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West Valley City • The Utah Grizzlies' ECHL game against Las Vegas was postponed Wednesday night because of damaged ice that could not be repaired.
The score was tied, 1-1, with 6:12 left in the second period when play was stopped. After waiting for nearly two hours, the game was called off and the fans at the Maverik Center were sent home.
The outcome of the game is critical for Utah, which has only two more games remaining in the regular season.
The Grizzlies are battling for third, fourth and fifth place in the Western Conference. The No. 3 and No. 4 seed will earn home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Utah started the ill-fated game on the offensive, thanks in part to a tripping penalty on Las Vegas' Matt Tassone only 1:34 into the game.
While chasing the pick into the corner on the power play, however, the Grizzlies' Mathieu Aubin was knocked off balance and slide face-first into the boards.
Aubin, who is Utah's No. 3 goal-scorer this season, stayed on the ice for about five minutes before being helped to the locker room.
The injury seemed to take some life out of Aubin's teammates and Las Vegas easily killed off the penalty.
With 12:34 left in the opening period, the Wranglers took a 1-0 lead when Grizz goaltender Aaron Dell made a sensational stop on a point-blank shot by Geoff Paukovich.
Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, the puck ended up on the stick of Chris Kushneriuk, who knocked it into the back of the net.
Early through the second period, Utah went on back-to-back power plays after penalties on the Wranglers' Nick Wheeler and Paukovich.
The Grizzlies converted the second opportunity when Danick Paquette took a perfect centering pass from Charles Sarault. He turned and fired a blistering wrist shot from the slot that eluded Las Vegas goalie Travis Fullerton.
O Wednesday night's game between Utah and Las Vegas will resume at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Olympic oval in Kearns. Attendance is free of charge.
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