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Las Vegas, Nevada -- The Utah Grizzlies (7-4) scored three third period goals to defeat the Las Vegas Wranglers (6-7) 5-3 Friday night at the Orleans Arena. Utah returns home to host Las Vegas Saturday at 7:05 p.m. to open a ten-game home stand.
Utah never trailed in the hockey game as they built a 2-0 first period lead with goals at 5:28 and 8:05; following face-off wins and perimeter shots by defensemen. Dustin Friesen's first pro goal made it 1-0 as Tom May screened goaltender Michael Ouzas. James Sixsmith then redirected home a Jake Gannon shot to make it 2-0. However, Utah struggled in the final four minutes of the first as two turnovers led to two Las Vegas goals.
The Grizzlies reclaimed the lead with the only goal of the second period as AJ Perry (3) scored his first of two power-play goals on the night to give Utah a 3-2 second intermission lead.
Las Vegas quickly tied things up in the third with a power-play goal just 1:19 into the period, before Utah took over with a pair of goals assisted by captain and the ECHL's leading scorer Ryan Kinasewich, who entered the night on a rare two-game scoring drought.
Just 36 seconds after relinquishing the lead, Dylan Hunter hacked home a lose puck to give Utah their lead back at 4-3. Then just 2:30 later at 3:25, Perry added another power-play marker for Utah and that would be the final.
Mitch O'Keefe (3-1) stopped 23 of 26 shots for his third-straight win. Vlady Nikiforov (three assists), AJ Perry (two assists), James Sixsmith (two assists) and Kinasewich all had multiple-point games for Utah.