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Utah Grizzlies: Vallorani's hat trick leads to weekend sweep of Colorado

The Utah Grizzlies defeated the Colorado Eagles, 5-3, on Saturday night at Maverik Center as Utah swept the home and home weekend series against the Mountain Division leaders.

David Vallorani led Utah with a hat trick, while Jamie MacQueen scored his team leading 10th goal of the year. The Grizzlies scored a season-high four power-play goals on four-for-eight efficiency, and goaltender Aaron Dell won his fourth-straight start to improve to 4-1.

Vallorani recorded the natural hat trick on three-straight goals starting 9:16 into the first period on the power-play as Patrick O’Keefe held a puck in, threw it toward the net and Danick Paquette flipped it back to Vallorani who buried the point-blank blast in the slot. Colorado tied the game 1:45 later at 1-1, before Utah took a 2-1 lead to the second period as Vallorani buried a five-on-three power-play goal with four seconds left in the frame.

Utah took a 3-1 lead 2:49 into the second period as a Colorado defenseman fell down, and Vallorani worked in uncontested to finish Utah’s second hat trick of the season.

The Grizzlies made it 4-2 with another five-on-three power-play goal with 1:05 left in the second period as O’Keefe and Mathieu Aubin worked it to MacQueen who fired the cannon in from the near point.

After Colorado made it 4-3 with 8:04 left in regulation, Utah drew a penalty with 2:39 left, and Michael Pelech worked in a power-play goal for his fourth of the season on a great feed from Brent Gwidt from behind the net. Aubin picked up a multiple-point night with his second assist on the play.

Dell stopped 26 of 29 shots in the game to earn the win. Utah drew eight of the 12 power-plays in the contest.

The win came a night after Utah beat the Eagles, 2-1, in Colorado. Rookie defenseman O’Keefe earned his first career multiple-point night with two assists.

The Grizzlies return to Maverik Center on Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 6 p.m.