Utah would turn on the jets in the second period. Sandwiched around 19 minutes of hockey was a goal at the beginning and end of the period to tie the score at 2-2. A loose puck was batted at by several Grizzlie players until Mathieu Aubin's attempt was successful just 40 seconds into the period. Still trailing by a goal with just 11.9 seconds left, Austen Brassard fired a slapshot through the pads of Mavericks goalie Zach Nagelvoort to tie the contest.

"It was pretty disappointing and that slow start woke us up," Brassard said. "But we have to move past it and we have an opportunity to get the job done tomorrow and that's what we're focused on." —

ECHL standings

EASTERN CONFERENCE

North GP W L OL SOL Pts GF GA

Adirondack 71 40 20 7 4 91 261 218

Reading 71 40 25 4 2 86 251 215

Brampton 71 39 24 3 5 86 258 252

Manchester 71 37 23 7 4 85 260 247

Wheeling 71 34 29 8 0 76 242 234

Elmira 71 17 46 7 1 42 171 274

South GP W L OL SOL Pts GF GA

Florida 71 45 21 2 3 95 265 219

Greenville 71 40 25 5 1 86 249 246

South Carolina 71 39 28 3 1 82 223 208

Orlando 71 36 25 7 3 82 260 248

Cincinnati 71 36 29 5 1 78 197 205

Atlanta 71 26 37 6 2 60 228 276

Norfolk 71 26 39 6 0 58 212 267

Western Conference

Central GP W L OL SOL Pts GF GA

Toledo 71 50 17 2 2 104 292 191

Fort Wayne 71 44 19 6 2 96 258 209

Quad City 71 40 27 2 2 84 231 214

Kalamazoo 71 37 30 1 3 78 217 235

Tulsa 71 27 36 6 2 62 193 236

Indy 71 23 41 3 4 53 196 280

Wichita 70 20 43 6 1 47 182 273

Mountain GP W L OL SOL Pts GF GA

Allen 71 48 17 4 2 102 290 201

Colorado 70 46 19 2 3 97 260 201

Idaho 70 41 22 5 2 89 230 204

Utah 71 35 29 5 2 77 220 236

Missouri 71 33 29 4 5 75 230 236

Alaska 70 32 28 3 7 74 216 226

Rapid City 70 25 37 8 0 58 210 251

Friday's games

Greenville 3, Cincinnati 2, OT

Orlando 5, Florida 3

Adirondack 7, Elmira 1

South Carolina 3, Atlanta 2

Manchester 4, Brampton 1

Reading 4, Norfolk 3, OT

Toledo 3, Indy 2

Wheeling 7, Kalamazoo 2

Allen 4, Tulsa 3

Fort Wayne 5, Quad City 2

Missouri 3, Utah 2

Colorado at Rapid City, late

Idaho at Alaska, late

 

 

 

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