The Stockton Thunder added a late empty-netter and defeated the Utah Grizzlies (20-17-4-3), 5-2, on Saturday night at Stockton Arena.
The loss is just the second for Utah in its last 11 games as it dropped to 7-2-1-1 in the span. The Grizzlies hold a five-point lead on idle Bakersfield and maintain a seven-point lead on Alaska for fourth place in the Pacific Division as the Aces fell at home to Colorado on Saturday.
The Grizzlies took a 1-0 lead 7:57 into the first period as T.J. Syner skated in for his sixth goal of year on a feed up ice from Barry Almeida. Stockton added two later to take a 2-1 first intermission lead.
Grizzlies goaltender Ryan Faragher stopped a season-high 17 shots in the second period to keep the 2-1 score going to the third.
In the third, Stockton made it 3-1 as Syner laid injured in the circle and Stockton found an open man in front.
The Grizzlies though made it 3-2 as they kept a play alive after Camden Wojtala was stopped on a breakaway and Alex Krushelnyski fed Kevin Lind for his fifth goal of the year. After the Grizzlies were unable to score on a five-minute power-play, Stockton rang a puck off a post to make it 4-2 and then scored into an empty net to make it 5-2.
The Grizzlies are next in action Wednesday in Idaho at 7 p.m.