In the National Conference, the Utah Grizzlies took two-of-three games in Stockton over the weekend to improve to 30-28-8 for 68 points and continue a logjam for the six remaining playoff spots in the conference.
Utah opened the three-game series with a 6-2 win on Friday. Ryan Kinasewich scored a pair of goals and recently assigned goaltender Mikko Koskinen, the 31st overall selection by the New York Islanders in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, stopped 36 shots in his Grizzlies’ debut. Following a 4-3 setback on Saturday, the Grizzlies bounced back with a 5-2 win on Sunday. Tim Crowder tallied two goals while Vlady Nikiforov added a goal and two assists. Koskinen once again had a big day between the pipes with 37 saves, giving him 73 saves on 77 shots in his two appearances with Utah for a .948 save percentage.
The Grizzlies return to The E-Center for their final three home games of the regular season, hosting Bakersfield on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Utah currently holds the seventh and final playoff spot over Ontario by virtue of having one more win than the Reign; five points separate second-place Bakersfield from eighth-place Ontario.
Idaho is the only National Conference team to have secured a playoff spot. The Steelheads have also sewn up the number one seed in the conference and have earned a bye in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Idaho has a magic number of four points to clinch the Brabham Cup and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.