WEST VALLEY CITY — The way the Utah Grizzlies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in Saturday's game with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, one might have thought Utah's hockey team was unstoppable.
But the Grizzlies failed to show up for the second and third periods, gave up four unanswered goals and dropped a disappointing 4-2 loss to the visiting Sound Tigers.
The loss dropped the Grizzlies to 23-16-3-2 on the year.
To say Utah coach Don Hay was disgusted with his team's effort would have been an understatment.
"Our play in the second period was unacceptable," he said. "We could have worn them down if we had been determined, but we lost focus and didn't take advantage of our power-play opportunities. When we had (Bridgeport's) neck we didn't squeeze."
Trailing 2-0, the Sound Tigers broke through the Grizzlies defensive wall at 2:58 in the second period when Chris Armstrong slapped in a 25-foot shot that brought the Sound Tigers within one goal. Then just before the end of the second, Bridgeport's Jason Krog slipped another shot past Utah goal tender Chad Alban to tie the score 2-2.
The Sound Tigers continued in middle of the third when center Ben Guite notched a short-handed goal. Then in the final seconds of the game, with Utah scrambling to force overtime, Krog iced the contest with his second goal on another slap shot.
Like Hay, Grizzly Greg Hawgood didn't candy-coat Utah's second period collapse.
"It was another classic example of us . . . two points away," he said. "We shoot ourselves in the foot and do dumb things to give the other team life. We played 20 minutes and they played 40."
The loss overshadowed another solid performance by Alban, who recorded 34 saves, some of which were nothing short of spectacular.
The Grizzlies two goals both came on power-plays.
Utah's Ryan Jardine at found the net at 1:45 of the first period, and teammate Niko Kapanen scored again at the 10:45-mark.
The Grizzlies will now have a few days to re-group before taking the ice again on Friday in Chicago. The face off will be at 6 p.m.