The Utah Grizzlies (21-18-4-3) defeated the Bakersfield Condors, 6-2, on Friday night at Maverik Center before 5,094 fans.
“Obviously the boys played really well tonight,” head coach Tim Branham said. “They played a solid game. It was important to have a response to the last two losses we've had. Everyone played the right way. Everyone contributed. It was good to see.”
Utah built a 3-0 lead after one period as Michael Pelech got the scoring started 6:02 in as he hammered in a rebound on a Jacob Johnston blast on the power-play.
“We had a great start there,” Johnston said. “We were moving our feet and drew that penalty. It's important to capitalize on a power play. So it's really good we got that first one.”
Alex Krushelnyski also picked up an assist on the play.
Mathieu Aubin made it 2-0 with five minutes left in the second period as he knocked in a cross ice pass from Barry Almeida. Patrick Wellar added a helper, too. HT Lenz made it 3-0 shorthanded as Bakersfield goaltender Frans Tuohimaa came out to play the puck, and Lenz walked it into an empty net with 15 seconds left in the first.
“When we outwork the opposition there is no way to stop us,” Branham said. “The boys are really confident and obviously putting the puck in the back of the net six times helps. We got rewarded for playing the right way. When you play the right way you get scoring chances and we buried them.”
The Grizzlies went up 4-0, 3:35 into the second period as Mathieu Aubin ripped a shot from the left circle as Almeida and Pelech drew assists. The Condors made it 4-2 with two goals in 67 seconds at 8:08 and 9:15, but after a Branham timeout, Igor Bobkov stopped four straight to finish the period.
Utah made it 5-2 as Johnnie Searfoss skated in from the neutral zone and backhanded home his third of the year with 9:15 left in regulation. The scoring was capped by Pelech’s second goal of the night with one minute left.
Pelech and Aubin each with two goals and one assist and Almeida with three assists had three points apiece on their first night playing on the same line.
“It was good to see those guys have good chemistry,” said Branham on Almeida, Pelech and Aubin. “Almeida was passing the puck well tonight and obviously the other two guys were finishing. Our best players have to be our best players. When they're going, we're good.”
Lenz also had multiple points with one goal and one assist.
“We know they're chasing us for the last playoff spot,” Lenz said. “They're going to be hungry after that last game so we're going to be ready to go again tomorrow.”
Grizzlies goaltender Bobkov stopped 21-of-23 to improve to 6-4-1-0.