Utah Grizzlies: Close, but no Cigar

Another night, another start against Rapid City. The lineup remained the same, and the Grizzlies got off to a much better start than on Wednesday night, controlling play through much of the first half of the period.

However, Rapid City scored first off a bad turnover at 8:40 to go up 1-0.

With 2:57 left in the period, Troy Redmann went down after several spectacular saves on the penalty kill. Fortunately for Utah, Redmann appeared to be alright, and the Grizzlies drew a power play as Mathieu Aubin got highsticked at 17:45.

The Grizzlies had some really good chances on the power play, but Marek Langhamer shut the door.

After 20, the Grizzlies had — for long stretches of the period, dominated in possession and zone time, and led in shots 13-9. Nevertheless, Rapid City still held the edge where it mattered.

Utah controlled the puck through the opening few minutes of the play in the second, pouncing on several Rush turnovers.

At 5:30, the third line crashed the Rapid City net, and Colin Martin beat Langhamer with assists to Puskar and Richart.

And then the game became a bit of a goat rodeo.

Rapid City got a power play at 7:11, and though Redmann made some huge saves, and Tim Daly went down blocking a shot, the Rush scored to make it 2-1. The Grizzlies got a power play of their own very shortly thereafter, but it was Mark Cooper who scored short handed.

With 8:26 left to play, Phil Pietroniro and Nicholas Miglio dropped the gloves, and Ralph Cuddemi scored a few minutes later to make it 3-2

Rapid City thought they scored after a wild sequence, further into the period, but it turned out that the puck had hit the crossbar, and the Grizzlies cleared the crease. Then a Rush player got back all alone on the breakaway, and Redmann absolutely robbed him, allowing the Grizzlies to escape the period down just 3-2.

The two teams exchanged penalties in the first ten minutes of the third, but both sides had trouble making passes, and it felt like not a whole lot happened, despite both teams trading chances. Things continued in this state for nearly all of the third period.

But because it’s the Grizzlies, that wasn’t the end of the story.


With less than a minute left to play, Cuddemi made it 4-3, and with 15 seconds left, he capped off the hat trick with his fifteenth of the year to send the game to over time.

Unfortunately, Rapid City scored to win the game 59 seconds into the extra frame. It was not the Grizzlies’ finest game, by any stretch of the imagination, what with the defensive struggles and passing issues. However, Utah never gave up, and did collect a very important point.

The five game series concludes tomorrow night in Rapid City before the Grizzlies return home for an extended home-stand.

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