The Utah Grizzlies (22-19-4-3) scored three in the third period to erase a 2-0 deficit and defeat the Idaho Steelheads, 3-2, as the two teams opened up three games in less than 72 hours Friday at CenturyLink Arena.
“It’s a character win and a character comeback. The boys battled hard and deserved the win,” Grizzlies head coach and General Manager Tim Branham said.
Grizzlies goaltender Igor Bobkov (7-5-1-0) stopped all 17 shots he saw in the third period and 31-of-33 in the game as Utah killed all four Idaho third period power-plays to rally.
“It was huge,” Patrick Wellar said. “To get three goals in the third period and come back, it shows the character of the locker room. It’s a big win. Hopefully we can build off of it. The boys really earned it.”
Ryan Hayes started Utah’s scoring 5:23 into the third period as he fought for a loose puck in the neutral zone and forced it up to create a breakaway that he backhanded in shorthanded to make it 2-1 on his 14th goal of the season.
Utah tied it 3:31 later at 8:34 of the third period as T.J. Syner left the penalty box and broke in shorthanded to tie the contest at 2-2 as he took a feed from Mathieu Aubin.
The Grizzlies took their first lead of the night with 4:20 left in regulation as Wellar went hard to the net as he trailed Aubin on a two-on-one. The goal was Wellar’s first of the season.
“It was just a great play by Mathieu Aubin,” Wellar said. “I was lucky enough to be trailing up the ice. It took kind of a funny bounce off of their d-man; just wanted to get a quick shot off and was lucky enough to put it on the ice and beat him five-hole.”
Idaho went up 2-0 as it scored on its first two power-plays of the game in the first period.