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West Valley City • A beast from the Eastern Conference devoured the Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
Sacha Guimond scored two goals and the Gwinnett Gladiators rolled to an easy 5-1 victory over punchless Utah in front of 3,017 fans at the Maverik Center.
In their only game against an Eastern Conference opponent this season, the Grizzlies were overmatched.
The Gladiators improved to 36-24-2-1 and strengthened their grip on first place in the South Division. They are third in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
"They're a good team," Grizzly coach Kevin Colley said. "They have been playing together all year. There is a lot of chemistry out there, and they are well-coached."
Once again, Utah struggled in the offensive end.
Berkley Scott scored with 1:42 remaining to prevent the Grizzlies from being shut out for the third time in eight games. In that stretch, Utah has managed only eight goals in regulation.
"I think we have to shoot more," Colley said. "We're getting some good looks, but maybe we're trying to be too pretty."
In the first period, the Grizzlies used a pair of power plays to outshoot the Gladiators, 15-9.
Gwinnett grabbed a 1-0 lead, however, when Guimond fired a rebound past Utah goalie Adam Morrison only 4:15 into the game.
After Utah failed to convert a handful of scoring opportunities, it appeared the Gladiators would take their one-goal advantage to the locker room.
But Evan Bloodoff had other ideas.
On Gwinnett's final rush, he collected another rebound and poked it under Morrison with 1.3 seconds left in the period.
"That was a killer," Colley said. "That's a tough one to give up."
With 6:02 left in the second period, Gwinnett went on its first power play. Thirty-six seconds later, Utah failed to clear the puck when it had a chance and Guimond fired a wrist shot over Morrison's shoulder to make it 3-0.
In the third period, Gwinnett stretched its lead to 5-0 before Scott scored his fifth goal of the season.
O Gwinnett builds a two-goal lead in the first period and cruises past Utah.
• The Grizzlies' Berkley Scott scores with 1:42 remaining to prevent a shutout.
• This was the Grizzlies' only game against an Eastern Conference opponent this season.