Utah Grizzlies: Third Period Woes

The Grizzlies are finally on their way home after a rough road trip, earning only two points out of a possible eight.

After facing a relatively light night in Wichita, Ryan Faragher made the start again in Tulsa. Shane Walsh was out of this game, and with Brandon McNally, Zac Larazza and Austen Brassard up in San Diego, the Grizzlies were forced to play short-handed yet again.

The first period was fairly quiet, Utah taking and killing off a too many men penalty 5:06 into the game. Given the goal and penalty filled first periods the Grizzlies have had lately, this was probably their best (if most uneventful) opening 20 minutes in a while.

Just under half way through the period, Shawn Bates was sent to the box for slashing, and the Grizzlies went to the power play. Though they had some nice chances, they were unable to convert.

The second period was also fairly uneventful, the Grizzlies getting a chance on the power play which looked much better, but was unable to capitalise. Through the first two periods, the game was definitely a goaltending duel between the leagues winning-est goalies (Jamie Phillips 9-0, and Faragher 5-3).

Unfortunately, after a strong 40, the Grizzlies’ third period issues came back to haunt them again. With just 1:50 gone in the first, Garrett Ladd scored, slipping a rebound around Faragher, with former fan favourite Danick Paquette picking up the primary assist. Up until this point, the Grizzlies had looked pretty good, playing solid, though perhaps not terribly exciting hockey, and generally looking none the worse for wear. But after the goal, they looked a little flat-footed, and though they did eventually generate some push-back, it wasn’t enough to get them back into the game.

Just over four minutes later, Paquette himself walked in past Keaton Thompson, and beat out Faragher for an unfortunately pretty goal, putting Tulsa up 2-0.

Mike Banwell took a penalty at 9:33, but the Grizzlies killed it off with relative ease.  With about 1:30 left in the period, the Grizzlies pulled Faragher for the extra attacker, and Kale Kessey scored into the empty net.

The final score was 3-0, and shots were 33-30 for Tulsa, who remains perfect at home. Despite the loss, this was possibly one of the Grizzlies’ better road games until their breakdowns in the third period. They were quick to jump on Oilers’ turnovers, had two strong penalty kills, and were much cleaner on the power play. They were simply unable to sustain that effort through the end of the game.

However, despite falling to 6-4 on the year, the Grizzlies return to Utah atop the Mountain Division, where they hope to remain as they host the Allen Americans and the Adirondack Thunder over the next two weeks.

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