WEST VALLEY CITY — The San Diego-Utah hockey rivalry goes back to the chicken-wire days of the 1960s. It resumed Saturday, but the results were not what the Grizzlies had hoped.

San Diego won 4-3, taking advantage of Utah penalties to score half of their goals while the Grizzlies were zip for their first nine power plays and finally scored on the 10th as the game was concluding.

This was the first time a team named the San Diego Gulls has played in Utah since 1994, when they closed out the Salt Lake Golden Eagles era and lost 5-4 in a shootout. The Gulls were also the Golden Eagles' very first opponent in 1969 and lost that one, too, 4-2.

A five-game San Diego unbeaten streak had been snapped Friday night in Southern California by a 3-2 loss to visiting Phoenix. Utah had won their last two games on the road. Utah stands 13-8-1, while San Diego is 9-8-4. This was Utah's first loss to a Pacific Division team in the ECHL.

The Grizzlies had made some trades recently hoping to get tougher, but they'd also been told to be smart about that toughness.

Instead, they piled up four first-period penalties and fell behind 1-0 on a 5-on-3 score by the Gulls by Jesse Bennefield, then gave up a second power-play goal on two second-period penalties, that by Patrick Levesque. In the first period, they were outshot 15-7, though they reversed that trend in the second, 13-4.

Through the first two periods, the Grizzlies were 0-for-7 on the power play but got an even-strength score by Ryan Kinasewich from Brad Herauf. Some 15 minutes later in the period, San Diego's Pierre-Luc Sleigher scored from the right-wing faceoff circle.

In the third period, Utah drew some hope when Colt King, just acquired in a trade Tuesday, planted his first Grizzlies goal on a rebound on a Matt Craig shot just 1:43 into the period, but the Gulls didn't allow Utah to enjoy it for long. Defenseman Alex Kim shot a loose puck in the slot past Alfie Michaud at 3:20 to regain the two-goal lead, 4-2.

Michaud has only given up four or more goals three times this season.


E-mail: lham@desnews.com