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Grizzlies Advance With 4-2 Win In Fresno

Travis Rycroft

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Fresno, California – The Utah Grizzlies defeated the Fresno Falcons 4-2 Monday night to win their best-of-seven quarterfinal playoff series four games to two. Utah jumped up 2-0 in the first period and never looked back.

The Grizzlies are proud affiliates of the New York Islanders and the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

In the first, captain Travis Rycroft fed Rob Sirianni (3) for a goal on a two-on-one at 13:23 as Utah took a 1-0 lead. It was the first time in five games that Utah had scored in the first period. Late in the first period, Utah defenseman Andrew MacDonald made a great defensive play as Fresno broke in shorthanded, took control of the puck, and then fired a slapshot as he crossed the blueline to give Utah a 2-0 lead with 1:05 left in the first period.

Fresno made the game 2-1 in the second on a four-on-four goal at 2:01 but Ryan Kinasewich countered just 20 seconds later taking the puck behind the net, then squaring up, and firing on goaltender Jake Moreland and the Grizzlies went up 3-1. Fresno made it 3-2 just past the midway point of the game.

In the third, Utah held Fresno to just six shots and went 2-2 on the penalty-kill before Keith Johnson’s empty-net goal put the game away with 40 seconds left in regulation.

Utah went 1-5 on the power-play and 7-7 on the penalty-kill against Fresno’s number-one ranked ECHL playoff power-play entering the night.

Utah goaltender Nathan Lawson stopped 20 of 22 shots to improve to 4-2 in the playoffs.

The Grizzlies won all three games played at Save Mart Center during the first round.

The Grizzlies now advance to the National Conference Semi-Finals and await the winner of the Bakersfield and Victoria series, which resumes Tuesday in Canada. The Salmon Kings currently lead that best-of-seven three games to two.



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