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.


  • 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.

Utah Grizzlies: Raining Goals

After the dominant win on Wednesday night, the Grizzlies’ lineup remained unchanged on their first road trip of the season, with good cause, as it quickly turned out.

The Grizzlies got off to a lightning fast start, Tim McGauley setting up Josh Dickinson’s fourth goal of the season just 34 seconds in.

Less than five minutes in, Allen goalie Dereck Baribeau was taken out with an injury , and Dickinson scored his second just moments later on a terrific rush play from Griffen Molino and McGauley.

Felix Lauzon scored his first pro goal less than a minute later, pouncing on an Americans turnover, and the Grizzlies continued to keep their foot firmly on the gas. Allen took the first penalty of the game at just about the half-way mark, but Utah didn’t capitalize.

It didn’t really matter, because at 14:10, Travis Barron got his fifth of the year. Ryan Wagner took a slashing call a couple of minutes later, but Utah headed to the locker room up 4-0, shots 10-9 in their favor.

Allen got a goal 49 seconds into the second, but Utah answered right back, Joe Wegwerth giving Utah back the four goal lead. Allen ran into a little bit of penalty trouble, going off for hooking at 2:50, and then again for delay of game just four seconds later. Dickinson made them pay, completing his second hat trick in as many games, Wagner picking up his second assist, and Yuri Terao also picking up a point.

The teams exchanged penalties, both of which were killed off. Eric Williams got his first pro goal, rattling Jake Paterson’s water bottle at 15:36 from Terao and Barron, who both continued to pick up the points.

Spencer Asuchak put Terao into the boards at 16:08, and Taylor Richart made them pay with a rocket on the man advantage.

After that, however, Allen rattled in three straight goals in less than two minutes to end the frame. Needless to say, it was a highly entertaining 20 minutes for the fans.

The offensive out-pouring was in no way done, as Molino sprinted past the Allen skaters, and beat Paterson one-on-one 3:54 into the third.

The teams took matching slashing penalties at 4:56, but Asuchak went to the box for high-sticking, and Cole Cassels managed to eek the puck past Paterson for the 10-4 goal from Richart and Barron.

Williams got a tripping call at 10:09, but Utah killed it off. Dickinson took a stick to the face with 3:12 to go, and the Grizzlies finished the game on the advantage.

Shots were a fairly respectable 31-22 for Utah, but the 10-4 scoreboard told the more important story.

Dickinson’s second hat trick of the week earned him first star of the night once more, while Travis Barron got second star with one goal and three assists, Ryan Wagner picked up third star with two. Honorable mentions to Richart, Cassels, and Molino all with with one goal and one assist each, and McGauley with two assists.

With an exception of the last two minutes of the second period, Utah played a very solid game, but they didn’t have to be particularly brilliant to rack up the goals. On most of them, their best players were allowed to do as they wished, largely uncontested. However, once again, the Grizzlies kept their foot on the gas despite the commanding lead.

It certainly will be interesting to see what happens when these two teams meet Saturday night.



  • First Period: Dickinson (McGauley), Dickinson (Molino, McGauley), Lauzon, Barron
  • Second Period: Wegwerth (Wagner), Dickinson (Wagner, Terao) (PP), Williams (Terao, Barron), Richart (Cassels, Barron) (PP)
  • Third Period: Molino, Cassels (Richart, Barron) (PP)

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.