Utah Grizzlies: Runaway Train

Hey everyone! I’m back from vacation, which was awesome, but I returned to a hectic couple of days of catching up on work and life. Apologies for the delay in getting the recap up! All my fine promises to myself at the start of this season that I was always going to get the post up the day after a game, and I’ve already broken them! Hopefully it won’t happen again.


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Travis Howe returned from his one game suspension, Gregor Hanson got called up prior to the game, and Angus Redmond made the start on Marvel Night, but otherwise, the lineup was the same as it had been the night before. Utah suited up in some pretty snazzy looking Thor-themed jerseys, while the Railers faced them dressed as Hulk.

The specialty jerseys were great. The game? Not so much.

“That’s a good team over there.” Head Coach Tim Branham said of Worchester after the game. “I thought they played the same way both games, to be honest. I remember yesterday [Friday] yelling and screaming on the bench that we needed to pick up our effort because we were being outworked, and we just happened to outscore them. Tonight, same thing. They just outworked us and beat us to every lose puck. You’ve got to give them credit. They work hard 100%. They work hard, and they have players that can make plays. It was kind of too little too late for us. I’ve been preaching that for two games now.

“We found a way yesterday, and today, when you lose one of your leading scorers it makes it that much harder. When that happens you’ve got to play tighter defensively, and work harder, and we didn’t step up. For this group, we talk about that puck possession game, and Worcester did a good job of not allowing us to play that puck possession game through their energy and work ethic. You’ve got to give them props for that, and we’ve got to learn something from that.”

Worcester made it 1-0 exactly one minute in to the game.

The two teams exchanged a chance or two, but not many of them, one of the best coming from Charley Graaskamp on a pass from Brendan Harms.

Howe harassed Yanick Turcotte for a shift, and when he failed to get a rise out of him, went after Patrick McNally, which did succeed in drawing out Turcotte. While Turcotte took down Howe, when the penalties were assessed, Worcester had an extra two for slashing.

Harms and Graaskamp teamed up again for another pretty chance on the power play, but the Railers returned to full strength with no change in score. In what was likely a makeup call for the extra slash, Brad Navin took a slashing penalty of his own at 12:55, but the Grizzlies killed that off as well.

The Railers made it 2-0 with 3:26 to go in the frame, and Mitch Jones took an interference penalty moments thereafter.

Utah had a scoring chance with less than 30 seconds, when Michael Pelech was sent into the back of the net, and the two teams played 4-on-4 for the final 25 seconds of the first.

A couple of minutes into the second, Zach Saar laid a huge hit at center ice and then tangled with Justin Hamonic, both getting double minors for roughing. Some absolutely wild hockey was the result, but the Railers got got the best of the exchange, amassing six shots to the Grizzlies’ two in the first five minutes.

Utah drew a power play as Kellen Jones went off for tripping at 9:30, but though it had its moments, the Grizzlies were unable to put a goal past Mitch Gillam.

Thanks to a couple of nice saves, a post, and a few big blocks, Utah fought off a Worcester power play. Moreover, they showed a little more hustle as the second period drew to a close, getting a chance from Peter Sivak, and a pair from Watson. Nevertheless, they went into the room with

The Railers struck again 3:24 into the third, going up 3-0.

At 10:12, Saar scored his first pro goal, making it 3-1, but the Grizzlies were never able to get anything going, and Barry Almeida scored an empty netter with 1:35 to go.

As games go, it wasn’t a great one, and after scoring three or more goals in the three proceeding games, it was a disappointment to see that dry up without Hanson.

Though Harms and Graaskamp struggled on the defensive side of things (a long with most of the rest of the team), they also showed a couple of flashes of offensive chemistry that will hopefully stand the Grizzlies in good stead going forward.

With six rookies on the team, including Redmond, and several of them playing big minutes, or on lines designed to be offensive threats,  Utah needs to be able to rely on them. Unfortunately, Saturday night was not one of the finer moments for the rookies on the squad.

“The first two goals against, that young line was -2” Branham pointed out, “Playing against two different lines. They got outworked. Those young guys that have potential gotta learn from that. They got scored on on a couple veteran lines that Worcester has. The one thing our young guys have in their favor is fresh legs, young legs, and they gotta to use them to their advantage, and tonight they didn’t, early on they didn’t.”

However, he hastened to add, “With the exception of this game I’ve thought they’ve played extremely well, that’s for sure. So there’s definitely some bright light there at the end of the tunnel. Hockey is not a perfect game, you’re bound to make mistakes, that’s for sure. We just got to bounce back. Those guys, they’ve got the ability, so it’s good to see them step up.”

The Grizzlies are going to need everyone to step up as they head out on a four game road trip against Allen (11/1), Tulsa (11/3, 11/4) and Wichita (11/5) before returning home to face Fort Wayne on Veterans Day.

 

Photos courtesy of Tim Broussard/Jess Fleming & staff

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Get to Know the Staff: Tim Branham

Over the course of the season, we’ll be posting “Get to Know” Q&As with members of the Grizzlies staff and front office.

To kick off the series, we’re starting with Head Coach and General Manager Tim Branham!


 

Namiko Hitotsubashi: How did you get into hockey?

Tim Branham: My brother played. We played in a pretty big hockey town, small town, like 1200 people, but it was a big hockey town. He came home and said “Hey, my friends want me to play hockey” so my mom and dad were like, “Ok, that’s fine.” And then I was like, “Well, I wanna play hockey too!” Cause my older brother, right? “I wanna play!” I was like four at the time, “I wanna play too!” And they were like, “Well, why don’t you watch a year.” And I guess they had put me in dance or ballet or something, I forget, and I wouldn’t get through the door. Like, I had my arms locked in the doorway, they put me in events and I wouldn’t go in, wouldn’t do it, so I was like “I wanna play hockey,” and they were like “Ok. Why don’t you wait a year, and then if you still wanna play, we’ll put you in”.

I watched for a year, and I still wanted to play, so they put me in. And so, my brother’s like two years older than me, so like he’s on the next level up, always. His team would be practicing here, and my team would be practicing down here, and like half way through practice, coach would be like, “Where’s Tim?” And I guess I would go down to the other end, and be by my brother the whole time, and we’d be practicing with his team!

So, those are just the funny stories. That’s how I got into it. Played ever since.

NH: How did you come to coaching? Was that something you were always interested in?

TB: You know what, when I was in high school, I’d help out with John LaFontaine, Pat LaFontaine’s brother, he was one of my coaches, I’d help out with his hockey schools, LaFontaine hockey schools, and then I was like this is kind of cool, why can’t I start my own camp? So my first year pro I started my own camp, that was like, I dunno, 15 years ago, whatever it is, and from there, it was kind of well, I like doing this. And then at the end of my career, I broke my hand, so I just helped out (it was in Reading), I just helped out Larry Courville behind the bench one year, we went on a long playoff run, and they just brought me back the next year, and I liked it, and just kept doing it.

NH: How did you end up being the GM as well? Is that common in the ECHL?

TB: I guess technically every coach is the GM? Except maybe in Fort Wayne? And maybe Florida? I mean, every coach–maybe I have more responsibilities than a coach? But from a hockey standpoint, every coach assigns his players. Every coach is the hockey GM. He manages the salary cap, does contracts, chooses his team, that kind of thing. I mean, I do have say in some other stuff, I guess, General Manager duties, but that kind of just came with the territory.

NH: Where was your favourite place to play as a player?

TB: Gosh. Barrie was nice, in the OHL. That was a really great town. It’s grown a lot now, a lot of people from Toronto have moved out there cause it’s just cheaper and they can take the GO Train out there, so it’s a lot bigger, a lot more people than it used to be. It used to be a really nice small town. Guelph was nice, Guelph was a good spot too. I really liked St. John, New Brunswick, that was my first year pro, that’s a neat town too.

ECHL? I always wanted to come here and coach, because I came here as a player, and thought it was really nice. So, when the job came open, I was like, “I wanna go to Utah for sure.” Because I was offered the Stockton job before the Utah job. I was offered a job in the SPHL, I was offered the assistant job in Orlando, so I’m like “Aww…I wanna go to Utah…” So I came out here and interviewed, and it was great. Worked out perfect.

NH: What was it about Utah, what is it about Utah that you love so much?

TB: The mountains, the mountains just get ya. It’s just gorgeous. The rink is amazing, I didn’t know the fans at the time, right? So it was just more like the city, and the mountains’re just gorgeous, the rink, all that kind of stuff. I knew a couple of guys that helped me with hockey camp, the Adameks, one of them was up in Park City, the other I think moved to Wisconsin, I knew they were from here, really liked it. I mean, everyone I talked to just loved it here, and then just visiting here, it was gorgeous right? And then you move here, now I like it for different reasons. The people that are here, the fans, there’s so much to do! And then you throw on top the mountains, and everything like that. The way of life is just…it’s a good spot. All those reasons. Makes it really hard to leave.

NH: Do you have a favourite spot to coach now that you’re here? Or a team that you enjoy playing against?

TB: I enjoy playing against Colorado, in Colorado. It’s a hostile environment, they’re always good, and I enjoy that. I enjoy that challenge. Idaho as well. Their crowd is not as hostile, I guess, as Colorado’s, but it’s a nice, cosy rink, really good. Our division is the toughest division by far. Every game is hard, right? It’s nice to go to Orlando, the Amway Center, everyone’s got tons of family, I’ve got tons of family down there, so that’s pretty neat going down there and playing. But yeah, probably those three.

NH: Do you have a favourite hockey related story? For you, or anything that you’ve heard or seen?

TB: For me, the favourite part is the winning part. Won a championship in major junior, played in two Memorial Cups, and then winning an ECHL championship, those are just special, special moments, right? You just want to get that feeling back, right? So those are probably my favourite. Getting drafted, obviously for me, that was pretty neat, so probably those, those memories.

NH: This is kind of a cop-out question, but is there anything you wish they would ask and don’t, or something that you’d like people to know that they don’t already?

TB: No, that’s the thing, right? A lot of times, moves are made, and people, maybe they don’t know the whole reason, so they’re like “Why! Why did we do this, why did we do that?” A lot of times, at the chalk talks I’ll tell them if I can. If it’s something that’s not done yet, or I shouldn’t say, then I don’t, but usually there’s a pretty good reason I’m doing something, but at the end of the day, I’m just doing my job. I’ve definitely learned that people are going to like you, people are going to–I don’t know about hate, but maybe dislike you for certain things, and you can’t make everybody happy, so I just go about my business, try to do my job as best I can.

So far it’s gone pretty good. I really think that I’ve done a good job here, I think I can do better. I learn every day, try to be a better coach. More importantly, we want to win, and we want to make sure we bring in good people into the community so that this community can be a part of what we have, can continue to grow that. Cause if they have, what is it, ten years in a row? Increase in attendance, and making the playoffs, that’s something to be said for everybody. Jared, the front office, me, the teams, the past coaches that have been here–I mean in the past everyone made the playoffs…

NH: One year the entire Mountain Division made the playoffs…

Yeah, I think it was, when I took over it was the first year that not everyone made it, and my first year, it was everyone but one team, Vegas, they were so bad, right?

But I think it’s… that’s a real honour to have accomplished. And to still be around, right? I mean, the longevity of a minor league pro hockey team is ten years, maybe less. So for our team to be doing what we’re doing, we’ve got good people in place, and they’re doing a good job.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Josie Vimahi/Utah Grizzlies

Utah Grizzlies: The Drought Continues

Still looking for their first win on the road in Idaho, there were a few line-up changes. Travis Howe and Sam Windle drew into the roster on Wednesday, Erik Higby moved back to forward, and Kevin Carr got the start. James Melindy and Cliff Watson wore the A’s.

The Grizzlies got off to an energetic start, though Idaho got five of the first six shots.

Utah drew also the first power play, but were unable to break their abysmal streak on the man advantage, and after Idaho returned to even strength, Jefferson Dahl scored at 12:13. Dahl got his second of the game on a Carr cross-checking penalty about a minute later, as Melindy’s clearing attempt went straight to Dahl’s stick.

The Ryans (Olsen and Misiak) and Higby had a strong shift in the offensive zone, drawing another power play, which also unfortunately came up empty.

However, after breaking the dam on Monday, Greger Hanson scored his second in two games, beating Philippe Desrosiers at 16:43, and cutting the deficit in half with assists from from Kyle Thomas and Mitch Jones. Off the ensuing face-off, Howe and Reid Halabi dropped the gloves for their third fight this year (two of which were in preseason).

The teams traded penalties thereafter, as first the Grizzlies took (and killed off) one, and Higby drew another with 19 seconds left in the first.

Utah opened the second with 1:41 on the power play, and Thomas took an awkward hit from Baldwin along the boards. Thomas went to the room, but only ended up missing one shift.

The Grizzlies drew yet another slashing penalty, but still couldn’t find that elusive first power play goal. Thomas and Baldwin skirmished twice following Baldwin’s hit, and Utah  reversed the tale of the first period, getting five of the first six shots of the frame.

Jon Puskar took a slashing penalty, but Carr made a couple of really great saves (including the one below), and the penalty kill remained sharp. Which was fortunate, because Pelech took another slashing penalty that was also killed off.

The Grizzlies once again ended the period on the power play, shots tied 22-22 with Utah out-shooting Idaho 18-8 in the second.

Unfortunately, Idaho scored 5:04 into the third as Carr just missed the poke-check on Brady Brassart, and to make matters worse, Puskar had to be helped off the ice by Howe, and Head Athletic Trainer Cole Libby after a pileup by the Steelheads’ bench. Windle, Dahl, and Mitch Moroz all went to the box after that, but once more, the power play ended with no change in score.

Utah continued to create chances, but were repeatedly unable to capitalize on a slew of power play opportunities they received throughout the remainder of the third, and dropped their fourth straight game of the season 3-1.

The bright spots remain, however, and are rather numerous, considering that the team has yet to notch a win. One such has been Cliff Watson who, as a rookie, has been a major player on the team in every game so far. Hanson’s goal-scoring has hopefully taken off, and the team seems to be coming together.

While it is frustrating that they continue to struggle to score both on the power play (they were 0/9 on Wednesday) and in general, it is encouraging to note that the offensively gifted players like Hanson, Olson, Thomas, Navin (and others) are still generating plenty of chances (and shots). They have also been phenomenally unlucky in that department.

That being said, there’s no getting around it. One way or another, the Grizzlies are going to need more goal-scoring going forward. And they might have to do it without Jon Puskar.

Utah’s next game is also in Boise, and is the first half of a home-and-home Friday and Saturday against the Steelheads.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard/Jess Fleming and other staff photographers

Utah Grizzlies: A Night of Firsts

When a team loses three games in a row to start a season, it’s easy to obsess over the negatives, to get caught up in the lack of goals, or the rebounds, or the defensive lapses. But at the end of the day, it’s three games with a team finding their feet and their identity.

In Monday’s first match-up against the Norfolk Admirals in franchise history, there were some changes to the lineup. Charley Graaskamp and Brendan Harms suited up for their pro debuts in place of Zach Saar and Peter Sivak.

Utah had some good puck possession in the early going, but Tim Daly got the first high-danger chance for Norfolk.

Then the Grizzlies ran into some penalty trouble. Norfolk scored on their second man advantage, the primary assist going to, you guessed it, Tim Daly.

Utah got a chance on the power play when Ryan Olsen got taken down in the middle of a great scoring chance. The Grizzlies’ power play was one of their better ones this season, and the puck did, in fact end up in the back of the net, but as the net was coming off its moorings, it was immediately and emphatically waived off.

Norfolk scored again with 2:21 to go, as Grant Besse was left all alone in front of Redmond.

Things didn’t get a whole lot better before the end of the period, with Angelo Miceli scoring with 28 seconds left in the frame.

The second began far better than the first ended, at least in terms of puck possession. Unfortunately it did not improve in other ways.

After some back and forth play that saw Utah even up the shot count, Norfolk took a slashing penalty, but Kyle Thomas took a high-sticking penalty, and the teams played 4-on-4 for 43 seconds, only for C.J. Eick to take a holding penalty, Norfolk scored into a wide open net with 9:04 to go.

At the buzzer, a number of players went into the boards, and a cranky crowd gathered. The upshot of that was that Thomas and Alex Pompeo got coincidental double minors for roughing, and Hanson got two for tripping.

The Grizzlies killed off the penalty, to start the third, but at 4:52 Norfolk scored yet again, making it 5-0. That very well could have been the end, but instead, Utah improved, while the Admirals faded.

One of the most frustrating things in this early season has been watching the top line get chance after chance to no avail, knowing that they’d be productive once they got that first goal…if only they could get that first goal.

Just past the 10 minute mark, Michael Pelech did just that, banging the puck past Jake Paterson to break the shutout. Hanson and Thomas got the assists, giving all three their first points of the season.

Barely two minutes later, the same line struck again, this time it was Hanson with his first of the year, making it 5-2 from Richart and Pelech.

Galvanized by two goals in such rapid succession, the Grizzlies continued to press on, and were rewarded at 15:35 when Graaskamp scored his first pro goal.

The Grizzlies continued to hustle, pulling Redmond with two minutes left, but were unable to close the gap any further.

However, despite the loss, three goals in under five minutes, two from the woefully snake bitten first line, and one from the the rookie in his debut made for a far more exciting finish than it had looked like it would be at the end of second period.

“It was pretty neat seeing my name up there on the board between Hanson and Olie [Olsen], two really good special players,” Graaskamp said when asked about his debut. “Just kind of wanted to take it a shift at a time, and play to my strengths and play my game. It just so happened that Cliff made a great play, and [I] ended up scoring a goal.”

“I think it was a tail of two halves.” Greger Hanson said of the game. “I thought we played better in the second half overall, we kind of found a little bit of a sample of what we can do better, if we keep playing like this I think we’ll be rewarded. But the first half of the game was not acceptable.”

Of his first goal of the season, he added: “It was nice. I think it started something, definitely. I’m not used to not scoring. I have a history of scoring, so when I’m not, I know I’m not doing something right. I’m not helping the team so it was nice. Hopefully it can spark the team going forward.”

Hanson’s goal and assist earned him the third star of the game, and praise from Tim Branham.

“Greger, that’s what he’s capable of right there. He was pretty determined there at the end of the game to play hard and to get the job done. He’s been good every game, to be honest. He makes things happen every single game, and even though he wasn’t getting the production, he was still making plays. He’s tough to defend.”

“Hopefully we got that out of our system.” He said, speaking of the weird bounces and defensive lapses that led to several of the goals Utah allowed. “I think maybe a couple of their goals were a result of us not scoring at the other end too. You put one in early or in between their two and three, and maybe the third one doesn’t happen kind of thing. Then obviously, when we want to work hard, we can be really good offensively. So I think we finally saw that tonight, and hopefully we just keep that momentum rolling into next game.”

That next game is tonight (Wednesday) at 7 in Idaho.

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard/Jess Fleming and other staff photographers

Utah Grizzlies: These Things Take Time

The Grizzlies iced the same lineup in the home opener as they did in Colorado, with the exception of goaltender Angus Redmond, who got the start. But while the personnel remained the same, the lines saw a little reworking. Likewise, Erik Higby started the game on defence, but ended it as a forward, and Zach Saar started the game, and played well, but was not on the bench in the later going.

Both teams tested out the ice in the offensive zones, but it was Colorado who created the first sustained possession time, and Utah twice iced the puck in the opening five minutes.

Redmond made a number of saves early on, and Saar continued his strong play, displaying both his foot-speed and puck-possession abilities on the way up the ice before being taken down.

Just past the five minute mark, C.J. Eick and Brad Navin very nearly repeated their opening goal of the night previously, as the Grizzlies pressured, getting several good scoring chances, including a net-front chance from Kyle Thomas. The crowd was also enthusiastic in their welcome home to Jon Puskar when he laid a thundering hit on an Eagles player in the offensive zone.

The Grizzlies ran into some difficulties in the following minutes, and Eick took a holding penalty with 6:59 left in the first. Utah’s businesslike penalty kill went to work, and after some good efforts by Thomas, Puskar, and others, they got away unscathed. Unfortunately, they iced the puck twice in quick succession thereafter. The sloppy play continued to the end of the period, as neither team was really able to get anything set up

Utah fought through two shots from Colorado, but were unable to keep the third chance out of the back of the net, as Drayson Bowman got the first goal of the game.

Navin took the first face-off violation of the Grizzlies season (a new rule, wherein a team receives a bench minor after two violations on the same face-off) with less than 30 seconds left in the frame, but Utah escaped to the dressing room down just the one goal.

The Grizzlies killed off the penalty comfortably to start the second, and Taylor Richart electrified the 7,362 fans in attendance by banging in a rebound past Joe Cannata to tie the game at 1:29. Thomas and Navin got the assists on Richart’s first of the season.

Greger Hanson took a tripping penalty with 13:31 to go in the second, but the penalty kill kept Colorado chasing the puck, and in the shifts that followed, the Grizzlies pressed their advantage furiously, drawing a penalty at 9:31. However, they too struggled to get anything going on the advantage, and nearly allowing a couple of dangerous short-handed attempts.

Around the seven minute mark, Collin Bowman hit Eick in the corner. Puskar took exception, and both players were sent to the box, Puskar getting an extra two. Cliff Watson and Higby got a beautiful two-on-one chance short handed, and right as the penalty expired, Gabriel Verpaelst headed to the box for crosschecking for Colorado.

Utah’s power play struggles continued, and Richart took an interference call with three minutes to go. Then James Melindy took a tripping call, and the Grizzlies headed into a tricky five-on-three situation. The aggressive Utah penalty kill fended off the five-on-three, and the period and the remaining penalty came to an end together.

The third period saw action on both sides of the ice, but the Grizzlies, by and large, had the most offensive zone time through the first five minutes. With both Richart and Rob Mann getting huge shots from the point, and Hanson again electrifying the crowd with his ability to carry the puck up the ice.

Mitch Jones was slashed, and after a brief stint six-on-five for the delayed penalty, the Grizzlies commenced a power play that again struggled to get set up solidly.

The inability ultimately cost them, as Collin Bowman scored after a lengthy Eagles shift in the offensive zone.

Through the rest of the period the game was fairly back and forth, though perhaps with a slight edge to Colorado. That is not to say that Utah didn’t get chances, however.

In the dying seconds of the third, Redmond was pulled for the extra skater, but again, despite a determined effort, there was no buzzer beater, and Utah fell 2-1.

While the game was frustrating in some regards, there were still a lot of good things. The team played better than they did on Friday, and they looked a bit more like a unit than they had previously. The penalty kill, especially, was very strong, and Redmond had a good outing.

Melindy is the classic player you hate on an opposing team, but love to have on your own. He’s big, with a nasty edge, and is not even remotely shy of throwing his weight around, but he’s also an excellent defenceman who will to be a great asset to the team.

Richart again had a good game, and it is terrific to see him back on the ice and playing such a big role with the team in his second pro year.

“Last year I was a rookie obviously,” Richart when asked about the transition from rookie to alternate captain, “So just kind of finding my role, listening to the older guys, listening to what they had to say, and learning from it. As the year went on I felt more comfortable, and comfortable, I felt like I kind of started coming into my role, and just kind of helping guys. I always pride myself on hard work, and I think that kind of just carried over into the summer, worked very hard this summer, and came into camp ready to go for the season after the injury.”

Richart is one of only three Grizzlies with a goal (and an assist) this infant season, but the team has some good pieces, and they’re bound to come together in time.

“We have a lot of fire power, haven’t really been finding the back of the net, but we’re scoring in practice, so hopefully that will translate to the games. We’re getting chances, so that’s a big thing, keeping games close, so hopefully bounces will start coming our way, and we’ll be able to win the games.”

Head Coach Tim Branham’s thoughts on the matter were similar.

“We’ve been having a hard time scoring goals this season, I’m not too worried about that, we have some good players on this team that know how to score, so I think it’s only a matter of time. I wanted to make sure that we improved defensively from yesterday to today, and I think we did. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, but I mean, they had six power plays, and that’s a good power play. They’re one of the best power plays in the league last year, and so for our penalty kill to do the job that it did, especially that five-on-three, was really good. So I thought Redmond was great, I don’t think it’s time to hit the panic button on the goal scoring, we had one by a defenceman today, and none of our forwards contributed, but it’ll come. It’ll come. A lot of new pieces up front, so it’ll take some time to get some chemistry.”

Thomas, Hanson, and Sivak clearly have a great deal of skill and have gotten quite a few chances, but have yet to net a goal, and they’re obviously not the only ones in that boat. However, no one is concerned yet, least of all Coach Branham. The NHL may have far too many pre-season games these days, but the ECHL only has two so there’s not a lot of time for guys to get used to playing together in a game setting, especially when many players don’t arrive with a team until the pre-season is almost over.

“They [Thomas and Hanson] spent the past two or three years playing with different players, and getting that chemistry with different players” said Branham, “So it’s just going to take a little bit of time. Thomas was out—Thomas played like a period of the pre-season, right, he’s played two games now, so it’ll take some time to get some chemistry. I’m not worried about that, I just want to make sure our team game is moving in an upward direction, and I think it did that today.”

The Grizzlies’ next game is on Monday at 7:05 PM, against Tim Daly, Erik Bradford, and the Norfolk Admirals.

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard/Jess Fleming and other staff photographers