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.

Goals

  • 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.

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