McKay Scores Twice But Grizzlies Rally to Pass Thunder
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – The Utah Grizzlies found themselves trailing by two coming out of the first period, but scored four unanswered goals to come away with a 5-3 victory on Saturday evening. The victory moved Utah a point ahead of Wichita in the Mountain Division standings and into fourth place. Chris McKay scored twice for the Thunder and Cameron Wright had three points for Utah.
The Thunder got off on the right foot, jumping out to a 2-0 lead. The first goal came at 6:28 when Dominic Dockery netted his second goal of the year. Connor Walters had the puck at the right faceoff circle, making a cross ice pass to Dockery at the left circle. He fired a shot that beat Trent Miner to make it 1-0.
Just after the 11-minute mark, McKay scored his first goal of the night. Jason Pineo took a shot that Miner saved, but McKay pounced on it, putting in the rebound for his third goal of the season.
The two goal advantage did not last for long however, as Aaron Thow pulled the Grizzlies within one less than two minutes after the McKay tally. Jordan Martel passed the puck to Thow at the right faceoff circle, who lifted a wrist shot past the blocker of Roman Basran to make it 2-1.
McKay restored the two goal advantage when he scored on the power-play with 1:08 left in the first. Cole Larkin won the draw inside the Utah zone to Gavin Gould, who passed the puck to McKay. He hammered home a one-timer to send the Thunder to the first intermission up by two.
However, this game was dominated by Utah from then on as they scored three goals in the second to take the lead. The first came at 11:32 when Martel scored his 14th goal of the year. Tyler Penner passed the puck to Martel, who blasted a one-timer by Basran to make it 3-2.
Just 48 seconds later Thow tied the score with his second goal of the game. Keaton Jameson took a shot that was knocked down in front. The puck was loose, allowing Thow to swoop in and put the puck past Basran to tie the score at three.
With just under six minutes left in the second, Utah took the lead when Dylan Frize scored his 16th goal of the year. Wright was able to win a battle for the puck along the boards, feeding it to Fritze in front who redirected it by Basran to make it 4-3.
With just under five minutes left in the third, Wright sealed the victory with his 24th goal of the year. He took a pass from the left faceoff circle, then beat Basran with a wrist shot to make it 5-3.
The Wichita Thunder (30-31-6) head home to begin a four-game homestand starting on Wednesday when they take on the Tulsa Oilers (21-34-9). The puck drops at 10:30.
By Robert Pannier