First Round Playoff Preview: Grizzlies, Steelheads Open Wednesday
Game 1: Wednesday, April 15: Utah at Idaho, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Friday, April 17: Idaho at Utah, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Saturday, April 18: Idaho at Utah, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Friday, April 24: Utah at Idaho, 7 p.m.
**Game 5: Saturday, April 25: Utah at Idaho, 7 p.m.
**Game 6: Monday, April 27: Idaho at Utah, 7 p.m.
**Game 7: Wednesday, April 29: Utah at Idaho, 7 p.m.
** If Necessary
The Grizzlies and Idaho Steelheads meet in the playoffs for the second time all-time and for the first time since the second round in 2010 in a series claimed by Idaho.
Two Longest Active Playoff Streaks
The Grizzlies, who have made the playoffs in eight-straight seasons, take on Idaho, who has made the playoffs in a league best 12 consecutive years. Utah is tied with South Carolina for the second longest streak in the league.
Leading Scorer Returns
Michael Pelech, who had 25 goals and 34 assists for 69 points in 56 games, returns to the Grizzlies for the playoffs after being called-up to the Buffalo Sabres AHL affiliate in Rochester on March 5.
The Season Series
Utah went 6-6-1-0 against Idaho during the regular season and had more wins than any other ECHL team against the Steelheads for the second-straight season. Seven of the 13 games this year were tied in the third period, nine of 13 games were within a goal in the third period.
The team who scored first won five-straight games to finish the season series after the team that didn't score first won six of the first eight games this year.
The Grizzlies went 5-1 in their last six games to clinch their ninth playoff berth in the last ten seasons and finish the season at 37-27-5-4; improving to 75-51-17 the last two seasons under Head Coach/General Manager Tim Branham. Utah's winning percentage of .569 is their second best winning percentage since 1999-2000.
Late Trades Pay Dividends
Head Coach/General Manager Tim Branham pulled the trigger on two trades past the halfway point of the season and saw both Ryan Hayes and Brenden Walker score goals at big times in big wins.
Utah finished 14-1-1-1 when Hayes scored a goal and he finished the season with 21 goals and 12 assists for 33 points in 35 games with Utah.
Utah finished 5-0 when Brenden Walker scored a goal and he finished with 10 goals and five assists for 15 points in 13 games after being acquired from Gwinnett on March 9.
On January 11, Branham acquired defenseman Corey Fienhage from Bakersfield. He finished third on the team over the final 37 games with a plus-13.
On November 13, Branham acquired defenseman Jacob Johnston from Greenville. He finished 12th among ECHL defensemen in scoring with 10 goals and 30 assists for 40 points in 69 games. He led Grizzlies defensemen and was second in the ECHL among defensemen with 183 shots.
The Grizzlies finished with 17 shorthanded goals, which was the second most in the ECHL the last eight seasons.
The Winner Plays...
The winner of this series will play the winner of the Colorado/Ontario series that opens Thursday in California.
Grizzlies goaltenders Igor Bobkov (18-12-2) and Eric Levine (3-1) combined to go 21-13-2 down the stretch for Utah. Bobkov had a save percentage of .918 during the season, Levine finished with a .922 save percentage.
12 players on the Grizzlies playoff roster bring professional postseason experience to the series combining for 416 total games. Patrick Wellar leads the team with 123 playoff games having won 3 Kelly Cup Championships and 1 Calder Cup in the AHL. Mathieu Aubin has won 2 Kelly Cups and 1 Calder Cup and played in 82 career playoff games. T.J. Syner and Barry Almeida both won a Kelly Cup with Tim Branham in Reading in 2013. Channing Boe (2012) and Ryan Hayes (2013) have both appeared in the Kelly Cup Finals.
Barry Almeida, 38 professional playoff games
Mathieu Aubin, 82
Channing Boe, 36
Corey Fienhage, 18
Brent Gwidt, 6
Ryan Hayes, 32
Ray Macias, 15
Danick Paquette, 5
Matt Pelech, 13
Michael Pelech, 22
T.J. Syner, 26
Patrick Wellar, 123.
Weekly Radio Shows
Captain Channing Boe appears on "Monty In The Morning" every Tuesday at 9 a.m. on 1320 KFAN/.com and the 1320 KFAN app.
Head Coach Tim Branham appears on "Monty In The Morning" every Friday at 9 a.m.
Where To Eat?
Shula's 347 Grill at Embassy Suites is inviting Grizzlies fans to take their ticket stubs in before or after games to buy one burger and get one burger half off and they also have unveiled some tasty new appetizers. Shula's is located inside Embassy Suites on 3500 South across from Valley Fair Mall.
All Grizzlies broadcasts can be heard on 1320 KFAN with Adrian Denny in his 10th season as the "Voice of the Grizzlies." Denny is once again joined for all Grizzlies home games by 1320 KFAN Program Director and host of "Monty in the Morning" Tim Montemayor. Grizzlies broadcasts can be seen on PPV at ECHL.TV and also heard on 1320KFAN.com and iHeart Radio by searching "1320 KFAN." The Grizzlies broadcasted seven games on KMYU this regular season as KUTV's Talkin' Sports Adam Mikulich once again joined the coverage on 2.2, 12 on satellite and 22 on cable. All first round games will be broadcasted on radio only.
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