By Linda Hamilton
Deseret Morning News
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Before things get started on Monday at 8 p.m. MDT in the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas in the ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs National Conference Finals, the Utah Grizzlies can do nothing but admit the conference regular-season-champion Wranglers “have had their way” with Utah this season. Those are coach Jason Christie’s words, and they are true.
The Grizzlies won their first game against Las Vegas and haven’t won in the 10 games since, going 1-7-1-2 for the 2007-08 year with the Wranglers. Six of them were one-goal games.
But the Grizzlies, 8-3 in the first two rounds of the ECHL Kelly Cup playoffs, just like the Wranglers — who had a 47-13-5-7 season for 106 points to Utah’s 32-30-2-8 record worth 74 points — are full of confidence going into this series.
In most of the games they played against Las Vegas they were short-handed, said veteran defenseman Ian Forbes. Now their injured are back, as are those who played in AHL Bridgeport, and they feel whole.
“Playoff hockey is a whole new season. No one expected us to beat Fresno and Victoria,” said Forbes of the first two series Utah won against teams seeded much higher than the Grizzlies.