WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – For the first time in 14 years, and for just the second time ever, the Utah Grizzlies are moving on to the ECHL Western Conference Finals.
The Grizzlies exploded for four goals in the third period, en route to a series-clinching 5-1 victory over the Rapid City Rush Monday night at the Maverik Center.
Charle-Edouard D’Astous scored twice, tying an ECHL playoff record with 17 goals in the 2022 postseason.
Trent Miner saved 32 of 33 to lead the Utah Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2008.
The Grizzlies will face the Toledo Walleye in a seven-game series beginning Friday night in Toledo. The Walleye had the best record in the ECHL with 102 points in the regular season.
D’Astous scored 5:07 into the contest with a power play goal to give Utah a 1-0 lead. It was his 10th playoffs power play goal which sets a new league record. Utah led 1-0 after 1 period, outshooting RC 15 to 8.
In the second period Brett Gravelle tied the game 19:38 in on a power play goal. The Rush went 1 for 5 on the power play and Utah was 1 for 2.
The Grizz scored 4 unanswered goals in the 3rd period to clinch the series win. D’Astous scored his second of the game and 17th of the postseason 3:25 in. Luke Martin added some insurance with a shorthanded goal 5:13 in. Dakota Raabe added to the lead 12:20 in. Kyle Betts added a shorthanded empty net goal with 2:18 left in regulation. Utah scored 2 shorthanded goals in the third period. They lead the playoffs with 5 shorthanded goals.
Miner is now 6-3 in the playoffs after stopping all but 1 in the win. Rapid City’s Lukas Parik saved 27 of 31 in the loss. Ben Tardif had 2 assists to give him a league leading 22 assists through 2 rounds of the playoffs.
Western Conference Finals
Game 1 Utah @ Toledo Fri. May 20 7:35pm EST
Game 2 Utah @ Toledo Sat. May 21 7:35pm EST
Game 3 Toledo @ Utah Tue. May 20 7:10pm MST
Game 4 Toledo @ Utah Fri. May 27 7:10pm MST
Game 5 Toledo @ Utah Sat. May 28 7:10pm MST (if necessary)
Game 6 Utah @ Toledo Mon. May 30 7:35pm EST (if necessary)
Game 7 Utah @ Toledo Tue. May 31 7:35pm EST (if necessary)