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Grizzlies reach in and grab win right from Dragons' jaws

Perhaps the San Antonio Dragons should just give up on trying to beat the Utah Grizzlies on the road. Friday night they had a victory all but wrapped up - and they still somehow managed to lose to the Grizz, 3-2 in a shootout.

The Dragons - and their previous incarnation, the Peoria Rivermen - had lost all five games on Grizz home ice, with games both in Denver and Utah.But Friday night in front of 5,318 at the E Center, the Dragons were literally seconds away from breaking the streak, leading 2-1.

Instead, the Grizz were bailed out by one of the rarest calls in hockey. At the 19:55 mark of the final period - in other words, with five seconds left in the game - Utah was awarded a penalty shot. One of the Dragons had been called for a delay-of-game penalty for purposely knocking the goal off its moorings. It was the first penalty shot the Grizzlies had been awarded in nearly two years - the last one being Nov. 5, 1995.

Kip Miller made the Dragons pay. He scored his fifth goal of the young season by getting the penalty shot past San Antonio goalie Bruce Racine.

Utah went on to outscore San Antonio 2-1 in the shootout - with goals by Chris Taylor and Miller - to earn the victory. The Grizzlies are now 4-2-1, while the Dragons fell to 3-3-1. Taylor's goal gives him an even 200 points in a Grizz uniform.

"I don't know what happened," said Miller. "We didn't deserve to win, but we did."

The Dragons, as you might expect, were not pleased afterward. Team captain Daniel Shank - doing his best Bobby Knight impersonation - threw a chair from the bench onto the ice. Others tossed water bottles and cups onto the playing surface. Shank and Grizz fans behind the bench exchanged angry words.

Just another night of hockey.

And the best news for hockey fans is that the teams will meet again tonight in the E Center.

"We'll just have to come out ready to play," said Miller.

Utah led much of the game after scoring the only goal of the first period. A Dan Plante slapshot from just inside the blue line at the 8:01 mark gave Utah a 1-0 advantage. Miller, who has scored in all seven games for the Grizz this season, was credited with the assist.

The score remained 1-0 in Utah's favor until the final seconds of the second period. Grizz goalie Wade Flaherty turned away the first 21 Dragon shots and Utah killed the San Antonio's first four power plays. But San Antonio's Scott Hollis got one past Flaherty on a power play with six seconds remaining in the period, knotting the game at 1-1.

The Dragons staked their first lead at the 9:36 mark of the third period on a goal by Louie DeBrusk. The Grizz had a golden opportunity when San Antonio's Davis Payne was given a four-minute penalty for high sticking, but Utah could not score on the power play.

San Antonio out shot the Grizz 28-20. The Grizz are now 2-0 in the E Center.