It’s the very beginning of the second week of the year, and it turns out that there are, in fact, teams in the league other than the Rapid City Rush, contrary to all that the Grizzlies games have showed us this year.
Since the last series of games, there have been some roster changes. A.J. White and and Matthew Boucher joined the roster, which meant that Brayden Gelsinger, Edwin Hookenson, and Jared Pike were all released. Payton Jones once again got the start, while the line of Boucher, Cédric Paré and Yuri Terao and the pairing of Garrett Johnston and Miles Gendron started in front of him.
Utah drew a quick power play just 27 seconds into the game, and picked up three of the game’s first four shots in the opening five minutes, which they largely controlled.
They returned to the power play at 6:41 on a slashing call near the Tulsa net, Tulsa had a two-on-one short-handed, but didn’t get the shot off, and the Grizzlies returned to the offensive zone. Utah picked up two more shots, but the Oilers returned to full strength with no further changes.
Past the ten-minute mark, Tulsa began to even up the flow of play a little, but Utah largely kept them away from the center of the ice. Christian Horn took an offensive zone penalty at 16:25 and the Oilers evened up the shots 9-9.
The first period was definitely a feeling-out period for both teams, who have, obviously, not faced each-other yet this season.
Paré drew an early penalty in the second, but Utah was unable to capitalize, and Jack Badini got a breakaway straight out of the penalty box to make it 1-0. The Grizzlies didn’t let the lead stand long though, Gerard getting his third of the year from Pat Cannone at 3:59.
Tray Bradley took a hooking call and Tulsa scored, but Matt Abt protested that the play was made with a high-stick. Some review occurred, and the goal remained, though there was an angle played eventually that showed that Abt was probably right. Tulsa seemingly made it 3-1 on the next shift, but the net came off, and Jones ended up without his helmet, and it was waived off.
Alex Lepkowski was rocked in the defensive zone with about half the second to go, and Mitch Maxwell was not pleased, though play went the other way, and Utah evened shots up at 15 around that time.
Wegwerth took a penalty with about four to go, once again for hooking, but the Oilers only got a shot on the advantage.
After 40, Tulsa led 2-1, shots 18-17 in their favor.
Utah had a decent start to the third, outshooting Tulsa 4-0 in the first five minutes, and drew a power play. They did not score on the advantage, but they did establish the offensive zone time that led to two chances for Paré that were turned aside, and a third that beat Olle Eriksson Ek to tie the game.
By the half-way mark of the third, Utah was outshooting Tulsa 10-1, and looking far more focused overall. Despite that, they took yet another hooking call in their own end at 11:08, but killed it off.
Both teams got offensive zone time, Utah getting the better of it, but neither team was able to break the deadlock. Unfortunately, Ian Scheid took a delay of game penalty with five seconds to go, meaning that the Oilers got 1:55 of power play time to start OT. The pace picked up considerably following the return to three-on-three, which started out going in favor of Utah, but Tulsa ended the game with a goal from Bryce Kindopp.
Utah did pick up a point in the loss, and outshot Tulsa 28-25.
Gerard picked up third star. Overall, it wasn’t a terrible game, but the Grizzlies didn’t look quite so cohesive as they had previously — though that is understandable, considering the roster changes. Utah plays Tulsa again on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
- First Period: None
- Second Period: Gerard (Cannone)
- Third Period: Paré (Johnston, Maxwell)
Jones: 23/25 saves
Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard.