WEST VALLEY, UT – In their first-ever meeting Friday night, Wichita couldn’t overcome a quick start from Utah, who got out to a three-goal cushion before the Thunder got on the board.
Barry Almeida put the Grizzlies on the board three minutes into the contest on the man advantage for his first of two. He added his second of the period at 6:45 after Thunder goaltender David Shantz tried to come out of the net to play a dump-in and he found the net to make it 2-0. Just minutes later, Utah tacked on another from Roberts Lipsbergs during a scramble in front of the net.
In the second, Christian Isackson appeared to score during a delayed penalty but the goal was waived off as Ian Lowe was knocked into Ryan Faragher. Wichita went on the man advantage and this time, Isackson found the net at 1:08 and cut the lead to 3-1. The Grizzlies answered two minutes later during a five-on-three power play as T.J. Syner redirected a pass from Alex Krushelnyski past Shantz. Andy Huff buried a wrist shot from the left circle at 8:22 to make it 4-2. Utah upped the lead once again as Josh Macdonald recorded his first of two at 10:20 on the power play.
Utah continued to find an answer for the Thunder down the stretch, outscoring Wichita 2-1 in the final frame. Macdonald netted his second of the night on a breakaway at 4:11 to make it 6-2. Huff potted his second of the game at 12:07 that made it 6-3. Charles Sarault closed the scoring at 14:13 with his eighth of the season.
Of note, the league may take a look at an incident which happened in the mid stages of the third period. Erick Lizon skated onto the ice for a shift and appears to make a bee-line toward a Grizzlies player, then leveled him with one punch. Lizon was whistled two minutes for roughing at 8:22 of the final period.
Huff had his second two-goal outing of the season. Kenton Miller added an assist, giving him helpers in three-straight games. Lowe also added a helper, giving him points in four of the last five games (1g, 4a).
Shantz suffers the loss, stopping 24 of 31 shots. Faragher claims his 16 win of the season, stopping 18 of 21 shots he faced.
Special teams dominated the outcome as the two teams combined for 14 power plays. Wichita went 1-for-6 on the man advantage and has power play goals in five-straight games. Utah went 3-for-8.
The same two teams will play each other tonight at 8:05 pm CT and again on Monday afternoon at 2:35 pm CT.