Utah Grizzlies: Snowed In

If last night’s team looked a bit different from the team on Wednesday, that’s because it was, to some extent. After Tim McGauley and Griffen Molino were recalled to Colorado, Mitch Maxwell and Brandon Saigeon both returned to the lineup for game two against Florida on a very snowy Friday night. Meanwhile, in net, Brad Barone got his first home start for the Grizzlies.

Both teams got a couple of shots early, but Utah drew the first power play at 6:01. 48 seconds later, Saigeon scored his first pro goal goal to give Utah the 1-0 lead.

Just moments later, Peter Tischke was taken down, and the Grizzlies got another crack at the man advantage. This time, however, Florida kept them at bay.

The testy nature of Wednesday’s game continued, as crowds continued to gather following whistles, and at 11:35, Maxwell and Hunter Garlent both took roughing calls in front of Florida’s net.

No sooner had both teams returned to full strength, however, than Garlent got in one-on-one against Barone, forcing the latter to make a great save. Saigeon also found himself in the box for interference on the play.

Utah’s penalty kill had nearly as many good looks as the Florida power play, and Saigeon returned to the ice with no change in score.

With 38 seconds to go, Yuri Terao took a hooking call, but the Utah PK kept the Everblades chasing until the buzzer sounded.

Utah started the second period with 1:22 on the PK, but killed it off easily, and Barone continued to impress the home crowd with a great save.

Terao beat Cam Johnson on a snipe of a shot with 14:20 to go in the second, but the puck struck iron. Barone also had a couple of big saves as the period approached the eight minute mark.

Unfortunately, though Barone made the initial saves, Florida tied the game with 9:17 to go. That’s when the wheels came off just a bit. Utah got a good chance on one end of the ice, and on the other Florida scored two in quick succession. The Grizzlies called their time out to slow the game down.

On the next shift, Klotz laid a huge hit, and then clipped Michael Downing solidly up high, earning himself a game misconduct. Economos and Arvin Atwal also earned matching ten minute misconducts. So with only seven minutes left, all four players headed to the locker room.

The Everblades scored less than two minutes in to make it 4-1. As the PK continued, Joe Wegwerth got in on a breakaway, but a Florida player got back in time, forcing him to spin and fire wide. However, Florida had no answer for a flying Terao, who made no mistake, beating Johnson clean and one-on-one to cut the defect in half.

After 40, Utah trailed 4-2, out-shot 20-15, but had regained their composure.

Having scored his first pro goal in the first period, Saigeon sold Johnson on the pass, and then absolutely sniped one for his second unassisted. Shortly thereafter, Taylor Richart drew an interference penalty, and just four seconds later, Michael Downing (who fortunately seemed none the worse for wear after the hit) took a penalty in front of his own net, getting a double minor for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct. Jack Jenkins also took two for roughing. Unfortunately, Utah wasn’t able to accomplish anything on the nearly two-minute advantage.

Unfortunately for the Utah comeback effort, Barone sealed the post at 8:43, but the puck still trickled just past him to make it 5-3 Florida, and then the Everblades scored again at 9:25.

After that, the Grizzlies spent a substantial amount of time in the offensive zone, taking over the shot lead once more, and drawing a penalty at 16:41.

Right as the power play came to an end, an absolute sea of bodies converged on the Everblades net, as well as possibly the puck.  The call on the ice was no goal, and the call stood after a review of the play, as it went into Johnson’s shoulder, not the back of the net.

Although they spent most of the rest of the game in the offensive zone, the Grizzlies were unable to cut the lead down, despite out-shooting the Everblades 19-5 in the third period.

Despite the 6-3 loss, Brandon Saigeon’s first and second goals of his pro career earned him the second star, while Yuri Terao’s short-handed marker, and an assist, gave him third.

“He played really well tonight,” Tim Branham said of Saigeon. “We’re trying to get him to be stronger on the puck. He’s got a good shot, which we saw tonight, and if he plays that consistent game, he’s gonna have a lot of success. Like we’ve talked with Felix, and those guys coming out of Major Junior, sometimes it’s a little bit of an adjustment and a learning curve, but they’ve definitely got the talent.”

“I thought we played a pretty good game, it’s just a couple of shifts in a row there that we took our foot off the gas, and it cost us” Saigeon said.

“It’s always nice to get the first, got to give a lot of credit to my teammates, they’re great out there. My linemates, we had some good o-zone shifts, it’s nice to get the first couple pro goals, but not it’s back to work. We’ve got a game tomorrow, so now we’ve gotta just focus on that.”

With Klotz kicked out mid game, the Grizzlies, who only had nine forwards to begin with, were forced to play even shorter once Klotz was kicked out, and Economos took a ten minute major.

“I thought we played a pretty good game all around,” said Branham. “It was never gonna be perfect. I thought our group worked really hard. We were short-benched a lot of the game. I thought we looked really good in the third, I thought we looked a little bit tired in the second, our forwards. But against a team like Florida,  you’ve got to manage the puck a little bit better than what we did. It’s never going to be a perfect game, but I actually thought we played a pretty good game. We gave up 25 shots, so I’d take that any night.”

Overall, the team has adjusted remarkably well in a short time to the amount of players that have been up and down from the American league on a game to game basis. When asked how they’ve been able to adapt so quickly, Branham gave all the accolades to his team.

“I’m going to give credit to my players on that one. We’ve got seven forwards in the American League, and our players have done an amazing job of coming in, filling roles, listening, working hard, sticking to the system. You’ve got to give credit to them through the changes, they’re the ones playing, we just tell them what to do. They’re the ones who have to go out there and execute, and I think they’re doing a great job with that, because there’s certainly been a lot of movement.”

The changeover will continue into Saturday’s game, as it has been announced that Klotz was given a suspension and a fine with a hearing to come.

 

 

Utah Grizzlies: A Game to Be Thankful For

On the day before a snowy Thanksgiving, with yet another Florida team in town, the Grizzlies got reinforcements from Colorado in the form of Tim McGauley. With Hunter Miska back with the Eagles, Mason McDonald got the start, backed up by Brad Barone.

From their very first shift, Griffen Molino and Tim McGauley made things happen. Taking that into consideration, it was perhaps not surprising that a strong defensive zone shift about four minutes into the game led to an up-ice charge, and Molino’s fifth of the year.

That line continued to be dangerous, creating another chance on a rebound from Sasha Larocque several minutes later.

With 11:59 to go in the first, Utah drew a power play, and Eric Williams continued his scoring ways with a snipe just ten seconds into the advantage.

Unfortunately, less than ten seconds after that, Michael Huntebrinker shot the puck straight through a crowd to put the Everblades within one on their second shot of the game.

The cantankerousness between Utah and teams from Florida continued, and about 12 minutes in, Garrett Klotz dropped the gloves with Kyle Neuber behind Florida’s net. It was a lengthy bout, and shortly thereafter, Utah drew yet another power play.

The Grizzlies didn’t capitalize on the advantage, and at 15:39, they were unable to break up the perfect tick-tack-toe goal. While McDonald probably would have wanted that one back, he turned right around and made a huge, if somewhat unorthodox save one-on-one against an Everblades player on the next shift. Unfortunately, Patrick McGrath took a cross-checking call immediately thereafter. Though Florida briefly took the shot lead, they were unable to capitalize on the advantage, and the period ended 2-2, shots 9-9.

Utah got an early power play when at 1:35, John McCarron got Taylor Richart with an elbow to the face. Though the Grizzlies were able to pick up a couple of shots, they were unable to beat Ken Appleby.

Utah had a couple of good shifts, following the man advantage, but Florida got two skaters behind the Utah defense, and a clean shot beat McDonald to make it 3-2.

Molino continued to get great chances that, for one reason or another, just managed to stay out of the net, both on the breakaway, and in close quarters at the goal mouth, and the home crowd showed their appreciation for both McGauley and Yuri Terao, roaring in anticipation any time either of them led the up-ice rush in possession of the puck.

With 1:12 to go in the second, Feliz Lauzon went bar down from the edge of the blue paint, tying up the game once more. Richart got the assist, and after 40, Utah out-shot Florida 22-18.

Utah jumped into the defensive zone early, and with Mike Economos battling behind the net with an Everblades player, Garrett Klotz snuck around the net, and slipped the puck between Appleby and the post to make it 4-3 just 22 seconds in. Lauzon got his third point of the game, and Economos got the second assist.

Florida counterattacked, and drew a power play at 3:36, but the Utah penalty killers were well up to the task.

However, while they were up for the PK, they were unable to fend off a nearly identical Florida goal scored on yet another cross-crease pass.

The Everblades continued to control the play, getting the lion’s share of offensive zone time through the third period, and tying the shots up.

With under 1:30 to go, Florida rang iron, then Kyle Neuber high-sticked Yuri Terao, which drew a crowd. Teigan Zahn dropped the gloves with Neuber, and then Jack Nevins fought him immediately after. Zahn and Neuber both got two and five, for unsportsmanlike conduct and high-sticking respectively, and Nevins got five and a game for continuing the altercation. The kerfuffle led to a five minute Utah power play, 3:37 of which carried over to OT.

The Grizzlies didn’t need that long. Just 22 seconds into the extra frame, Joe Wegwerth put the puck past Appleby for the game winner.

Wegwerth’s game winner earned him first star honors. “I thought we had a really good start,” he said. “That’s been one of our objectives lately to come out of the gates quick every period. Obviously we had some lulls there in the first and second period, but I thought we battled through it. We’re gonna have some adversity. Not every game is going to be perfect, but we found a way, and when you start to put a streak together, that’s what you have to do, you have to find a way, and that’s what I thought we did.”

Having found success even without their top scorers, the answer to how they’ve got there is simplicity.

“I think we had a lot of success when we kept it simple, chipped pucks by people, I think when we try to skate pucks out of our own end or do too much, that’s when we get in trouble, so I think just simplifying our game, having everyone commit to chipping the pucks out, being hard on the forecheck, finishing checks, I think that’s what really gave us success tonight.”

“Obviously with the way things have been going down here, with guys getting called up, we needed different guys to step up.” Wegwerth continued. “Obviously [Williams] has been doing that right now, and ever since [Klotz] has been here he’s been performing, and being a leader and a big presence for us. It’s great to have guys like that, and obviously [Zahn], he’s a great captain, just a great guy. We’re lucky he’s on our team, he makes guys feel safe out there, that’s for sure.”

While there were moments that left something to be desired, overall Tim Branham was pleased with his team’s effort. “I thought we did a good job to get that good start, and then we kind of got complacent” said Branham. “We didn’t have the same hate on as we did for Orlando. I thought we really let our guard down and didn’t dictate the pace, didn’t dictate play. That first period they didn’t get a shot until eight minutes into the period. Second period, same thing though, and then the flood gates kind of opened. We’ve got to make sure that we’re able to control the game a little bit better. Our game plan was obviously play hard, play physical, but play that puck possession game because they have so many dangerous weapons over there that can score. So we want to make sure that we play that puck possession game. And I thought we did to start the first two periods. You know what, at the end of the day, our power play was great, our penalty kill was great, we were able to get the two points. It was a character win, we learned a lesson — you can’t let your guard down, you’ve got to make sure you play hard. Especially the team we have now. We have a blue collar, hard working team, and we saw that when we play that way against a good team like Orlando with great goaltending, we’re able to have success. We didn’t quite play that full 60 minutes tonight, but we still found a way to get the two points, and good teams do that.”

With two unfamiliar, and talented teams in town recently, every player on the team has stepped up. “Depth scoring, whether it’s from the back end or the forwards, we’re doing a really good job with that. I thought our D carried the play last weekend, tonight our forwards chipped in and scored some goals for us. It’s a fun group to coach. They want to do well, they have each other’s backs, and we’re finding ways to have success. That’s what it’s all about.”

It hasn’t just been the goaltending either. After Terao got taken down and Zahn stood up for him, the team made sure to get the win done on the power play he earned. “We wanted to make sure we had [Zahn’s] back there with the power play, and getting the game winner. When he does stuff like that it gets everyone going, and we want to make sure we repay him for doing that. It’s a tough job, [Klotz], it’s a tough job, but they’re used to doing it, they wouldn’t want it any other way, they’d do it all over again to get another win. This one feels good. That’s a good team over there, that’s a really good team, and we found a way to get two points. We’ve got to enjoy it, enjoy tomorrow with our families and our friends, and regroup again for Friday.”

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard

 

 

 

 

 

Utah Grizzlies: Fast and Furious

Back at home again, but still down Travis Barron, Cole Cassels, Josh Dickinson, Ryan Wagner,  Ty Lewis, and now Tim McGauley, the Grizzlies’ roster looked pretty different from the last time the home crowd saw them. In were Garrett Klotz, Jack Jenkins, and Jake Jackson, while Joe Wegwerth, Mason McDonald, and Hunter Miska all returned to the lineup. Teigan Zahn drew in as the tenth forward, and Misika, hot off a highly successful AHL stint, got the start.

Both teams came out flying, Utah looking especially quick and heavy hitting, creating all kinds of mayhem (but also having to defend against it as well). Into the first four minutes, Utah had decidedly the greater zone time, but had only put up two shots to Orlando’s one.

Yuri Terao especially had some fire in his step, while Garrett Klotz made sure everyone was wide awake with a big hit in the opening minutes. The Grizzlies drew the first power play of the night with Cody Donaghey heading to the box for slashing. Taylor Richart got a couple of big shots from both points, and then Eric Williams beat Clint Windsor with a backhand shot to give Utah the 1-0 lead.

On the next shift, Peter Tischke took a cross-checking call, and the Utah PK got to work half-way through the first, and killed it off. The play that followed wasn’t the cleanest Utah’s shown this season, but it got the job done.

At 7:15, Teigan Zahn and Jake Coughler dropped the gloves at the offensive zone blue line, Zahn got the take-down, and both were sent to cool their heels in the box.

Neither goalie saw much work through the first period, but Miska was where he needed to be when he needed to be, especially as Orlando began to pressure in earnest at the end of the first. The Solar Bears’ hard work paid off, as they took over the shot lead, and with 2:22 to go in the first, made it 1-1.

Utah had a little bit of push-back at the end, and at the buzzer, Mike Economos took the butt end of a stick to the gut, causing a crowd to gather.

After 20, Orlando out-shot the Grizzlies 8-5, but the score remained 1-1.

Griffen Molino had two prime looks to start the second, and Utah headed to the power play, thanks to a delay of game penalty from Chris LeBlanc.

The Grizzlies pressed hard on the advantage, and took the shot lead again before the power play came to an end.

Patrick McGrath took a roughing call about five into the second, but Miska and the penalty killers got the job done once again. J.C. Brassard had a stand out moment of his own shortly thereafter, managing to stall at the blue line long enough for his teammates to tag up while retaining possession of the puck.

The Grizzlies got another power play just past the half-way mark of the second. However, they only really got a couple of looks from the center of the ice before Orlando returned to full strength.

Leblanc found himself back in the box for the third time in the period after slashing Zahn’s stick out of his hands, but though Utah set Richart up perfectly several times, and moved the puck well, the best PK in the league held them at bay.

Orlando got a chance on the power play towards the end of the period when McGrath took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Miska once again showed the moves that earned him a shut out in the AHL, and the Grizzlies killed off the penalty.

The second period came to an end in the midst of a lengthy rugby scrum, shots 20-20, and the score still 1-1.

The third period got off to a choppy start, and both teams fought through the neutral zone for possession. Peter Tischke and Tayler Thompson got matching roughing calls, and Miska remained stellar.

As the period progressed, both teams found themselves in their respective offensive zones for prolonged periods of time. Utah took a delay of game penalty at 8:03, but were able to kill it off fairly smoothly.

As the game entered the final ten minutes of regulation, Miska continued to coolly hold down the fort, and another delay of game penalty sent Utah back to the man advantage.

Once again, the Grizzlies created some nice chances, and made some really nice plays, but were unable to finish on the man advantage.

As the final seconds raced by, Molino whistled the puck at the net, and only just missed giving Utah the regulation win. Utah earned the point, and headed into OT.

Terao got two grade A looks in the first 30 seconds, but was thwarted first by the bar, and second by Windsor.

Fortunately for the Grizzlies, their defense keeps stepping up to fill the scoring void, and Brassard ended OT with his second of the year.

Hunter Miska was easily the best player on the ice for most of the game, but Brassard’s OT GWG earned him first star while Miska took second star, and Williams was named third. Terao and Molino were on fire the entire night, and while they didn’t capitalize, their play led to some really terrific scoring chances.

“Stellar goal-tending, same with theirs, their goal-tending was stellar as well, really proud of the way that our group played” said head coach Tim Branham in his post game comments. “A lot of the things that we worked on in practice this week we implemented. We played a full 60 minutes. I couldn’t be more proud of them. And then the way that they played, the way that they battled, they played a full 63 minutes, whatever it was, can’t say much more other than how proud I am of the way they played.”

Things have been challenging lately, but though they’ve struggled, the Grizzlies haven’t backed down. “We’ve got six forwards in the American league right now, on one team or another. Kudos to these guys who have stepped in and filled those rolls. We knew that we’re not gonna score ten goals a game, or seven goals a game. It is what it is. Our challenge is to play well defensively, and I thought we did a pretty good job of that tonight. Special teams was good again, and it’s a work in progress. Right now this group wants it. They want it really bad, and they’re doing a great job.”

“We know that our record isn’t exactly what we want at this moment,” JC Brassard said of the team’s season so far, “But we’ve been working really hard in practice, doing all the right things, working hard in games, we just didn’t get bounces until tonight, and I think everyone is happy it paid off, and all the hard work is coming together.”

It was obvious that Miska’s return from the AHL helped as well. “When you have a goalie in net who you can trust, and you know is gonna clean up your mistakes, it makes playing a whole lot easier” Brassard added. “You play more relaxed, and you’re a lot more focused on the game as opposed to someone else’s job, so it helped a lot to have him here, and we’re really glad he’s back down.”

Despite having so much movement in the roster, the team seems to have gelled really well. “We’re all working together, we were all clicking today” Brassard said. “We got in a practice together with all the new guys. The coaches have been doing a really good job, and they get everyone informed before the game, and get everyone on the same page.”

The Grizzlies hope to bring the same mindset and execution to tonight’s rematch.

Goals

  • First Period: Williams (Lauzon, Wegwerth) (PP)
  • Second Period: None
  • Third Period: None
  • OT: Brassard (Jenkins)

PP: 1/5
PK: 4/4

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff

Utah Grizzlies: A Work In Progress

After a strong road game, the Grizzlies iced the same winning lineup, with the exception Mason McDonald starting to give Jeff Smith the rest in the second of three games in as many days.

Yuri Terao got the first shot of the night, but Idaho sent the puck pin-balling around the crease. The goal light went off, but it looked like it might have gone off the iron and out. The uncertainty led to the first video review at the Maverik Center. Unfortunately, it was ruled a good goal, putting Idaho up 1-0 at 2:05.

Less than a minute later, however, Colton Saucerman took a tripping call to send Utah to the power play. The Grizzlies were unable to muster as much as a shot on the advantage. To be fair, both teams were stingy on shots, allowing five between them in the first eight minutes.

Idaho largely kept the puck in the Grizzlies’ zone, or if Utah got in to attack, managed to get a stick in the way of any opportunities. Fortunately for Utah, however, Idaho put the puck over the glass, sending the boys to the power play. It wasn’t going so well when Taylor Richart laid a thunderous hit on and Idaho player. Immediately thereafter, he took an elbow to the face, and Michael Economos took violent exception. He took down Saucerman, and while both got five for the fight, Saucerman got five for elbowing Richart, and a game misconduct.

Utah made them pay immediately, Griffen Molino scoring his fourth of the year from Travis Barron and Ryan Wagner.

Tim McGauley took a penalty to negate most of the rest of the five minute major, but both teams returned to full strength with no change in score.

At the end of 20, shots were 8-6 for the home team in an entertaining 1-1 game.

Utah spent the first four minutes in their own zone, and unsurprisingly, it led to a penalty. Kevin Davis went to the box for high-sticking. Surprisingly (or perhaps not, considering how they’ve played on the PK, the Grizzlies were more aggressive and coordinated on the disadvantage, and killed it off with only one shot allowed.

Although the Grizzlies did not pick up a shot through the first half of the period, they started to control play much ore than they had up until that point, McGauley, Davis, and Terao all creating nice opportunities.

After multiple close calls, the Grizzlies’ drive picked up a power play. Utah kept working hard, and a wicked shot from Richart led to a wild scramble in the goal-mouth. In the mean time, the puck went out to the stick of J.C. Brassard, who had lots of time to beat a beleaguered Tomas Sholl for his first with Utah. Barron and Richart got the assists.

The Grizzlies continued to press, leading to some great looks, including a wrap-around beauty by Ryan Wagner followed up by a shot that was especially memorable. Terao and Brassard also had a two-on-one that Sholl stopped dead.

On the other end of the ice. McDonald made some big saves of his own, perhaps none bigger than those with 30 and then 13 seconds to go in the period. After 40, the Grizzlies trailed in shots 18-14, but led 2-1 where it mattered.

Coming into the third, the Grizzlies faced the challenge of one of the best (if not THE best) come-back teams in the league. Idaho ran the Utah zone for the first couple of minutes, and it payed off. Zack Andrusiak scored with minimal fuss at 5:05.

It appeared to be just the swift kick Utah needed though, as they picked up the pace significantly following the goal. Overall though, the Steelheads managed to keep the play largely (though not exclusively) in the Utah zone.

Economos took a delayed tripping call with just under six to go, and McDonald made a huge series of saves. Once again, the Grizzlies’ kill got the job done.

As time ticked down, and the Steelheads with an offensive zone draw, McDonald made another terrific save, and sprinting the other way, McGauley, Terao, and Molino came close. However, regulation wasn’t enough to break the deadlock.

Unfortunately, Andrusiak got his second of the game, giving Idaho the 3-2 OT win.

At the end of the day, the Grizzlies played well, but made a couple of crucial mistakes that Idaho jumped on.

Andrusiak’s two goals, including the game winner earned him first star honors, while Barron (two assists), and Molino (one goal) took second and third. Wagner didn’t pick up a point, but  continued to impress, as did Terao who continues to always be exactly where he needs to be, and now joins McGauley and Wagner in the point-per-game club.

Idaho best PK team in the league, Utah had two against them. Unfortunately, Idaho is also a brilliant comeback team, and Utah gave them the opportunity to do so.

“Obviously protecting our third period leads haven’t been good.” Tim Branham said after the game. “We didn’t do it yesterday, but we were able to score, and then today again, going into the third with the lead, the first five minutes wasn’t good enough. We generated scoring chances, didn’t generate shots.”

So what do they have to do to remedy that?

“We’ve got to keep things more simple. We talk all the time about managing the puck, and we just have too many turnovers. Too many turnovers in key areas. It’s unacceptable. We’re working on that, just getting it through guys’ heads to keep things simple. And once again, everything that they got, we gave them. We had the puck on our stick, we turned it over, two of the four goals last game were like that too. We gotta make sure we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot so we can give ourselves a chance. But at the end of the day, that’s a good team over there, it’s a good battle each and every night, it could go either way. Tonight they got a couple of chances in overtime, and it went their way.”

Not all is grim, however, as special teams continue to be a strength. The Grizzlies capitalized twice on the advantage against a strong PK team, but even the penalty kill created momentum — in at least once instance, even more momentum than five-on-five.

“Just like last year, our special teams have been really good all year. Idaho scored two goals on us last game, but a four-on-three, that’s a tough one, then there was another quick strike, not characteristic of our team. Back to work again, the penalty kill was great, our power play got us two, our special teams are always great. Our five-on-five play has got to improve. Like you said, the intensity, we start every period slow. They scored again on the first shot. They scored in the first five minutes last game, even though we were taking it to them. But still, we’ve got to make sure that when we’re playing we’re getting results, and keeping things simple. Hockey is a simple game. When you start to over-complicate it and try things new and out of your skill set, or whatever, bad things happen. You’ve got to play the percentages and good things come your way.”

Despite the loss, McDonald had perhaps his strongest game since preseason, making a couple of especially key saves especially at the end of the second and third periods. It was a marked improvement, but there’s still room for more.

“He played well. He gave us a chance to win” Branham said. “I’m all over our goalies to say it’s not good enough, be the reason we win. I’m still waiting for that, but he had a really strong game after that first shot went in. A great bounce-back game for him, and it’s gonna be good for his confidence. We have good goaltenders, and they need to get better each and every night so that they can grow as well. They need to be the reason we win, not just give us a chance.”

We had a chance to speak to third star Griffen Molino afterwards as well, and his thoughts were similar.

“Obviously they got that one quick one,” He said of the opening Idaho goal, “But I thought we answered back, and then it was pretty even for most of the game. But having that lead going into the third was big, and those are points that you just can’t find a way to lose.”

It was a common theme, but he definitely sees promise in the team.

“It’s a young group of guys, a lot of first year players, and managing the game, especially with a 72 game season, is obviously critical. We’ve seen it a handful of times already, so I think moving forward it’s just the little things, taking care of the puck, getting things out of your own end and into theirs, especially late in the game when you’re holding the lead, it’s pretty important.”

“We’ve got a close group. I think a lot of these guys are working hard to make a name for themselves, and in the early going it’s been tough for our team, but I think that we’re coming together game by game, and getting better and better. Trying to keep things simple, and as far as the power play goes, I think it’s just who you’re playing with, and getting the reps in in practice, and in the game feeling comfortable with guys and building a rapport. As far as that goes, tonight we got a couple of good cracks at them, traffic in front of the net, and so it worked out.”

When asked about his line with McGauley and Terao, which showed flashes of future promise, as well as some immediate results, he thinks it is, again, just a matter of time.

“With Cassels and [Dickinson] being called up, it’s kind of a new line formation, but one that seems to be working kind of early on. But like you guys know, the more you play with someone, or with a group of guys, it’s easier and you figure out tendencies and stuff like that as you said, it felt like we were one or two seconds away, or a pass here or there away from really clicking. I think it’s gonna come.”

The two teams will meet for their third game in as many days, and their second in less than 24 hours on Sunday afternoon.

Goals

  • First Period: Molino (Terao, Barron) (PP)
  • Second Period: Brassard (Barron, Richart) (PP)
  • Third Period: None
  • OT: None

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

Utah Grizzlies: The Kelly Klima Show

The Grizzlies continued the second stage of their road trip in Rapid City on Friday night. Mason McDonald got the start, while Josh Anderson joined the team from Colorado. Colin Jacobs and Patrick McGrath both played in place of Tim McGauley and Yuri Terao, and Mason McDonald got the start.

This weekend, I’ll be returning to the far less formal “Top Six Minutes” style recap that made a few appearances last season, so be prepared.

First Period

  • Really good penalty kill for the Grizzlies after Travis Barron headed to the box for high-sticking.
  • Felix Lauzon heads to the box, but takes Kelly Kilma with him. REALLY excellent kill from Utah.
  • The Rush strike first on the breakaway. BOOO.
  • It’s a Grizzlies shooting gallery out there! Definitely the response you want to see after a goal against.
  • That was a fantastic scoring chance from the Captain.
  • Taylor Richart and Josh Dickinson both threw themselves in front of shots that shift. Looked painful, but neither of them missed so much as a shift.
  • There’s that lightning fast glove-hand of Mason McDonald’s there.
  • Ryan Wagner’s hands are marvelous.
  • Eric Williams draws a short-handed power play in the offensive zone!
  • Not a great power play.
  • Those were some really nice plays that didn’t lead to anything, sadly.

Second Period

  • Early power play for the Grizz there.
  • Oooh, Erik Källgren wasn’t 100% sure he had that shot from Richart.
  • Some speedy skating from Griffen Molino draws another power play!
  • What. A. Save. McDonald stones Montminy on a breakaway out of the box.
  • And a couple other big saves from them.
  • COLIN JACOBS TIES THE GAME. Nice move too. Wagner and Brandon Saigeon with the assists.

  • Power play again for the Grizzlies.
  • Oh, that SNIIIIIIIIIPE. Dickinson with his EIGHTH of the season on the advantage.
  • Never heard of a six minute penalty before. But McGrath is headed to the box for that. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Two for slashing, four for high sticking, well that’s new, but makes sense.
  • And RC scores.
  • McGrath and Saulnier with a furious fight there with 3:44 to go.
  • Ohhhh that was almost a glorious Griffen goal.
  • Power play for the boys! So many power plays this game.
  • Oh man, it didn’t lead to a goal, but that whole Richart, Dickinson, Barron sequence was lovely.

Third Period

  • A Rush player ends up in the net, but not the puck.
  • What. A. SAVE.

  • Thaaat one not so much. Klima with the hat trick.
  • HOW did that Cassels shot not go in???
  • Nice stick from Barron there.
  • Another one from Klima. McDonald was wearing a couple of players on that one, unfortunately initiated by a Grizzlies player.
  • Molino’s kind of fast in case you somehow managed to miss that memo.
  • I’m not gonna argue very hard with something not being called against the Grizzlies, but how was that not a trip on Utah.
  • Josh Dickinson out there making scoring look absolutely effortless. 4-3 with just over two to go.

  • Late power play for Utah!!!
  • Six-on-four with an empty Grizzlies net.
  • No dice.
  • Utah falls 4-3, but it sure was an entertaining game.

After witnessing Josh Dickinson blaze his way through teams the past few games, the Grizzlies did get a bit of a taste of their own medicine. Klima scored all four of the Rush’s goals, and was named first star.

As was predicted ahead of time, power plays did indeed play a large part, both teams getting two. Rapid City does look to be a far better team than they have been in years past. As a result, although there were certainly some frustrating moments, and plenty of things to clean up, it was overall an entertaining game.

Utah looks to settle the score tomorrow night.

Goals

  • First Period: None
  • Second Period: Jacobs (Wagner, Saigeon) (PP), Dickinson (Richart, Cassels (PP)
  • Third Period: Dickinson (Wagner, Molino)

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.