The Colorado Eagles defeated the Utah Grizzlies, 5-4, in overtime Wednesday night at Budweiser Events Center.
“At the end of the day we got a point here in Colorado,” said head coach and General Manger Tim Branham. “It’s a tough building to play in and we’ll regroup here and come back at it on Friday.”
After trailing 3-1 more than halfway into the game, the Grizzlies were 2:20 away from ending Colorado’s league-high 12-game winning streak before the Eagles tied and then won 55 seconds into overtime.
“In overtime, anything can happen,” said Branham. “Both teams are going to get chances and at the end of the day, they got one that went in.”
Utah took a 1-0 lead 3:58 into the first period as the Grizzlies came up ice in transition, and Erik Higby roofed his 10th of the year from Austen Brassard and Zac Larraza on a play started by Cam Reid.
Colorado tied the game 48 seconds later and took a 2-1 lead 61 seconds after that to cap three goals in 1:47 and take a 2-1 lead. Colorado then made it 3-1 just after the halfway point of the second period.
Utah killed a penalty late in the first and one that carried into the second to keep the deficit 3-1 against the league’s best power play.
The Grizzlies outshot Colorado, 15-5, in the second period as Ralph Cuddemi picked up a puck at the Utah blueline and walked in unassisted for his 23rd of the year. The Grizzlies tied the game as the clock ran down in the second period as Cuddemi fed Erik Bradford (13) with no time remaining for a shorthanded goal.
“I thought our second period was really solid,” said Branham. “We made really good decisions with the puck, we supported it all over and that’s why we had the puck for the majority of that period.”
The Grizzlies took a 4-3 lead with 9:13 left in regulation as Cuddemi (24) hammered in a rebound on a four-on-three power play with Bradford and newcomer Marc-Andre Levesque, in his Grizzlies debut, recording assists.
The Grizzlies and Eagles meet again Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. Both games can be heard on ESPN 700/mobile app and seen on ECHL TV.
The Grizzlies return home Wednesday, March 1; Friday, March 3; and Saturday, March 4, to host Alaska at 7 p.m. each night.