Utah Grizzlies: A Wild One

Utah hit the road for the first time this regular season, facing off against familiar foes in the Idaho Steelheads. There were a few changes to the roster, as Gage Ausmus did not dress, and Joey Raats drew in for the first time this year, as did Josh Anderson.

The Grizzlies elected to go with nine forwards, with Raats lining up as the tenth forward or extra defenseman when necessary.

Utah got off to a quick start following the face-off, and kept the pedal down through the first five minutes, getting nine of the first ten shots, and Idaho not getting their first shot till pretty much the six minute mark.

The hard work paid off, and couldn’t have happened to a better guy as Brendan Harms picked up his first of the year from Matt Berry to put the Grizz up 1-0 at 7:44.

Spencer Naas beat out Joe Cannata a few minutes later as the puck popped up into the air, and Naas batted it into the net before Utah’s defense was able to locate it.

Utah’s lethal power play struck about thirty seconds into a too many men minor, Josh Winquist scoring his third goal in three games from Cole Ully.

Ully took a penalty at 14:47, but Connor Chatham took a blatant holding call about thirty seconds in, though it ultimately came to nothing. At the end of the first shots were 17-6 for Utah, who maintained their 2-1 lead.

The Grizzlies came flying out of the gate, drawing a holding call 18 seconds in, but the power play struggled, allowing two really good looks. Cannata was sharp though, and remained so through the first half of the period when Idaho got three of the period’s four shots.

Turner Ottenbreit and Eric Sweetman got into it at 11:18, Ottenbreit more or less tackling Sweetman to the ice, and no sooner had play recommenced than Utah got a power play. Ully once again made a terrific play, setting up Ryan Walters for his second of the year at 12:12. Teigan Zahn took a penalty on the shift after that, but Utah killed it off, Walters looking threatening two-on-one.

The two teams battled hard through the remainder of the period, but other than a huge Cannata save on a Chatham breakaway, and a drawn power play by Austin Carroll, the period came to an end without much ado.

The Grizzlies opened with 45 seconds of power play time, but the wheels fell off the bus, and Idaho drew within one short-handed after a lackadaisical defensive effort, then gave up another to tie it up less than two minutes in.

After the disastrous opening 1:16, Utah settled down, and Ully made it 4-1 with assists from Caleb Herbert and Winquist.

The game, now practically even in shots and goals, saw neither team able to sustain offensive zone time.

With four to go, Walters took an unfortunate delay of game penalty, and six seconds later, the Steelheads made it 4-4.

It looked like had Utah scored themselves out of trouble once again as Herbert added a goal to his two assists. However, with 1:35 to go, Idaho pulled Ryan Faragher, and Brad McClure scored with 43 seconds to go. The Grizzlies protested mightily, feeling that Chatham had interfered with Cannata, but though the refs gathered to discuss it, the goal stood.

Winquist, Carroll, and Taylor Richart began OT for Utah, and and ended it as well, as Carroll lost the puck to Joe Pendenza for the game winning goal.

The Good

Cole Ully has been terrific in all three games so far, but he was especially noticeable all game, picking up a goal and two big assists.

The power play just keeps clicking with two goals, with Herbert (4G, 4A), Winquist (3G, 3A), and Ully (1G, 4A) leading the way. Walters, also on the first power play unit, has two goals and three assists in the first three games as well. Utah’s potent offense was almost enough to score themselves out of trouble.

Utah was absolutely dominant in the first period, and has now picked up five of a possible six standings points in the first three games.

The Bad

After the first, Idaho took over, out-shooting Utah 24-9 in the last two periods. The Grizzlies were nearly able to hold on, but some sloppy defensive play ended up costing them.

The Ugly

Without doubt, the 1:16 to start the third was appalling.

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard.

Utah Grizzlies: Never a Dull Moment

Sometime in the third period, Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)” boomed out over the Maverik Center ice. It was appropriate. This game had it all: fights (there were five), power play goals, short handed goals, even strength goals, saves, and general bad blood. Something about familiarity breeding contempt, and all that.

“I think we loved how we played both games,”Kevin Davis said when asked about the team’s play. “It was great how everyone stuck up for each other too, shows what kind of character we have in that room.”

After a successful home opener, the goal was to keep the momentum going, and boy did they ever.

The game didn’t get off to the most successful start, as Austin Carroll took a tripping call a mere 13 seconds in. Fortunately for the Grizzlies, Rapid City took a high-sticking penalty of their own just 40 seconds later, and that was just the beginning of what seemed like an endless parade of players to the box.

Utah got a lengthy 6-on-5 on a delayed penalty after Carroll took yet another high-stick. The fans were treated to a beautiful moment of déjà vu when Davis and Caleb Herbert set up Josh Winquist for his second opening goal in two nights.

Ryan Misiak drew another penalty at 7:28, and the game got a bit chippy after that. Teigan Zahn and Andrew Radjenovic got into it at center ice, followed on the next shift by a scuffle around Joe Cannata that rapidly turned into a full fledged fight between Ryan Walters and Josh Elmes.

Both Zahn and Radjenovic returned to the ice with no change in score, and the Grizzlies caused some mayhem in the offensive zone with about five to go in the period.

The mayhem continued as, with six seconds left in the first, Zahn and Shaquille Merasty dropped the gloves. Zahn got the best of the fight, and the period ended with another crowd.

Winquist got a couple of looks on the first shift of the second, and though he missed, Davis did not, scoring his first of the season just 42 seconds into the frame.

Unfortunately, after that the Grizzlies ran into penalty trouble as first Gage Ausmus and then Herbert got sent to the box one right after the other. However, the Utah kept them cycling the puck, and Ausmus returned to the ice. Rapid City capitalized on the tail end of Herbert’s penalty, but the Grizzlies immediately went back to the advantage.

Cole Ully boarded Chris Leibinger at 12:22, sending the Utah to the kill. Leibinger looked a little shaken up, but returned to the ice part way through the advantage, which the Grizzlies killed off with style.

In the final minutes of the period, Taylor Richart, Willem Nong-Lambert, Turner Ottinger, and a whole crowd of Rush players tangled, and both Richart and Nong-Lambert went to the box. With just about 40 seconds left, Davis put a shot on net, and Matt Berry tipped it home to make it 4-1.

The rough stuff continued in the third with Merasty once again dropping the gloves, this time with Ausmus at center ice. Both got five, and Merasty got the extra two for instigation.

Scarcely had the game settled down after that than things got crazy all over again. Brendan Harms was plastered to the boards, Davis took exception, and he and Cedric Montminy both got sent off for the fourth fight of the game, Davis completing the Gordie Howe hat trick. Mason McCarty also went off for high-sticking.

Unfortunately, the Rush scored short-handed to cut the lead in half at 8:02. In the immortal words of Bob Cole, everything was happening.

And the Grizzlies were by no means done. When Rapid City took two consecutive penalties, the Grizzlies capitalized both five-on-three, and five-on-four, with goals from Herbert and Berry at 10:06 and 10:51 respectively. Richart and Ully picked up the assists on Herbert’s tally, while Misiak and Austin Carroll got the helpers on Berry’s.

In case anyone was in danger of getting bored in the few minutes of slightly less frantic action that followed, Carroll, who had once again been noticeable all game, dropped the gloves with Blake Heinrich at 14:02 in the fifth and final fight of the night.

Ully rang iron at shortly thereafter, and no sooner had the Rush returned to full strength than they went right back to the sin bin for slashing. Utah took one final penalty in the last two minutes of the game, and then it was all over.

The teams combined for a whopping 90 minutes of penalties, five of which went to Davis who, according to hockeyfights.com, has only ever fought twice before in his career. “Man, I’ve never had one.” Davis said of the Gordie Howe hat trick that earned him first star honors, “I don’t know, it kind of just happened. It was funny!”

Josh Winquist came in for his share of the accolades, after opening scoring once again, and picking up another assist for his fourth point in two games, while Matt Berry was awarded third star with two goals and five shots.

“It’s the start that we wanted to get off to,” Tim Branham said of the team’s winning effort this weekend, “We know we’ve got a good team, still missing a few pieces, but we’ve got a great team. We wanted to be firing on all cylinders here, and I thought offensively we were really good. I thought today we cleaned up a few things defensively, they had a couple of breaks there, they scored a power play and they scored a short-handed goal, it is what it is. I thought our power play is clicking again, and it’s pretty clear we’ve got a lot of fire power, so we just have to make sure we bring that work ethic each and every day, and this weekend we did.”

He was also quick to praise the exceptional work Joe Cannata, who didn’t get a star in the game, but who was a rock for the team, once again making 26 of 28 saves, including some big ones at crucial moments.

“Can’t tell [you] how good of a job Cannata has done. He made some big stops, stopped that breakaway early, he’s just so calm back there, and no one’s panicking on the bench when he’s in net. We’ve known for a long time what kind of goaltender he is. Every press conference I’ve had after every game I’ve said he doesn’t belong in this league, but it’s nice to have him on our team now. He did an amazing job for us, allowed us to get going there.”

With a highly successful opening weekend under their belts, the Grizzlies look ahead to next weekend where they will play the Idaho Steelheads on Friday and Saturday in Boise.

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff

 

Utah Grizzlies: A Winning Note

It was a good night, a good game, a good crowd, and the rousing chorus of Happy Birthday addressed to first star and birthday boy Caleb Herbert was just icing on the cake.

“I thought it was nice to get out on the right foot there, especially here at home in front of the fans. They brought the energy tonight, and it definitely helped us. Congratulations to Coach on his all-time winning record there, that was awesome to get that out of the way for him” Herbert said after the game.

Utah picked up a 4-2 win against Rapid City on opening night, on the strength of two goals and an assist from Herbert, and a terrific 26 save showing from the newly arrived Joe Cannata, and it was a momentous one. Not only was it a good start to a new year and affiliation, but the win also gave Head Coach Tim Branham his 179th, and the franchise record for wins by a head coach.

“Obviously I owe a lot to the players, to my staff, to the organization for sticking with me and giving me the opportunity, so it’s nice.” Branham said after the game. “I’m glad we got to get it out of the way, and we can just focus on moving forward and getting as many wins as we can.”

Utah began strong, before Rapid City found their legs. Cannata made a few saves early, and then Josh Winquist found himself all alone in the offensive zone, and put Utah up 1-0 just 2:57 into the game. The whole line got in on the action as Caleb Herbert and Cole Ully drew the assists.

Austin Carroll made his presence felt early and often, but unfortunately a flubbed clearing attempt by Brendan Harms led to an uncontested look by Adam Marsh, who tied it up at 9:12. Moments later, yet another Rush player was once again left alone in front of the net, but Cannata was there to make the save.

R.T. Rice made an emphatic debut shortly thereafter, laying a couple of monster hits before the Grizzlies drew their first power play. The advantage struck just 33 seconds in. Herbert got his first goal of the night, Winquist picked up his second point, and Walters got the secondary.

At 18:39 Taylor Richart took a stick to the face, and Utah made Rapid City pay again, as Herbert got goal number two from defenseman Kevin Davis, and Walters about forty seconds into the power play.

The teams hit the rooms after an exciting period, advantage Utah 3-1, shots 10-9 in their favor.

Rapid City got a couple of offensive zone shifts to start the second, but both teams picked up a shot with no change in score. The Winquist, Herbert, Ully line continued to look dangerous every time they hit the ice, nearly combining for one a couple of minutes in.

Through the middle of the second, the Grizzlies and Rush traded penalties, but despite some big hits and a couple of scoring chances, neither team capitalized.

Rapid City nearly drew within one, pouncing on a turnover, and leaving Richart and Cannata to fend off a three-on-one. Fortunately, Cannata was more than up for the challenge.

Utah took two more penalties towards the end of the period as things got chippy, but after forty they maintained their 3-1 lead.

Ully continued to have a strong game in the third, along with Winquist and Herbert, and Winquist and Gage Ausmus nearly pulled off a two-on-one while killing off a Matt Berry penalty.

Teigan Zahn and Riley Weselowski were called for roughing at 13:05, but there was no change until Matt Pufahl took a hooking call with less than two minutes to go. The Rush called their time out and pulled their goalie, and at 19:24, Tim McGauley scored on the empty net.

With less than 20 seconds left in the game, Rapid City made it 4-2 on a scramble, but that was as close as they came.

Herbert, Cannata, and Walters were named the three stars of the game, but guys like Ully and Ottenbreit also impressed.

“That line is pretty exciting with Herbert and Ully and Winquist,” Branham said of the top line who put up a combined six points, “It’s an exciting line for the fans, that’s for sure. They like to get after it, push the pace, and get creative, so we saw how good those guys are, we just gotta make sure that those other lines are following suit and working hard to get their chances.”

Of the first star specifically, Branham added, “He’s a good player, he’s good in the face-off circle, he’s very talented, and he wants to do well, and when you’ve got guys like that that want to prove themselves and produce at this level so they can get to the next level it’s fun to coach. Good teammate right there, and he’s definitely got a good surrounding cast around him.”

“It definitely helps, just building that camaraderie, and confidence in the locker room, it definitely helps to get off to with a nice win at home,” Herbert said, but the overall message was clear. “We need to keep it going, it’s just one game, we need to string a few together and keep our foot on the gas.”

As Branham noted, there are still things to work on, but it was a promising start to the new season.

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff

Monday Munchies: Taylor Richart

During the 2017-18 season, we chatted with a handful of Grizzlies, including Ryan Walters, Travis Howe, Taylor Richart, and coaches Tim Branham and Ryan Kinasewich about their favourite foods, recipes, and more. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing one every Monday, so get out your pots and pans, and enjoy!

What’s your favourite kind of food?
My favourite kind of food is probably pasta, which is good cause I eat it every pre-game meal. In the summer I don’t eat it a lot just because I’m not skating as much, and it’s carbs, obviously, so I have to cut it back in the summer, but definitely some type of pasta dish.

What’s your favourite recipe, and who makes it best?
I’d have to say my favourite recipe is a lasagne recipe, and my mom makes it best. Usually my dad does the cooking, but my mom makes the best lasagna.

Do you like to cook?
Yes, I enjoy cooking. Usually I cook almost every meal at home, rarely will I go out to dinner. Usually me and Brad are always whipping something up in the kitchen. Yeah, I enjoy it. I’m pretty healthy, so I like knowing what’s going into my food.

What do you like best about the recipe you provided?
I think just knowing that it’s home cooked, and that my mom puts time and effort into it, and then you get to see the result. I think it makes her happy that we think that she has the best lasagna, so just knowing that it’s home cooked and she enjoys it as well.

Who on the team, or among your roommates would you say is the best cook?
Me and Brad are up there, but I’d have to say Howie, Chef Howie. He’s a good cook. He’s been doing cooking for a while. I think that was one of his jobs as well, so he can whip up some good meals.

Who do you think is the worst cook?
The worst? I’d probably have to say…I don’t really know, but I’d have to say Sam Windle, probably cause he’s always cooking fish sticks and little hamburger helper meals like that. So I’d have to throw him under the bus!

Creamy Lasagne

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 14.5-ounce can tomatoes, cut up
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 8-ounce package Philadelphia brand cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 8 ounces lasagne noodles, cooked, drained
  • 2 6-ounce packages 100% Natural Kraft Low Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese Slices
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese

Brown meat in large skillet: drain. Add onions, cook until tender. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, water, garlic and seasonings. Cover: simmer 30 minutes.

Combine cream cheese and milk in saucepan: stir over low heat until smooth.

In 13×9-inch baking pan, layer half of noodles, meat mixture, cream cheese mixture, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese: repeat layers. Bake at 350, 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving

Makes 6-8 servings

If you try this recipe, or any of the others, take a picture and share it with us on social media (Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram)!

Previous posts:
Ryan Walters
Rob Mann
Mitch Jones
Sam Windle
Charley Graaskamp
Brad Navin

Monday Munchies: Brad Navin

During the 2017-18 season, we chatted with a handful of Grizzlies, including Ryan Walters, Travis Howe, Taylor Richart, and coaches Tim Branham and Ryan Kinasewich about their favourite foods, recipes, and more. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing one every Monday, so get out your pots and pans, and enjoy!

What’s your favourite kind of food?
Anything meat related, chicken, steak, something like that.

Do you have a favourite cuisine in general?
Oh gosh. I would probably say…American, I guess? I mean, we eat a lot of Italian food just on road trips and pasta for games, so kind of get overloaded with that.

What’s your favourite recipe?
I’m a big food on the grill kind of guy, so when we go home, especially in the summer, when I’m at home with my parents, chicken on the grill, any type of veggie on the side is good.

Do you like to cook, and are you good at cooking?
Taylor and I just talked about that, I’ve kept all my receipts from the grocery store throughout the year, so it’d be interesting to see how much we actually spent at the grocery store. We generally cook all three meals so we probably eat out less than one time a week.

What do you like best about the recipe you provided?
I think just the simplicity of it. It’s something you can throw in the oven, it’s easy, it’s a bake, so it’s something I look forward to on Saturday morning when I’m back home and my mom throws it together.

Who on the team is the best cook?
On the team from what I’ve heard it’s Howie, but I’ve never got to try it out. Roommates, I think Taylor and I are pretty much the same. C.J. was our roommate for a little bit, obviously, and he was on this vegan diet so we kind of threw him by the wayside, stopped cooking with him.

Who on the team is the worst cook?
Probably I’d throw Joel under the bus. He cooks a lot of the same stuff–throws food in the crock pot, shreds it up, and calls it good. A lot of Mexican food for Joel.

Blueberry French Toast

If you try this recipe, or any of the others, take a picture and share it with us on social media (Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram)!

Previous posts:
Ryan Walters
Rob Mann
Mitch Jones
Sam Windle
Charley Graaskamp