WEST VALLEY, UT – It had been 17 years since the Fort Wayne Komets played the Utah Grizzlies in Maverik Center, but by the end of game three Wednesday night, the Komets felt right at home.
Looking to claw their way back into the Western Conference Semifinal series with the Komets, the Utah Grizzlies opened up game three the right way, with a goal by Jon Puskar from the bottom of the right face-off circle, on their first shot of the game.
From there, the teams battled the next 37-plus minutes of game time without tripping the red light. Both goaltenders Pat Nagle and Mark Owuya were forced to make several timely stops to keep the game close.
Then at the 1:50 mark of the final period, Shawn Szydlowski put the Komets’ on the board with a beautiful toe-drag move around Puskar, and then shot the puck in the upper-right corner over Owuya’s shoulder.
While Matt Berry was serving a delay of game penalty for shooting the puck into the stands, the Komets capitalized for the game-winning goal. Troy Bourke fired the puck onto Owuya, who kicked out a rebound which ended up in Mike Embach‘s vicinity. Embach collected the rebound and put it past Owuya to give Fort Wayne a 2-1 lead.
The Grizzlies would have their opportunities to tie the game, but Nagle, who has played every game of the playoffs so far, was equal to the task. Garrett Thompson salted the game away with an empty-net goal with 90 seconds to go to give the Komets a 3-1 win.
Fort Wayne will have their first shot at eliminating Utah on Friday night at Maverik Center.