With Jake Marchment and Grayson Downing still out, the Grizzlies remained short-handed for game two against the Maine Mariners, while Joe Cannata once again got the start.
- Couple of pretty good shifts to start us off tonight. Teigan Zahn appears to be back on defense, and Will Smith has already had his first shift of the game after playing little/no time on Wednesday.
- Zahn takes the first penalty of the game, but it’s killed off, and now we’re on the advantage. Unfortunately, Maine’s PK is looking as effective as the Grizzlies’.
- Turner Ottenbreit and Taylor Richart (I think?) both just had amazing plays to keep the puck onside and in play.
- Eric Freschi had absolutely NO space to make that play, and yet he still found a way to go backhand, forehand, clear. Nice.
- Going pretty back and fort as the period progresses to the final five.
- Now Josh Anderson is headed off to the box with 3:39 to go.
- Zahn to the box for crosschecking with 28 seconds to go in Anderson’s penalty and 2:06 to go in the period.
- Gage Ausmus with a great move to kill time carrying the puck up the ice, then racing back to get back and cut off a passing lane. It led to an Ottenbreit clear.
- THAT’S THE CANNATA WE REMEMBER. The puck slips past Joe, but he leaps backwards and freezes it! There’s absolute chaos around the net now.
- 0-0 after 20, shots 15-13 for Utah.
- The period begins with 1:02 of power play time.
- Oh. Oh no. It almost seemed like Zahn was so worried about screening Cannata that he didn’t do anything on that one-on-one…
- Well, Ully says trailing is dumb and scores on the very next shift!!
- Fox is the beneficiary a heart-breaking deflection and it’s 2-1. Boo.
- Walters goes FLYING into the offensive zone…and then flying into the goalie. You can imagine how well that went over. Which is to say badly.
- Walters gets two and is pitched from the game. A HUGE penalty kill coming up here…
- Josh Dickinson with a gorgeous takeaway, but his stick breaks on the shot.
- Caleb Herbert and Michael McNicholas get matching slashing calls, so now we’re four-on-three for two minutes.
- Well, they pretty much killed it off, but not all the way. 3-1 Maine.
- Now Utah’s got a 49 second five-on-three.
- Nolan De Jong rings iron as one of Maine’s players exits the box.
- Richart with a couple of cannons, but De Jong’s remains the best look on the advantage.
- Oh geez. Not Economos.
- Soooo Zahn gets two at the buzzer.
- They’re playing better than last night, but this is starting to look awfully familiar…
- Herbert and Ully go flying in shorthanded, but Herbert takes a penalty to get there.
- POWER PLAY GOAL CALEB HERBERT. (Are you surprised that Ully got the assist?)
- Oh geez. A one-on-none, that’s gonna end badly. WAIT IT DIDN’T!
- Depending on whether or not you consider Herbert getting two penalties on the play going badly or not…
- Dickinson beats out a puck into the offensive zone, and draws a penalty! The remainder of Herbert’s penalty is now a four-on-four situation.
- Economos with a big shot at the end there.
- Richart gets held up in the offensive zone with no call, and when he complains, he’s sent to the box.
- OH SWEET REVENGE. Josh Dickinson with a flawless short-handed goal to tie it up.
- Someone wearing four (Herbert? Economos? Ottenbereit?) had a crazy scoring chance that no one can believe didn’t go in.
- So of course Anderson gets a penalty, and Richy blocks a shot that looks like it hurt.
- He’s back to play on the power play though, so he’s at least mostly ok.
- Dickinson scoring short-handed goals, blocking shots, and just generally doing it all.
- Might just be my imagination, but it feels like Ausmus has played a lot more as the game has progressed.
- TO OT WE GO.
- Good stick from Ottenbreit.
- Another good stick from Ottenbreit.
- Herbert and Ully have had a couple of glorious near misses.
- Oh Josh. That hurts. Dickinson, that is, not Anderson. I realize I probably shouldn’t just say Josh and expect people to know which one I mean…
- Big save from Cannata.
- Have I mentioned how much I hate shoot outs? (I mean, as skills competitions, they’re great. As the means to win a hockey game…)
- Maine wins it with the only goal in the shoot out. Of course it was Fox.
Ully and Herbert earned first and second stars of the game with their goal and assist performances, and Dillan Fox, who scored two of Maine’s goals, plus the SO winner (and probably should have been named first star) was third. Ottenbreit, Ully, and Dickinson all had three shots. Joe Cannata saved 35/38, and despite being scored on (just once), was excellent in the shoot out.
“It’s huge.” Tim Branham said about having Ully and Herbert back together. “Those guys are world class players at this level, so as much as I can play them, I’m gonna play them. I think they’re doing a great job leading the way.”
Despite the loss, this was an encouraging game after the last couple. Yes they went down three goals in the second again, but this time they were able to battle back in spite of twelve penalties. And speaking of penalties, they went a perfect 12 for 12 on the penalty kill, killing off a seven minute penalty to Walters (and a five-on-three during that time when Zahn took a call), and of course, scoring short-handed on the penalty to Richart later in the game. All this, despite still being down the equivalent of two lines and the tenth skater of some of their best forwards. Even better than that, Ully and Herbert appear to be working their magic again, which could, if guys like Dickinson and Freschi play like they have been, be enough to tide the Grizzlies over until they get guys like Jake Marchment and Grayson Downing back in the lineup.
Summing up the game, Branham said, “Really proud of the boys’ effort, of battling back, a we had 12 penalty kills against, I’ve never seen that before in my life, what can you say. It is what it is. I thought we had a great job on the penalty kill, great job of fighting back, earning a point in the standings with an extremely short lineup once again, we’re just trying to tread water here until we get some guys back and really proud of the way we battled.”
It’s just a theory on my part, but I also think having Zahn back on defense full time helped stabilise the back end as well — or perhaps everyone just played harder and Zahn’s return to the blue line was coincidental to that. But either way, the defense had a better night than they did on Wednesday.
The final piece of good news is that despite the continued losses, Utah has two games in hand on Idaho, and one on Tulsa who are only three points and one point ahead in the standings respectively, while though Kansas City has two games in hand on the Grizzlies, they trail by nine points.
After losing in regulation and losing in the shoot out, the Grizzlies look to get back in the win column tonight against Maine with a little extra help from Captain America.
- First: None
- Second: Ully (Freschi, Herbert)
- Third: Herbert (Ully, Freschi) (PP), Dickinson (SH)
UTA: 1/7 (36 PIM)
MNE: 0/12 (20 PIM)
Photo courtesy of Josh Pinnau.
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