Utah Grizzlies @ Allen Americans: Weekend Split

With their playoff spot assured, the Grizzlies looked to keep the wins coming against the Americans. The roster remained the same, though some of the wingers switched spots, and Kevin Carr once again got the start.

First Period

  • Good pace from the Grizzlies to start the game.
  • So of course Allen strikes first through a heavily screened Carr.
  • Ryan Walters with a point blank shot on C.J. Motte, rather like the play Jack Walker made to Michael Economos last game. No dice though.
  • Great pace from both teams throughout the first so far.
  • They’ve picked up right where they left off last night, two crowds by the time the game has hit the eight minute mark.
  • Turner Ottenbreit draws the first power play of the night.
  • Aaaaaand it’s negated.
  • Uhg. Breakaway goal for Braylon Shmyr four-on-four.
  • Carroll rings iron.
  • Jacob Doty and Teigan Zahn drop the gloves!
  • Walters has had a couple of really good looks, but Motte appears to have his number at the moment.
  • Utah coughs up the puck in their own zone, and Shmyr scores again.
  • Carroll causes chaos!
  • Ully gets shoved into the goalie, and yet gets a penalty for it. Go figure.
  • ….And Ausmus gets a ten minute misconduct.
  • That was not the first period anyone wanted…At least, not goal wise.

Second Period

  • Ok. Put that period behind us, there’s plenty of time…right???
  • Herbert gets a look in alone, but is stopped by Motte. Ully gets a good one as well.
  • Oooh Carr was NOT happy after that. Took a whack at Miller, and then that drew a crowd. Carr and Miller both get penalties.
  • Walters has had some really good games lately, and he’s already up to four shots.
  • HE SCORES.
  • Aaaaaaaand Allen comes right back with a goal.
  • And Carr takes a whack at Miller. Both get penalties.
  • Dalton Thrower to the box.
  • Another scrum breaks out after a whistle at Allen’s net. Austin Carroll and Gary Steffes head to the box for roughing. Moose is loose.
  • Zahn had a couple of strong moves there. And then he takes a penalty.
  • Allen cuts away from the game at the worst possible moments.
  • Anyone else think those horns in Allen’s noise-o-meter piece look like Solo cups??
  • Walker always making things interesting with his speed.
  • Verpaelst takes a penalty with 40 seconds left, and Allen scores.
  • Ew.

Third Period

  • Nagel to the box, not how we wanted this period to start…
  • Lots of penalties…
  • All of the penalties…
  • Come on…anyone in white…just get a goal…
  • This power play would be a great time to get a goal with ten to go…
  • Well, they certainly made an effort there!
  • Ully gets hit and that draws a crowd and a power play. Five-on-three here, and this is BIG.
  • HERBERT!!!! Caleb gets his 31st following some sweet, sweet passing from Ully and Walker.
  • CARROLL ON THE SECOND HALF OF THE POWER PLAY!!
  • Way to deliver on that five-on-three, then five-on-four!!
  • Empty net for Utah.
  • Empty net goal for Salituro.
  • Ew.
  • Well, the good news is the power play was quite effective, and the goals came from Walters, Carroll, and Herbert.
  • The bad news is…well, points to the score.
  • Grizzlies fall 6-3.

Herbert became the first Utah player since Ryan Kinasewich to surpass 30 goals (he’s got a long way to go to catch him though), while the Utah power play remained hot.

The road trip continues in Wichita on on Wednesday.

Goals

  • First Period: None
  • Second Period: Walters (Ottenbreit, Richart) (PP)
  • Third Period: Herbert (Walker, Ully) (PP), Carroll (Herbert, Walker) (PP)

UTA: 3/7 (35 PIM)
ALN: 1/7 (25 PIM)

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography.


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Get to Know the Staff: Chris Schornack

Last season we started an interview series and never quite finished it. Fortunately, a lot of the staff is still the same, so we’re starting it up again by chatting with equipment manager, Chris Schornack! (If you missed last year’s talk with Head Coach and General Manager Tim Branham, here’s the link!)


 

Namiko Hitotsubashi: How did you first get into hockey?

Chris Schornack: I originally got into hockey as a stick boy, back in Michigan in the United Hockey League, just kind of asked to help out, and one thing led to another, and ended up working for them for two years.

NH: So how did you initially become interested in being an equipment manager? Was it kind of a natural progression from stick boy?

CS: Yeah, I guess! I kind of did it, then fell in love with the atmosphere, and working on the stuff. I dunno, I guess it’s a tough question to answer cause you just kinda, one day you’re like ‘oh wow, I’m doing this now!’ I would definitely say it rooted from that, just kinda being around it, I like the atmosphere, I like being on the other side of the game, just overseeing it opposed to having a huge impact in it.

NH: What’s your average workday like? People know what goes on on the ice but don’t necessarily know what goes on behind the scenes.

CS: I usually get in around 6:45-7:15 just depending what’s going on. I try to get everything done the night before. Come in in the morning, get a workout in with Snatch, have a coffee and head to our daily 8 am staff game. When that gets done I head back to the locker room where Kevin Carr and I play a best of three of ping pong. After that it’s odds and ends in the office with music on, music is always on. Like I said, try to get everything done, cause there’s usually something that pops up last minute. Best case scenario, nothing pops up, you can enjoy your coffee and talk about whatever happened the day before!

NH: Elaborating on that, during a game, what are your duties generally?

CS: Generally during the games, it’s kind of when it slows down. In a way, everything is preparation before the game, like making sure all the skates are sharpened, as well as their second set of steel is ready to go on the bench. Doing any repairs that came up during pregame skate. Doing the visitors laundry from morning skate (that’s usually Mason), folding towels and other little stuff. So it’s stuff like that, and then during the game it’s more so watching the play and watching and listening for certain things within a game — if a guy falls behind the play, how he’s getting back up, if he has an issue with something on the bench, you help out, a big hit, you want to make sure his visor is still tight, guy blocks a shot, how did the stick sound when it hit it. Being ready for guys taking a face-off to break a stick, stuff like that. Once you get used to your players you can pick up and predict when something is wrong or needs to be assisted with.

NH: What’s the craziest equipment related mishap or adventure that you’ve ever had to deal with?

CS: We had a player with an ankle related issue. I had to cut out part of his skate and rebuild the outside of the boot so it was further out, about the size of half a tennis ball. He hadn’t been able to play for a few weeks, he was able to return to the line up, always a good thing when that happens!

NH: Do you have a favorite part of your job?

CS: I’d say it’s the everyday interaction with the guys along with being in a locker room atmosphere everyday. In my opinion its one of the best places to be, besides on the beach with a Corona!

NH: Did you play hockey?

CS: Yes. Played my youth/high school hockey out of Fraser, MI. Played ACHA at Adrian College. Now just occasional men’s league.

NH: So when you were playing, did you have a favourite place to play?

CS: Our rival was always Davenport, another Michigan college. We played them a lot, as well as in National Championships one year. So it was just kind of the rivalry going back and forth. I’d say probably not necessarily their place, but playing them in general, them and Hope College we played a lot too, and that was always a good rivalry.

NH: You’ve worked a bunch of places other than here, what was your favourite location to work? You can say other places, we won’t judge you for it!

CS: You know what, to be honest with you, Amarillo. I worked there the year before last in Texas. The people were great. The lifestyle was not really up my alley, but the people made it great. I had a great management there, the assistant coach and their family took me in as one of their own, the Sutters, they were great people, and Rick Mattchett their GM there, they were great. It was fun to be there. I don’t know if I’d retire there, I told them that all the time, as a Michigan boy, but I love Utah. Coming here, just the hiking, skiing, stuff like that, I fell in love with it right away.

NH: Do you have a favourite part of being here?

CS: So many great things. My girlfriend, Laurel, her and her family are from here so it’s nice having a home away from home. They are awesome and have made me feel like family from day one. If I had to pick one, it would be downtown Main Street in Park City – summer or winter. All the shops, restaurants, bars, just the whole atmosphere is awesome.

NH: Do you have a favourite NHL team?

CS: I’ve gotta be biased, I guess, to the Red Wings. Growing up there, going to the Joe with my dad as a kid, those are memories I will never forget. I was very lucky being able to be from Michigan, going to the Joe with my dad watching those Wings’ teams during the 96-97, 97-98 and even the 01-02 teams. Beyond spoiled to grow up with that going on around me.

NH: Do you have a favourite hockey story?

CS: Nothing really crazy, however, I do remember a time when I was in Amarillo two seasons ago we had a trade with the team we were playing against that night. So after pregame skate, the trade was made and he was sent down the hall to our locker room and played with us/against his own team that night!

NH: Thanks for doing this, Chris!

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography and staff.


 

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Utah Grizzlies @ Wichita Thunder: Caught in the Rain

Once again short-handed, the Grizzlies looked to complete their road trip on a high note with a sweep of the Thunder

First Period

  • Wichita seems determined to throw everything at the short-handed Grizzlies. Shots are 6-2 less than seven minutes in.
  • Ryan Walters draws the first power play, which is great, since they’ve spent rather a lot of time in their own zone. Hopefully this changes things.
  • Mike Economos bats in Gage Ausmus’ rebound, and we’re up 1-0! (And the shots are now 7-6!)

  • I’d say that changed things alright!
  • So of course Caleb Herbert heads to the box. But that’s killed off just fine!
  • Economos in there for a second goal, but no dice. Lots of Utah pressure past the half-way mark in the first.
  • Turner Ottenbreit and a couple of Thunder players go into the net behind Kevin Carr.
  • Both teams seem to be having trouble holding onto the puck as we pass the fifteen minute mark.
  • Oh geez. The last thing we need tonight is for Ottenbreit to be broken.
  • He seems fine.
  • A couple of important saves from Carr to end the period.

Second Period

  • Huge crowd around the Utah net, and Ausmus is headed to the box for cross-checking.
  • Another one of those collective ice is slippery moments.
  • Richart has blocked at least two big shots this period. He goes off gingerly. But fortunately, he’s back.
  • Oh bah. Wichita scores at 10:13.
  • WALLY THINKS TIE GAMES ARE RUBBISH, AND SCORES NINE SECONDS LATER.

  • Verpaelst has clearly been trying to start something. It hasn’t worked very well, and Raats declines to retaliate.
  • ECONOMOS WITH THE SNIIIPEEEE!! Henke and Maxwell get the assists on the power play!
  • Utah has two goals on three shots this period.
  • MAKE THAT THREE GOALS ON FOUR SHOTS.
  • We’re also on double hat trick watch, as Walters picks up his second of the period.

Third Period

  • Everyone bites on the wrap-around, and Wichita cuts the lead in half.
  • And Ottenbreit is stung again.
  • And now Anderson. This is fine. Everything is FINE.
  • Ottenbreit appears to be hockey fine if nothing else.
  • Anderson too.
  • On the other hand…has Richart played a shift this period???
  • Oh, there he is. Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief.
  • Wichita cuts the lead down to one.
  • Honestly, I just want the team to get out of this without losing another player to injury…
  • Really.
  • Really???
  • UHG Tie game.
  • Carr with a diving save, and Jakob Stukel is looking to the sky in frustration.
  • Walters with a bid on one end, Wichita with a bid on the other, and we’re off to OT.

OT

  • WELP.
  • Wichita finally beats the Grizzlies this season.
  • 5-4 Wichita.

Walters and Economos both had great games, and Walters was named second star.

This loss was especially galling considering that everything was well under control heading into the final five minutes of the night. However, on the bright side, the Grizzlies picked up three of four points despite playing on back-to-back nights with only 14 skaters, and nine of twelve points on the road trip.

The Grizzlies return home for a lengthy home stand, where they will face Idaho and Kansas City.

Photo courtesy of Rob Church.

 

Utah Grizzlies vs Idaho Steelheads Recap: The Henke Show

Still short-handed on the blue line, the Grizzlies met the Steelheads in Idaho in a battle for Mountain Division supremacy. Tim Branham went with the hot hand, giving Kevin Carr the start. Tim McGauley also returned to the lineup, and Ryan Misiak remained Utah’s fifth defenseman.

Both teams began well, but Idaho got the first three shots followed by the first goal just before the three-minute mark. A minute later Jake Marchment dropped the gloves with Kale Kessy after the latter hit Caleb Herbert, both getting five for fighting and two for removing their helmets.

Utah remained shot-less, but drew a power play 6:01. Taylor Richart got the only shot of the advantage, and Idaho returned to full strength.

J.T. Henke kept his streak alive tying the game 1-1 at 8:57 on a completely uncontested centering shot from Tim McGauley. Richart got the secondary assist. Kyle Schempp got a boarding penalty at 9:17, and Utah tied up the shot clock 4-4.

Henke struck again at 15:10 slinging the puck easily past Ryan Faragher from Gage Ausmus and Joey Raats.

After 20, the shots were 8-5 in the Grizzlies’ favor, and they led thanks to the two Henke goals.

Misiak took a tripping call at 4:10, but Utah killed it off comfortably and Misiak had a good look on the breakaway coming out of the box. Henke had a bid for the hat trick, but couldn’t beat Faragher, and Carr had to make some big saves as Idaho pressured in the back-half of the period.

Teigan Zahn took an interference call, but Marchment and Jack Walker made things interesting for the Steelheads. The Steelheads got some of their own back, but Carr battled and kept Utah ahead.

Richart extended the lead at 18:19, scoring his third of the season from Mike Economos and Jack Walker. The assist was Economos’ first point for Utah. Brad McClure took a high-sticking call in the dying seconds, and after 40, shots were 17-14 for Utah.

The Grizzlies once again weren’t able to capitalize on the advantage, but Zahn made it 4-1 from Ausmus and Herbert at 2:36. The goals kept coming in and Julien Nantel made it 5-1 at 5:21 from Richart and McGauley.

Utah kept sharp, despite the big lead, continuing to outshoot the Steelheads through the third period, ultimately ending the game outshooting Idaho 29-20 with the commanding win.

Richart (1G, 2A), Henke (2G, including GWG) and Ausmus (2A) were the three stars, though Carr undoubtedly deserved mention for his performance.

 

Without Joe Cannata, Utah once again started Kevin Carr, with Chris Komma as the EBUG.

The first period of Saturday’s game did not begin very well. Utah looked a little flat in the early going once again, but this time they allowed three goals including a power play number in the first ten minutes.

Teigan Zahn and Kale Kessy dropped the gloves at 10:34, and at 14:50, J.T. Henke once again opened the scoring. By the end of the period, shots were 12-10 for Idaho, but the second half of the first was definitely an improvement on the opening.

The second period got off to decent start, then absolute chaos broke out. Economos got boarded, and Zahn, Walters, and Walker all took exception. When the dust settled, Walker got two for roughing, Geoff Crisfield got a ten minute misconduct, Clint Lewis got a roughing penalty, and Tony Calderone got a five minute boarding major.

Fortunately, Economos seemed to be alright, returning to the ice and taking a hooking call at 6:23.

Economos got out of the box, and in less than 20 seconds, first Walters scored from Ully and Misiak, then Henke tied the game from Nantel and Richart.

Kessy took a roughing call, but Idaho scored short-handed, and then after some extreme penalty nonsense, Brad McClure scored on the power play. As Adrian Denny would have said, I don’t know about that…

After two, shots were 29-18 for Utah, but Idaho led 5-3.

Though Utah continued to hold the shot advantage, an offensive zone turn over led to a 6-3 goal in the first five minutes. Things continued to go decidedly Idaho’s way, as they collected one more goal, despite Utah outshooting the Steelheads 36-21. Mitch Moroz and Mike Economos got into a tussle with 1:11 to go, and the game came to a merciful end.

Obviously it wasn’t the second game anyone would have wanted, but J.T. Henke continues to be outstanding–especially considering he was picked up off waivers. He’s now up to eleven points in ten games with the Grizzlies. It was also good to see the power play showing signs of life, going 2/5.

Utah returns home for Christmas still on top of the Mountain Division, and will face the Allen Americans to end the year.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard.

 

 

Utah Grizzlies: A Couple of Firsts

In their second game against Tulsa, and the second of three games in as many days, the Grizzlies iced the same lineup, with the exception of Angus Redmond, who got the start.

Zach Saar, Brad Navin, Erik Higby, Taylor Richart and Chris Leibinger had a great first shift, Leibinger getting two shots right off the bat, but it would be the Oilers who struck first. Captain Adam Pleskach made it 1-0 at 1:03 off a play in transition.

The two teams exchanged penalties with no change in score, and then Eric Drapluk beat Redmond glove-side. Tulsa scored again two minutes later to get the 3-0 lead.

Michael Pelech and Mike McKee dropped the gloves with 2:34 to go but as it was far more a wrestling match than a fight, both only got two for roughing. Redmond was called upon to make a strong save on the breakaway during the ensuing 4-on-4.

After 20, shots were 17-9 for Tulsa.

The Grizzlies began the second with several very strong shifts, (and slightly re-shuffled lines) and then Higby drew a power play. Utah maintained possession for almost the entity of the man-advantage, getting several great chances, and mere seconds after Tulsa returned to full strength, Brendan Harms scored his first pro goal. Ryan Walters and Cliff Watson drew the assists, Walters getting his fourth assist in three games.

Jake Hildebrand robbed Ryan Misiak as Utah continued to play well through the middle of the second frame.

McKee dropped the gloves for real at 14:23, this time with James Melindy, and at 16:12, Harms again off a shot from Mitch Jones. Walters got yet another assist on Harms’ second of the game.

The second period ended on a mad scramble, as Redmond lost his stick, the puck ended up behind him, and chaos ensued. Somehow in the insanity, the puck never crossed the line, and the Grizzlies went into the locker room down one goal. Utah out-shot Tulsa 19-13 in the second.

Unfortunately, Dmitrii Sergeev scored on a wrap-around just a few minutes into the third, putting the Oilers up 4-2. However, the Grizzlies didn’t stop working hard, drawing two penalties in the first half of the period. Though they didn’t score on the first power play, Ryan Olsen scored his second of the season assisted by Watson and Walters at 9:54 on the second man advantage.

A little over two minutes later, Misiak got his first of the year from Pelech and Thomas to tie the game.

Despite Utah’s best efforts, and 42 shots, they were unable to beat Hildebrand, and Conner Bleackley won the game 28 seconds into overtime.

The first period was pretty bad, but the rest of the game had a lot of good points. In addition to tightening up their defensive play, and showing far more hustle in the other periods as a team, Redmond settled down well.

Additionally, it was a great game for the Ryans. Misiak put up seven shots, in addition to scoring his first goal, Olsen scored his second, got four shots, and was a +2, while Walters got three assists, bringing up his total to six assists in three games, and was also a +2. Thomas and Pelech both continued to pick up points, Thomas now with 13 points in 11 games, and Pelech with 11 in 11.

While it certainly would have been ideal to pick up the second point against a divisional rival, after going down 3-0 it was certainly a far better outcome than it could have been. The Grizzlies go into Wichita having picked up five of a possible six points on the road.

The Thunder also played Saturday night in Allen so both Wichita and Utah are traveling tonight ahead of their 3 PM game on Sunday.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard/Jess Fleming & staff