In their last game of 2016, the Grizzlies looked to end their year on a winning note. It very much did not happen.
The first five minutes were fairly uneventful, but at 6:05, Alexandre Carrier fired off a huge shot that bounced off the end boards and straight onto the stick of C.J. Eick. Eick put the puck into the net from the goal line to put the Grizzlies up 1-0.
Unfortunately, the wheels came off rather spectacularly after that, as Evan Stoflet took a penalty, and a bad bounce off a Grizzlies’ stick put the puck in the back of the net. Just seconds later, though Troy Redmann had covered up the puck, Allen kept banging, the puck came lose, and they scored again. The Americans scored yet again on a huge rebound to put them up with three goals in less than a minute.
Allen scored again at 12:57, and Redmann was pulled in favour of Ryan McKay after the Americans scored four goals on eight shots. At 13:57, Mike Banwell and Tanner Eberle dropped the gloves, and were both given five and an additional two each, Banwell for slashing, and Eberle for roughing.
Mere seconds later, Mike Gunn was given a five and a ten for head-butting Brad Navin off of a faceoff, and the Grizzlies essentially got a power play for the rest of the period.
Utah was unable to capitalize on the lengthy man advantage, and at 19:09, Stoflet took a tripping penalty. At the end of the period, shots were 9-7 for Allen, who also led 4-1.
The second period did not start a whole lot better for the Grizzlies, as Phil Pietroniro took an interference penalty, and Allen scored to go up 5-1.
The Grizzlies drew a penalty at 15:32, but Spencer Asuchak drew a penalty shot. McKay turned the shot aside, and Utah generated some good pressure on the power play.
Allen and Utah exchanged penalties skating 4-on-4 before a brief Utah power play, and at 10:09 a big crowd gathered around the Americans’ net, the puck bounced free, and Taylor Richart made no mistake putting it past Jamie Murray for his second of the year.
With 5:20 left to play, Mathieu Aubin scored to make it 5-3 as the Bradford-Pelech-Aubin line continued pick up points, but unfortunately, Moore got in all by himself and put the puck through McKay’s five hole. The problems continued for the Grizzlies as Jake Marchment scored to put the Americans up 7-3.
The big line for Utah was not done though, as Eric Bradford passed Michael Pelech the puck from the goal line, and Pelech scored his seventh of the year. Sadly, the Grizzlies took a penalty and Greger Hanson slingshotted the puck off a Utah player and into the back of the net.
The first few minutes were fairly uneventful until Jon Puskar and Dyson Stevenson dropped the gloves as several players tangled at centre ice, and honestly, that’s pretty much the only interesting thing that happened…until the last 49.9 seconds, as Jamie Murray went to the bench in pain, and the emergency backup Thomas Hodges had to step in for the end of the game. In the end, Utah fell 8-4, outshooting Allen 30-26.
Like 2016, thank goodness this game is over.
Utah is at home against Rapid City on the 6th and 7th of January, where they will be joined by new acquisition, Wichita Thunder defenseman Martin Nemčík.