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West Valley City • It took nine games and most of the ECHL's regular season, but the Grizzlies have finally defeated Western Conference rival Colorado without needing overtime.
Colin Vock and Tommy Maxwell scored 25 seconds apart midway through Saturday's third period, sparking Utah to a 5-4 victory over the Eagles at the Maverik Center.
In eight previous battles with Colorado, the Grizzlies won only twice both in overtime.
In this game, Utah never trailed. But the Grizzlies couldn't put away the Eagles, who rallied from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits and had the Grizzlies hanging on in the final seconds.
Still, Utah survived and took another step toward clinching a playoff berth with 10 games left.
"I thought the effort was good," coach Kevin Colley said. "We had contributions from quite a few different guys. … It was good depth all-around, and that's what it's going to take for us to be successful."
Colley is still concerned with Utah's defense, however. Opponents have scored 21 goals in regulation in the last five games.
"We have to really bear down," Colley said. "We're just way too loose right now. We have to have more pride in that zone."
In the second of a three-game series against Colorado, Utah took a 3-2 lead into the third period. But the Eagles tied it on Kyle Ostrow's goal with 14:55 remaining.
Fortunately for the Grizzlies, they countered quickly.
After Cody Carlson faked a slap shot from the top of the slot, he drifted to his right and fired the puck toward Colorado goalie Adam Brown. The shot deflected off Vock, giving the Grizzlies the lead with 12:25 left.
"I just went to the net," he said. "… It was a lucky play."
Moments later, Brown failed to secure a harmless-looking shot. Maxwell beat the defense to the loose puck and slammed home the rebound to give Utah the cushion it needed to survive a late push by Colorado.
"We're not where we want to be yet," Vock said. "But if we stay focused and stick to our systems, we'll keep getting better."
Grizzlies 5, Eagles 4
O Colin Vock and Tommy Maxwell score midway through third period as Utah defeats Colorado.
• The Grizzlies defeat the Eagles in regulation for the first time in nine games this season.
• Utah goalie Adam Morrison stops 38 of 42 shots as the Grizzlies snap a four-game losing streak.