West Valley City • The Utah Grizzlies learned one thing on Monday night – they miss Andrew Engelage.
Utah was without its starting goaltender on Monday night he's day-to-day with a concussion and it showed. Utah fell 9-6 to Stockton in what was an offensive clinic by the Thunder. For the Grizzlies, it was a defensive effort to forget.
"That's just the way things are going right now," Grizzlies coach Kevin Colley said. "Every little mistake is ending up at the back of the net."
Utah was still very much in the game as the first intermission approached. Trailing 2-1, the Grizzlies had a power play and a golden opportunity to even it up. About one and a half minutes and three penalties later, Utah faced a 4-on-2 disadvantage. With just 4.9 seconds remaining on the clock, Thunder left wing Phillippe Cornet flicked the puck off the crossbar and into the net. Instead of potentially going into the break with a 2-2 tie, the Grizzlies trailed 3-1.
The turn of events late in the first period didn't necessarily deflate Utah, but it certainly energized Stockton. Thunder center Phil Mangan slapped the puck past Utah goaltender Ryan Donovan just three minutes, 11 seconds into the second period and the flood gates were officially opened.
Sparked by Mangan's goal, Stockton went on to produce one of the most efficient periods hockey fans will ever see. The Thunder netted goals on 5-of-12 shooting, and five different Thunder players scored goals in the second period. Stockton never went more than five and a half minutes without scoring in the middle frame. By period's end, Stockton was one goal shy of its franchise record.
Content with a four-goal lead, the Thunder played keep away in the 3rd period to run out the clock and ice the game. Even still, Stockton found the net one more time with about four minutes remaining to score its franchise-tying ninth goal.
Utah did have a solid offensive performance, and that is what the Grizzlies hope to build on.
"We've been working on keeping morale up," Grizzlies forward Riley Armstrong said. "We scored six goals, which we haven't done in a while, so hopefully we can keep that going."
The Grizzlies don't have to wait long for redemption as they travel to Stockton on Friday.
Thunder 9, Grizzlies 6
• The Stockton Thunder score nine goals, tying their franchise record.
• Utah forward Riley Armstrong scores two goals in the loss.
• The Grizzlies have now lost five straight games.