Grizzlies vs Mariners: Adrift at Sea

Although Jake Marchment once again sat this one out after being banged up over the course of the Allen road trip, the Grizzlies got some big help back in the form of Cole Ully, who returned to the lineup for the first time since December. With Ully’s return to the roster, the Grizzlies had to let Joseph Mizzi go. Joe Cannata got the start in the first ever meeting between the Mariners and Utah, while Joey Raats and Teigan Zahn both dressed as forwards.

First Period

  • Ah Caleb Herbert and Cole Ully are back on a line together, and all is right with the world.
  • And Ully doesn’t waste any time, drawing a power play on his first shift.
  • AND THEN SCORING ON THE POWER PLAY.
  • Utah doing a pretty good job clogging up the neutral zone and making life complicated for the Mariners.
  • …That third line shift was definitely Raats, Zahn, and Mitch Maxwell. Oh my.
  • It’s so impressive that Ully hasn’t been in the lineup since December, yet doesn’t seem to have lost any speed or chemistry.
  • Back to the advantage with half a period to go.
  • Oof crossbar for Maine on the power play.
  • Josh Dickinson and Eric Freschi didn’t miss by much on that short-handed chance.
  • Maine getting some chances here as the period passes the fifteen minute mark.
  • Heads up play by a Utah defender (Ausmus, I think?) to play the puck into a sea of Mariners players by their bench. Too many men for Maine, and Utah heads to their third power play.

Second Period

  • Ully’s return seems to have given Herbert an extra zing to his step.
  • Zahn appears to be playing the PK as a defenseman here.
  • Biiiig block by Dickinson there on the PK.
  • Well. It only took one period to develop some dislike.
  • That was a pretty soft check to start that big of a ruckus. Utah’s entire defense core is in the box. (Ok that’s an exaggeration, but Raats, Josh Anderson, and Zahn are all in the box at the same time.)
  • Well. This is a big kill.
  • Dickinson pins the puck in the offensive zone for at least ten seconds of the PK here.
  • That was a very good kill.
  • That was a beautiful cycling shift from the Ully-Herbert-Freschi line.
  • Will Smith is dressed, but if he’s played tonight, he certainly has not played much, if at all.
  • Things have definitely gotten scrambly in the last couple of minutes…not a good sign…
  • Well. Dickinson is not amused.
  • The Grizzlies bench is starting to look very empty…
  • Oh man. There’s the Ully we’ve all missed–making beautiful moves with no space at all.
  • Maxwell draws a power play at the very last second.
  • Too many penalties, too much playing defense in that one.

Third Period

  • Opening minute power plays never ever end well.
  • Cole Ully finds space to skate where there simply isn’t any sometimes. Such fun to watch.
  • Well. That was not good. Nolan De Jong coughs up the puck at the blue line, and it’s 2-1 Maine short-handed.
  • Ok, now would be a really, really good time to get another power play goal…
  • Remember when the Grizzlies weren’t crazily short of forwards? Those were fun days.
  • WElp.
  • Good shift in response to that goal though.
  • The Grizzlies seem to have tried so hard to stay out of the box that they lost all the passion that got them in trouble in the second, and now just look completely flat.
  • I suppose playing with a short roster for such a long time would help contribute to that a fair bit.
  • 4-1 Maine. That wasn’t great.

The Grizzlies played a good first period, took too many penalties and didn’t capitalize on enough power play opportunities in the second, then did a good job of staying out the box in the third, only to allow too many goals instead.

It was a frustrating affair, possibly attributable, at least in some part, to the fatigue of the few remaining big guns playing far more minutes than usual, for weeks and weeks on end, and going short-handed on defense to try to bolster up the even more short-handed forward corps.

At the end of the day though, there’s not a lot you can do about the banged up roster except wait for guys to get healthy, and in the meantime hope that the patched together lineup is able to keep it together–which they definitely did after the first waive of injuries, but have struggled to do since Henke also joined the ranks of the injured. Losing Marchment and Downing after that certainly didn’t help either, since both of those guys can eat up minutes.

On the surprising bright side, despite having lost six straight, the Grizzlies remain tied for second place in the Mountain Division, and the first place Idaho Steelheads remain within very easy reach. Plus, Cole Ully is back, and as he showed, he’s still got it all.

His goal earned him third star of the game, and somehow in all of that, neither Turner Ottenbreit nor Gage Ausmus were on for a single goal against. Ottenbreit and Ryan Walters led the team with four shots.

So once again, Utah needs to regroup and get hopefully get healthier (and also hopefully not lose anyone else to injury) before they play Maine again this weekend.

 

Photo courtesy of Rob Church.

 


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