On Sunday afternoon, in the last of three games in three days, the Grizzlies scratched Brad Navin for Travis Howe, and started Kevin Carr in nets.
Wichita carried the play early, and Carr had to make some big saves in the first half of the period.
C.J. Eick scored the first goal of the game at 7:42, his first of the season assisted by Zach Saar and Erik Higby.
The Thunder scored glove side with just about ten minutes left to tie the game. After a stretch of good play from Utah, Wichita pushed back again, and made it 2-1 with 2:43 to go in the frame.
Mitch Jones made an absolutely gorgeous play to defuse a 3-on-1 to end the first, Wichita outshooting Utah 14-9.
The second period did not get out to an auspicious start, as Wichita came back with numbers…on the penalty kill, and scored. The next couple of minutes didn’t go very well either, though the Thunder didn’t score.
Utah killed off a penalty in the first half of the period, but Wichita drew another power play with 6:58 to go, and scored on the advantage, making it 4-1. They also got an odd man rush to end the period, and after the buzzer, Jeremy Beaudry dropped the gloves with Travis Howe. While Beaudry certainly started the fight, he most decidedly did not end it. Howe laid into him with a will, and Beaudry got very few punches in before the two were separated.
In a way, it was a preview of the Grizzlies’ third period.
Jones scored 2:04 into the frame, Ryan Walters and Ryan Olsen getting the assists on his first of the year. The momentum kept rolling in Utah’s favor, and they drew a penalty at 5:09. Both Kyle Thomas and Ryan Misiak had terrific plays on the advantage, but the Thunder returned to full strength.
However, Zach Saar made it 4-3 on a gorgeous shot, Chris Leibinger getting his second point with the Grizzlies, and Jones picking up his second of the night on the assists.
The tying goal came just over two minutes later from Michael Pelech , Thomas and Misiak getting the assists, and for the second time in two games, the Grizzlies erased a three goal deficit. Once again, they pressed hard in the final minutes, Walters getting a sweet little spin-o-rama chance on one end, and Carr continued to hold down the fort, and once again the game went into overtime.
Once again, unfortunately, Utah fell in overtime, but first period issues aside, it was a good end to a successful road trip.
Saar earned the third star of the game with the goal and the assist, the Ryans once again had a great game, and Kevin Carr remained a rock.
So, after five days, four games, 129 saves, and 13 goals, the Grizzlies are coming home with six points.
Not a bad road trip at all.
Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard, Jess Fleming and staff