It's only the second game after the big trade, but Ice Dog Coach John Van Boxmeer is starting to get tired of the question: How is the loss of Hubie McDonough affecting the team?
After losing for the second time in as many nights without McDonough, this time 4-2 to Utah in front of an announced 3,035 at the Sports Arena on Sunday, the answer was obvious.
"What's the point of discussing it?" Van Boxmeer said. "It's over. The guy is not here anymore. Now's the time that the guys fighting to get in the lineup need to step up."
As it was, the Ice Dogs (7-4-2) stepped back into third place behind Utah (8-2-1) and Las Vegas (7-3-3), which are tied for first in the IHL's Southwest Division.
Van Boxmeer expected the loss of McDonough, who he said could control a game like Sunday's, to cause problems, but said he was looking for better execution by his players.
"I was satisfied for the most part, but there were a couple of guys I was disappointed in," he said.
Utah seemed generally quicker and converted two of its six power play opportunities. The Ice Dogs were zero for six on power plays.
Dwayne Norris scored his seventh goal of the season for the Ice Dogs, who also got a goal from Matt Block.
Utah, which got goals from Robert Dome, Andrei Vasiliev, Danton Cole and Chris Marinucci, has won all three of its games against the Ice Dogs this season.