Utah Grizzlies: Costly Lapses

In the second of three games in four days, the Grizzlies’ lineup looked more or less the same, sans Tiegan Zahn (suspended for two games) and Parker Gahagen in net for Payton Jones. In net for Kansas City was former Grizz Joel Rumpel.

The game got off to a wild start, the Grizzlies striking just 1:23 in, A.J. White scoring his first from Matthew Boucher and Chris Myllari, then Tanner Jago took an interference penalty barely twenty seconds later. The Mavs scored on their power play at 3:26, and put up four shots to Utah’s one.

As might have been apparent from that fleury of activity in the opening five minutes, both teams came out with a lot more energy. Utah got their first power play of the night at 8:51 drawn by Jack Jenkins. The power play was not the Grizzlies’ friend though, as a pass to the point was picked off by Brodie Reid, who beat Gahagen one-on-one.

Utah got a second chance on the power play as Christian Horn drew another cross-checking call on Willie Corrin. With 22 seconds to go on the advantage, both White and Crawford were sent to the box for matching minors. The parade to the penalty box continued, Charlie Gerard heading there at 14:42, and the Mavs striking again. Utah then got a power play of their own, and then a goal of their own. Christian Horn got his second of the season from Miles Gendron and a goalie assist from Gahagen.

Just over a minute later, Pat Cannone tied the game from Gendron and Gerard, and the period ended 3-3, shots 10-10 — a marked contrast from Friday’s quiet opening twenty.

43 seconds into the second Boucher took a double minor for high-sticking, putting Utah on the PK for four minutes, and the Grizzlies gave up a third power play goal.

The period steadied up a bit after that, but shots increasingly went in favor of the Mavericks, 19-13 at the half-way mark, despite a power play for Utah.

In the minutes that followed, the Mavs kept the Grizzlies in their own end for long stretches, but surprisingly didn’t add up that many more shots, outshooting Utah 22-14 by the five minute mark.

Utah was able to counter-strike, though, Paré passing the puck to a flying Gerard, who broke in all alone and tied the game at 14:40.

They then took and drew penalties at 15:56 and 16:50 respectively, but the second ended in a 4-4 tie (though the Mavs had a 24-16 lead in shots).

The Grizzlies got an early power play to start the third, but the best chance on it was a short-handed one, turned calmly aside by Gahagen.

The game quieted down significantly after that, Utah finally establishing some zone time in the second half of the period, and gradually chipped into the Mavs’ shot lead.

Both teams picked up the pace a bit as the game hit the final three minutes of regulation, but neither team scored, sending them OT shots 31-24 for KC.

Trey Bradley had a nice chance, as did Boucher, Abt and Leier tangled following a chance from Paré, and both took roughing penalties at 1:53. Things almost got too interesting when one Utah player drew a holding call, Gahagen went to the bench for the extra skater, another Utah player got tripped up playing the puck, and Cannone dove to keep the puck out of the net. Because the last person to touch it was a Utah skater not a Mavericks skater, the goal would have counted, so Cannone had to make the play. Unfortunately, in what was technically the correct call, but which also felt a bit chintzy, Cannone got a delay of game penalty for knocking the net off as he knocked the puck away, to match the holding call on KC, and the Mavs scored to end the game.

“Obviously, our defensive effort wasn’t quite there tonight” Coach Branham said, “We were terrible on the on the penalty kill, you know, sloppy on the power play, our five-on-five play was sloppy. We weren’t making plays that we normally make. And you know, when that happens you let a team stick around. I liked the way that we battled back in the first, we battled back in the second, had a lot of chances there in the third just didn’t bury, and when you leave it to chance when you go in overtime, it is what it is. We’ve got to learn from that and be better for next game.”

When asked what needs to be improved he said, “We need to focus on playing a full 60 minutes. There’s not one game this year where we’ve played a full 60, where we’ve come back and been like, you know, all three periods were solid. We haven’t been able to say that. We’ve got to fight. But we’re young. That’s the thing. We’re a very young team. Yeah, we’ve got guys like Pat Cannone and Teigan Zahn, but the majority of our team is rookies and really young guys. You’re gonna have those ups and downs, you know, so we’re just gotta get to learn from it. We got to make sure we come out play hard, play fast. But keep things simple. We try to do too much at times at the offensive blue line and we make bad decisions. At the end of the day tonight, we’ve got to be better defensively. We left Parker [Gahagen] out to dry a few times. And they scored three power play goals, one short-handed goal, and a goal in overtime. And that’s just not good enough. That’s not us, you know, so we got to get to get back to what makes us successful for next game.”

It was a rough night for a number of players, but Charlie Gerard wasn’t one of them, and was named one of the stars of the game with one goal, one assist, and three shots.

“Honestly, Charlie’s gonna be a really good pro. You know, we’ll see him next game, and then he’ll be going to Colorado and I wouldn’t be shocked if he never came back. He’s a very talented player, very good kid, a super hard worker, great skater, and he’s special. We’re lucky to have him right now. Hopefully we can use him one more game and then see what he’s got up in the next level.”

Gerard is one of a number of players, including Joe Wegwerth, Ian Scheid, Matt Abt, and Payton Jones who will likely be heading to the AHL when Eagles camp opens.

“It is what it is” Branham concluded, “We made a lot of mental mistakes tonight that we gotta clean up and learn from.”

The Grizzlies have Sunday off before playing the Mavericks again on Monday.

Goals

  • First Period: White (Boucher, Myllari), Horn (Gendron, Gahagen) (PP), Cannone (Gendron, Gerard)
  • Second Period: Gerard (Paré)
  • Third Period: None:
  • OT: None

Photo courtesy of Rob Church.

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