Utah Grizzlies: By the Skin of their Teeth

After fighting back to get a point in last night’s game, Utah came out hoping to build on the strong third period showing. Brad Barone once again got the start, and the forward crew saw some reinforcements in the form of the return of Yuri Terao. Kevin Carr was loaned to the Eagles, and as such, Evan Buitenhuis backed Barone up.

The Grizzlies got off to a quick start, flying into the offensive zone, and spending several shifts there. It paid off too, as the Cedric Paré, Christian Horn, and Jack Jenkins crashed the net, and Paré netted his fourth of the year from Horn and Jenkins. On the very next shift, Jenkins dropped the gloves with Colby McAuley, a fight which the advantage must be said to have belonged to McAuley, and then at 3:59 the Americans took a slashing call to send the Grizzlies to the advantage.

Utah spent almost all the man advantage in the offensive zone, and though they didn’t score on the power play, Hunter Skinner slapped home his first pro goal just as the Americans returned to full strength.

The Grizzlies continued to keep their foot on the pedal, at one point outshooting Allen 9-2 before the half-way mark.

Riley Woods drew another penalty with 7:04 to go, then a scuffle broke out between the benches, Allen getting a double minor, Utah only a single, sending the Grizzlies to five-on-three — which lasted almost no time at all as Woods was sent to the box for “slashing”. All the penalties were killed off, however, and by the end of the period, Utah had decidedly outplayed the Americans, outshooting them 12-4.

Utah started well, but gave up a penalty shot goal to Spencer Asuchak at 2:01, and the Americans buzzed a bit thereafter. By the four minute mark, the Grizzlies had exerted their will on the proceedings again. Terao was run over at 3:47, drawing a power play. Deflections finally went the Grizzlies’ way, as a shot from Matthew Boucher deflected in off an Allen skater and into the net for their first power play of the day. For reasons unknown, Allen complained afterwards, but it did not effect the outcome.

Lowny took a slashing call at 6:48, and some significant complaining from the Americans followed that as well, and they scored on the advantage. They headed to the power play again at 11:10 on a supposed high-sticking call, and then again on Hoover for interference against Paterson. Utah did a spectacular job of killing off both the five-on-three and the five-on-four, returning to full strength. Thanks to the penalties, Allen took over the shot lead in the period 13-10, but Utah still led 22-17, and maintains the one goal lead into the final couple of minutes.

With just over two to go, Paré took a hooking call, but Utah killed that off too, and headed to the locker room with the slim lead in shots and goals.

Utah drew a power play less than a minute into the third, but it suffered the fate of many early man-advantages. Turner Ottenbreit found himself in the box a few minutes later for pulling Paré to the ice. Utah had some really nice moves, but they were unable to net an insurance goal.

They got one later though, as Woods won a face-off clean, and Skinner scored his second goal of the game (and his pro career) on a blue-line blast.

Utah continued to play hard, keeping Allen away from Barone, largely (and Barone continued to smother the shots he did see).

Terao took a holding call at 13:45, and Allen scored on the advantage. There was a bit of a scare shortly afterwards as Johnston went down in front of the Utah net, but he skated off under his own power and remained on the bench.

Allen pulled their goalie with two to go, but Utah held on for dear life, taking the 4-3 win in regulation.

Hunter Skinner took first star with his two first pro goals and team leading eight shots, Matthew Boucher took second with a goal and an assist, and Barone’s 25/38 save performance earned him third. It was a terrific end to the home stand, and while Utah wasn’t able to keep the level of polish they showed in the first going through all three periods, they did enough to overcome the badly run second period, and hold on in the third. No mean feat against a cranky Allen team.

Utah heads out to Kansas City next weekend, where hopefully they will be able to keep the wins coming.


  • First Period: Paré (Horn, Cannone), Skinner (Gendron, Boucher)
  • Second Period: Boucher (Woods, Lowny (PP)
  • Third Period: Skinner (Woods)
    Barone: 25/28

Photos courtesy of Tim Broussard.

Utah Grizzlies: No Bones About It

After a 5-2 loss in regulation yesterday, the Grizzlies looked for redemption. The lines saw a bit of a shake up, though the personnel remained the same, except in net, where Brad Barone was backed up by Even Buitenhuis.

The game didn’t get off to an auspicious start, the Americans scoring 1:32 into the first. Things got chippy after that, Tiegan Zahn getting into it with Dyson Stevenson, and then Matt Hoover dropping the gloves with him at 3:15. Stevenson got the best of him, but Hoover put up quite a fight, and was remarkably strong on his skates.

The Grizzlies got the first power play of the night at 6:03, but though they moved the puck pretty well, and had some good looks, they were unable to turn the advantage into anything. The same was true for Allen when they got a power play at 12:40, following a hit on Miles Gendron, and a holding call on Riley Woods.

For a period that had a goal and a fight, it was remarkably quiet. The Grizzlies looked more prepared for the Americans’ speed, but then again, neither team really did anything worth noting. Shots were 7-4 for Allen at the end of it all.

The Grizzlies started better, Hunter Skinner looking quite poised, looked good, but the Americans drew the first power play as Skinner and Miles Gendron raced to break up an Allen chance. Skinner threw himself in front of some pucks on the kill, Barone made some saves, but the Americans scored on another redirection to make it 2-0 at 2:11.

Allen built on the momentum of the power play goal for a shift or so, but the Grizzlies pushed back, Skinner and the Woods line creating some opportunities. The Americans took a too many men penalty at 4:45, but Barone got dinged with playing the puck outside of the trapezoid, and the Americans got a brief four-on-four, then power play out of it.

Things got a little heated shortly afterwards around the Allen net, and the game devolved into more clutching and grabbing, with some big hits around the midway mark. Barone made some good saves, though shots for both teams remained low 13-7 with about seven left.

Utah had some long stretches in the Americans’ zone after that but largely were held to the boards. A.J. White and Kris Myllari woke up the fans at 14:55, flying in two-on-one. White took the initial shot, and the rebound found itself right on the stick of Myllari who scored his first pro goal to cut the lead in half.

With about a minute to go, the Americans came storming into the offensive zone, but a block from Garrett Johnston sent the puck the other way. White got a look of his own with forty something seconds to go, but despite evening up the shots (15-13 for the Americans), they were unable to tie it up before the end of the frame.

The Grizzlies came out hot to start the third, picking up two shots and making life interesting for the Americans around their goalie just 19 seconds in. That jump persisted as the period progressed, Utah doing a much better job of breaking up passes, and generally showing more creativity in the offensive zone than they had.

Zahn took a roughing penalty behind the play at 3:14, but the Grizzlies killed it off, allowing only one shot. Utah continued to build on their work, playing some of their best hockey since the roster got shaken up by injuries and call-ups, and drew a power play at 8:59. The Grizzlies passed better than they had all game, and the Americans took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with just over a minute remaining on the first penalty.

The Grizzlies held on to the puck five-on-three, making the Americans move, and then the puck went to the stick of Pat Cannone. Cannone’s fifth of the season tied the game, and the Grizzlies remained on the advantage.

They weren’t able to capitalize again, but retained control of the general flow of the game, outshooting Allen 26-21 through 15 minutes.

Skinner took a tripping penalty with under two to go, Barone made some big saves, and the Grizzlies kept Allen off the score-sheet in the third, heading into OT.

The Grizzlies killed off the end of the penalty, and though Allen got more zone time, the Grizzlies did a good job of helping Barone out. At the end of OT, shots were 33-29 for the Americans, and the game headed to the shoot out. Jesse Mychan was the only skater to score, giving Allen the 3-2 win.

It wasn’t the result the Grizzlies wanted, but it is definitely an encouraging sign that their third period was the best hockey we’ve seen in some time. Barone was solid in net, Jack Jenkins picked up the team-leading six shots, White had two assists, and overall in the third, passing was more crisp, the skating was strong, and the defense was up to par. Woods’ point streak came to an end, but he remains a point a game since his signing, and with his goal, Cannone extended his point streak to four. Skinner now has four points in his first four pro games. Guys like Johnston also had good games, despite not showing up on the score sheet. If Utah can replicate that third period for more of the game tomorrow, it should be a good game.


  • First Period: None
  • Second Period: Myllari (White)
  • Third Period: Cannone (White, Skinner) (PP)
    Barone: 30/32 saves

Images courtesy of Tim Broussard and Rob Church.

Utah Grizzlies: Slow Starts and Bad Bounces

The Grizzlies returned from Rapid City with three of four possible points (one win, and one OT loss) to face the Allen Americans for the first time this season. Short-handed again, it would be a stiff task against the Conference leading Americans. Kevin Carr got his season debut at the Maverik Center, behind Cédric Paré, Riley Woods, Matthew Boucher, Tiegan Zahn, and Alex Lepkowski, who returned to the lineup for the first time since January 8th. Diego Cuglietta, Mitch Maxwell, Trey Bradley, Joe Wegwerth, Yuri Terao, and Evan Buitenhuis all were sidelined.

Both teams came out a bit slow, feeling each other out, but Lepkowski lost his footing in the defensive zone, and gave the puck up to Corey Mackin. Mackin scored from a tight angle to put Allen up 1-0 2:52 into the first. The Grizzlies got going a bit after that, putting up a couple of nice shifts, including a nice one from Woods, and outshooting Allen 7-2 in the first six minutes.

Utah got the best of the chances as the period hit the half-way mark, but remained scoreless. With about eight to go, Cameron Kielly got in on a two-on-one, and gave the Americans a 2-0 lead. A.J. White had a memorable shift, still getting a shot off as he fell over while contesting his net-front spot. Though the Grizzlies continued to hold the offensive zone, and outshot Allen 9-5 in the first fifteen minutes, they weren’t able to turn the zone time into anything.

With four to go, Allen nearly made it 3-0, but the puck hit the bar and went out of play. Pat Cannone and Boucher both had good chances, Cannone ringing iron, in what was probably Utah’s strongest shifts of the period.

Through the first, overall, Utah played pretty well, especially in the second half, but got burned by Allen’s speed.

The Grizzlies came out with much more zip in their step to start the second, and drew the game’s first power play. Their work paid off as Jenkins sauced the puck across to Woods, who in turn beat Jake Paterson. Miles Gendron got the second assist.

Jenkins nearly added a goal to his assist with about six gone, as Utah kept their foot on the gas, and Horn followed that up with a thwarted look of his own. A bad change from Utah saw them pick up yet another too-many-men penalty with 11:16 to go in the second. They were able to kill it off well though, and Hunter Skinner and Matt Hoover got in two-on-one before the penalty ended. Carr also made a save on a weird hop.

Hoover got a golden opportunity to tie the game on a pass from Woods, as Paterson had committed to covering Woods. The puck went off the bar and back into play, and although they did stop to look at it, it did not count.

Jenkins was hit in the final five, drawing a Utah power play. Skinner got a chance on a rocket of a shot, and Utah set up some zone time, but they weren’t able to tie it up. Allen got a chance on the power play again with less than a minute to go. There was some pushing and shoving around Carr’s net in the final seconds, but when the buzzer sounded, the score remained 2-1, Utah outshooting Allen 21-17 in a much better effort.

The third period opened with 1:08 of power play time for the Americans, which Utah killed off, but Turner Ottenbreit made it 3-1 at ? as Carr made the initial save, but then the puck trickled past him. Utah took another penalty, and though they killed that off, Allen again scored just moments after they returned to full strength, the puck possibly deflecting in off a defender’s skate.

Utah got a chance on the power play of their own, just about five in, and Ryan Lowney cut the Americans’ lead in half with a blast from the top of the right face-of circle. They had a good shift leading to the half-way point of the third, and Jared Pike drew a hooking call. The Grizzlies weren’t able to build off their play before it.

Utah probably got away with a few after returning to full strength, and Gendron came close to putting Utah within one twice on one shift. Branham pulled Carr for the extra skater with 3:11 to go. Unfortunately, Cannone bobbled the puck at the line, and Colby McAuley scored into the empty net.

Despite the loss, a number of players continued to look good, Woods has points in every game since he signed in Utah, while Boucher has eight points in nine games, as well as regularly leading the team in shots (six tonight). Gendron picked up two assists. Special times went well for the Grizzlies as well, as they killed all three penalties, and scored on two out of four power play opportunities. At the end though, it was the inability in the first period to keep Allen from breaking in past the defensemen, and in the third to keep pucks from going in on deflections. Not for nothing is Allen the best team in the conference.

These same two teams meet again tomorrow and Sunday afternoon.


  • First Period: None
  • Second Period: Woods (Jenkins, Gendron) (PP)
  • Third Period: Lowney (Cannone, Gendron) (PP)
    Carr: 17/22 saves

Photos courtesy of Tim Broussard.

Utah Grizzlies: Closely Contested

Same teams, slightly different roster for the Grizzlies in game two of the series against the Rapid City Rush, with Christian Horn and Trey Bradley joining Diego Cuglietta (IR), Yuri Terao (IR), Alex Lepkowski (IR), Mitch Maxwell, third goalie Evan Buitenhuis on the scratch list. Kevin Carr got his first start of the season. Several of the defensemen all took shifts at forward. All this meant that Utah was skating one skater short of what used to be the roster size, but three short of this year’s expanded one.

Utah got the first shot of the frame, but unfortunatley, there was a scramble around Carr, who got taken out of position by his own defenseman, and the Rush struck first at 3:04. Rapid City continued to be alert, picking up four shots to Utah’s two in the first five minutes, and six to Utah’s two in the first nine.

The Grizzlies were able to get more zone time than the very lop-sided shots showed, however, they weren’t able to do much with that it. That was not the case for the Rush, who got another goal at 12:43 off a two-on-one opportunity by Cedric Montminy.

Utah got two chances on the power play, first at 15:39, where they took an 11-7 shot lead, and again at 18:46. However, neither man-advantage came up with anything, and they headed to the locker room down 2-0, though outshooting the Rush 11-7, and with 47 seconds of a power play remaining to start the second.

Unsurprisingly, Utah didn’t capitalize on the power play to start the second, but they did find the scoresheet at 3:47, Ryan Lowney scoring his first for Utah from Hunter Skinner and Matthew Boucher.

Though Utah continued to hold the overall shot lead, the Rush outshot Utah 8-7 in the first 11 minutes, while the teams took turns chasing each other up and down the ice.

Zahn took a cross-checking penalty on Garrett Klotz at 12:53, but the Grizzlies killed it off pretty comfortably. Riley Woods and Boucher had a pretty good shift towards the end of the period, and on the next shift Jared Pike put a shot on net, and the Grizzlies celebrated, thinking he put the puck in past Gordie Defiel. The play was sent to review, and it was indeed good, giving Pike his first pro goal.

Zahn went to the box again at 17:54, Pat Cannone made an important play to clear a puck away from an uncomfortably open net, and the penalty and the period came to an end together. A much better second saw the Grizzlies tied 2-2, shots 21-20 in their favor.

There were very few whistles in the first half of the third period, as both teams continued to get their looks. Unfortunately, the Rush scored to take the lead at 12:02, and though the Grizzlies struck back to tie it up (Boucher from Woods and Paré), the Rush returned the favor a minute later to retake the lead yet again.

Utah refused to go away, however, and at 17:37 Pat Cannone scored his forth of the season from A.J. White, who hit Cannone from behind the Rush net.

With exactly 11 seconds to go, they beat Defiel, but the goal was emphatically waived off. They reviewed that one as well, but sadly the call remained no goal, and the game went to OT.

Boucher got an incredible chance one-on-none, but was turned aside by Defiel, and the puck went the other way. Carr got the initial shot, but the rebound went straight to the stick of Hunter Garlent, lurking all alone on the other side of the net, and he put the puck past a lunging Carr to win the game 5-4.

Once again, Utah got off to a little bit of a slow start (though not as bad as they had in some of their games against Tulsa), but they battled back every step of the way, made it interesting, and came away with a point for their efforts.

He didn’t get an official star, but Boucher picked up a goal and two assists and led the Grizzlies with six shots. Woods also played very well again, and Jared Pike got his first pro goal.

“He’s done great,” Coach Branham said of Pike several games ago, “He’s a role player who you know, keeps it simple and finishes checks, and makes good plays. He’s done really well for us!” Though it’s an older quote, it very much remains true, and it was great to see him be rewarded for his play.

Utah is off until next weekend when they will face the conference leading Allen Americans at the Maverik Center — hopefully with some bodies back in the lineup.


  • First Period: None
  • Second Period: Lowney (Skinner, Boucher), Pike (Woods, Boucher)
  • Third Period: Boucher (Woods, Pare), Cannone (White)
    Carr: 25/30 saves

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard.

Utah Grizzlies: Growlin Grizzlies

In the first game with practice after the roster got a massive shakeup, the Grizzlies returned to Rapid City with Brad Barone in net, backed up by newly returned Kevin Carr. Teigan Zahn also returned to the lineup after serving his two game suspension, and Hunter Skinner made his pro debut.

The Grizzlies drew an early penalty, courtesy of boarding by Garrett Klotz, just forty-four seconds in, but were unable to capitalize and Jack Jenkins went to the box a few minutes later also for boarding. Neither team scored on the advantage, though the Grizzlies had a short-handed jaunt into the offensive zone that looked promising.

Though Utah built up an 8-4 advantage in shots through the first ten minutes, the Rush began to apply some pressure. Matthew Boucher took a penalty at 12:51, but Utah’s previously excellent penalty kill returned somewhat, escaping a close call, and managing to extend their zone time.

The Grizzlies built up a little momentum as the end of the period approached, and with 2:13 to go, they drew a power play. Trey Bradley made it count, scoring through traffic 13 seconds in.

Utah held onto the lead through the final two minutes, and headed into intermission up 1-0, shots 13-7 in their favor.

The period got off to a good start for the Grizz, Riley Woods scoring his first for Utah at 1:39 from Boucher and Skinner. The assist was Skinner’s first pro point, and Utah continued to hold the edge both in shots and zone time.

They made the most of it, Bradly getting his second of the game from Skinner and Woods at 5:55. Barone held down the fort after that, making two big saves just around the elven-minute-mark, with help from Skinner who came flying back to help corral the rebound.

Barone saw a lot of shots after that, as the Rush made a determined effort to even up the score. The teams traded chances through the back-half of the frame, and the Rush were rewarded at 17:51 on a really nice toe-drag goal from Tyler Coulter. Utah took a delay of game penalty in the final minutes, and Utah headed into the second intermission up 3-1, outshooting the Rush 25-19.

The Grizzlies started the third with the tail end of the penalty from the second, and killed that off. The game again went back and forth for both teams, Utah continuing to maintain the shot lead by a narrow margin.

The Grizzlies got dinged for too many men half way through the frame, and the Rush made it 3-2 on the advantage, and eventually evening out the shots 29-29.

Utah held on for dear life through the final two minutes with an empty net on the other end and, at the end of the day, squeaked away with the 3-2 win in regulation.

The former Newfoundland Growlers teammates Bradley (2G) and Woods (1G, 2A) were named first and second star, and Skinner picked up his first two pro points. Additionally, Boucher now has points in each of the last four games. Overall, it was a better game for the Grizzlies, though against a weaker team than Tulsa. They looked much more comfortable as a team, and had better luck completing passes — both because they weren’t challenged as constantly and because they seemed to be better aware of where their teammates would be. Barone was solid in net, especially considering this was his first start all year.

These same two teams will be back at it again tomorrow.


  • First Period: Bradley (Woods, Cannone) (PP)
  • Second Period: Woods (Boucher, Skinner), Bradley (Skinner, Woods)
  • Third Period: None
    Barone: 27/29

Photo courtesy of Rob Church.