TOLEDO, Ohio (ABC4 Sports) – What a start to the Western Conference Finals for the Utah Grizzlies.
Charle-Edouard D’Astous scores the game winning goal 8:12 into overtime, breaking the league record for playoff goals in a single season with 18 as the Utah Grizzlies defeated the Toledo Walleye 5-4 to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.
Tyler Penner gave Utah a 1-0 lead as he redirected a Nate Clurman shot 10:23 into the first period. Toledo’s Randy Gazzola tied it up with 32 seconds left in the period. Both teams had 11 shots in the first periods.
Both teams scored 2 goals in the second period. Brandon Hawkins gave the Walleye a 2-1 lead 4:16 in. Utah’s Ben Tardif tied the game on a wraparound 10:08 in. Toledo retook the lead 15:15 in as Brett McKenzie scored with 2 seconds left on a power play. Utah retied the game as Kyle Pouncy scored on a centering pass from Dakota Raabe 16:35 in. The game was tied 3-3 after 2 periods.
Dylan Fitze gave Utah a 4-3 lead as he scored from the right circle 6:22 into the third period. McKenzie tied it up with his 2nd of the game 15:22 in. The score was tied after regulation.
Utah outshot Toledo 9 to 2 in overtime. Toledo’s Josh Dickinson got called for a hooking penalty 7:55 into OT. 17 seconds later D’Astous made history as he scored on a one-timer in the right circle to set a new league record with his 18th playoff goal. It’s his 4th game winning goal of the playoffs.
Ben Tardif had 1 goal and 1 assist as he leads the league with 28 playoff points (5 goals, 23 assists). Dylan Fitze, Tyler Penner and Dakota Raabe were each a +3 for the Grizz, who have scored 36 games in their last 8 games.
Trent Miner saved 35 of 39 to earn his 7th win of the playoffs. Toledo’s Billy Christopoulos saved 29 of 34 in the loss.
Game 2 is on Saturday night at 5:35 pm at Huntington Center. Utah returns to Maverik Center for games 3-4 on May 24 and 27 and if necessary game 5 on May 28.