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.

Goals

  • 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.

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