Tonight saw the much awaited returns of Colin Martin and Cam Reid, bringing with them some changes to the lineup. With Sam Windle day-to-day with an injury per Adrian Denny, Phil Pietroniro returned to defence, and Martin replaced Travis Howe as the tenth forward.
The first period was nothing if not penalty filled. Erik Bradford took a hooking call 2:22 into the first, Mike Banwell took another at 9:09, and Pelech went to the box for roughing seventeen minutes in. Troy Redmann took a delay of game penalty soon thereafter, giving the Grizzlies a brief 5-on-3.
With that many penalties in the first, it is perhaps not surprising that the Grizzlies did spend quite a bit of time in their own zone, getting outshot 12-6 through the first period.
The second period began a lot better for the Grizzlies. They killed off the remaining 51 seconds of Redmann’s penalty, and then Reid sent the puck past Marek Langhamer to put the Grizzlies up 1-0 at 3:25 for his third of the year.
Utah got their first crack on the power play at 5:41 as Triston Grant got sent off for interference, but Ralph Cuddemi took the Grizzlies’ third hooking call of the night to negate the man advantage.
Rapid City tied the game up at 15:47 as Michael Young beat Redmann on the Rush’s 20th shot of the night.
Evan Stoflet got called for cross-checking at 16:31, but the Grizzlies killed it off, and got a power play of their own to close out the period as Grant went off for high-sticking against Nemcik. Though they established good offensive zone pressure, the period ended before they could make anything of it.
At the end of 40, Rapid City outshot Utah 23-13, and the game was tied at one a piece.
Just seconds into the third, Rapid City took a slashing penalty against Bradford, and the Grizzlies had a very short 5-on-3. The two man advantage was not long enough to set anything up, but Utah had a pretty decent looking power play.
Coming off that power play, the Grizzlies began to pick up the pace a bit, but just when things began to look like they might get rolling, Banwell got called for delay of game. The penalty kill remained perfect, but Rapid City took the 2-1 lead with 10:50 to go.
The Rush took a penalty almost immediately after the goal, but again, though the Grizzlies had some chances, they were unable to capitalize.
The teams traded penalties with less than five to go, ultimately ending with a short Grizzlies’ power play. Again, the Grizzlies established possession, but couldn’t press the man advantage.
With about a minute left to play, Branham pulled Redmann in favour of the extra skater, but Rapid City scored into the empty net with less than 30 seconds left to play.
It was not one of the Grizzlies better outings as they took quite a few penalties, and were never able to really get going. However, the game was also not uniformly awful, as Utah was a perfect 8/8 on the penalty kill, and Redmann made 33 saves.
Utah and Rapid City face off on Friday and again on Saturday to cap off the five game series between these two teams.