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David Vallorani recorded his first professional hat trick, and Jamie MacQueen scored his team-leading 10th goal of the season as the Utah Grizzlies beat the Colorado Eagles, 5-3, at the Maverik Center on Saturday night.
After losing five of six games during the team's December road trip, the Grizzlies returned to the friendly confines of the Maverik Center to score five goals on 26 shots, including four power-play goals. Utah has now recorded standings points in 10 of its 14 home games, but has somehow managed only two wins through 12 road games.
"We play well [at home]," said coach Tim Branham. "We said after the break, [this is] a new start, so we're off to a good one. We have struggled on the road and done well at home, but hopefully the second half [of the season] is different."
Despite arriving in Salt Lake City by bus at around 6 a.m. Saturday, the Grizzlies showed no signs of fatigue. At 9:16 in the first period, during Utah's first power play of the night, Pat O'Keefe fired a slap shot that deflected off the chest of a teammate toward Vallorani, who wristed home his sixth goal of the season.
Utah drew two more penalties in the closing seconds of the period, giving Vallorani all the time he needed to net his second power-play goal of the period.
Vallorani scored again at 2:49 in the second period to complete the hat trick.
"It feels good," Vallorani said of his three-goal performance. "My line mates did a really good job of giving me the puck and I found the net today. … Our team has a little more confidence now. We got some guys that can put the puck in the back of the net. With the guys that we have, we have the ability to be a really good team."
Jamie MacQueen added another Utah power-play goal in the final minute of the second period, a one-timer off a pass from Mathieu Aubin, and Michael Pelech scored his fourth goal of the year in the third period to seal the win for the Grizzlies.
Grizzlies 5, Eagles 3
R Goalie Aaron Dell stops 26 of 29 shots, moving to 4-1 with Utah.
• Utah's Jamie MacQueen scores his 10th goal of the season.
• Utah improves to 10-4-1-2 all-time vs. Colorado at the Maverik Center.