Utah Grizzlies vs Tulsa Oilers: Unsatisfactory

With a number of players out of the lineup, and Eric Freschi claimed off waivers to get the the minimum amount of skaters, Wednesday’s game promised to be a challenge from the word go. However, the Grizzlies are not exactly strangers to playing short-handed, and had previously risen to the occasion. Not quite so much this time.

First Period

  • Decent start so far, the three shots on Kevin Carr were turned aside with ease.
  • The Grizzlies look pretty scrambly, but they also seem to be getting where they need to be, so no harm done.
  • Two icings in a row? Not ideal.
  • Neither is that goal. 1-0 Tulsa.
  • Neither was that goal.
  • Lots and lots of offensive zone time for Tulsa, and it shows. Shots are 8-1 in their favor.
  • Jack Walker and Taylor Richart showing off their wheels and their puck possession ability on that shift, which leads to a rare (in this game) offensive zone face-off.
  • Austin Carroll takes a double minor for high sticking, and Walker gets tied up trying to clear the puck. The fans are not thrilled by the lack of a call.
  • Utah whiffs badly on the clear, fortunately Carr stops it.
  • A few hiccups aside, that was a very determined kill from the Grizzlies.
  • Out-shot 13-2 through the first 20 is pretty uncharacteristically terrible though.

Second Period

  • Hey look, a shot!
  • Really nice look from J.T. Henke, but unfortunately the puck goes straight into the crest on Fitzpatrick’s jersey.
  • The Grizzlies have been much better this period, getting some offensive zone time as well as some good chances, and it leads to a power play.
  • On the other hand, this is not a great power play.
  • We’ve hit double digits on the shot clock!
  • Well, the polish, finish, etc. may not be there, but at least there’s some effort.
  • Just when things were…well, maybe not looking up, but at least looking better, 3-0 Tulsa on the power play.
  • There have been a really surprising amount of whiffs on passes by guys who almost never make even a bad pass, let alone miss one entirely.
  • Well, shots are slightly more respectable, 19-11 for Tulsa, who now leads 3-0…

Third Period

  • Big poke-check by Carr there to prevent a shot.
  • WHAT. A. BREAKAWAY. Carroll breaks the shut out!
  • Then Carr immediately makes a couple of big saves to keep them within two.
  • Walker with a big hit that the crowd appreciates!
  • Each period has gotten progressively better, but good enough to score two more goals in eight minutes? I guess we’ll see.
  • Marchment and Carroll had a really hard working offensive zone shift, followed by a really strong effort from McGauley and Raats in the defensive zone.
  • There have been a lot of broken sticks this game.
  • Three to go, Utah power play, Carr pulled for the extra skater.
  • Aaaand negated. Four-on-four, Carr pulled again for the extra skater.
  • Empty net goal for Tulsa ices this one away.
  • 4-1 Oilers.

Overall, it was a fairly abysmal outing. Yes there was improvement from the first period, but even then, there were still whiffed passes, whiffed clears, and not a lot of shots, let alone good scoring chances.

 

Photo courtesy of Jess Fleming and staff.

Utah Grizzlies @ Fort Wayne: Too Deep A Hole

On the road with the quick turn-around, it was no surprise that while the lines looked similar, Joe Cannata got the start.

First Period

  • Well. That was a bad beginning.
  • After that first shift though, Utah looks pretty good.
  • That was a really nice series of chances on the power play.
  • Yikes. that Komets player must have whiffed big time. The net was wide open.
  • Oh no, Gage, why.
  • Ryan Walters is sneaky fast. Maybe not quite like Misiak or Walker, but faster than you might suspect.
  • Uhhhhgggg. Good screen, FW. Good screen.
  • Post and in. This is not an ideal first period.
  • Ah. Yeah, no. Very not good.
  • Thank goodness that 4-0 disaster is over!

Second Period

  • That was a really nice series of chances from Dzakhov, Walters, and Carroll.
  • The Grizzlies are definitely playing a lot better in their own end this period than they were last.
  • Walker with those wheels gets a gorgeous breakaway, and draws a power play!
  • OH lord. Short-handed. That’s just adding insult to injury.
  • #ROCKETRICHART
  • Anderson drops the gloves with Szydlowski! That’s a bit of a surprising match-up.
  • MCGAULEY GOAL!!!
  • Henke with a breakaway to end the second, and he draws a power play!
  • Much better.

Third Period

  • Ouch. De Jong just went rib-first into the post in the back of the net.
  • Please go play not in your own zone…
  • McGauley has looked strong tonight, even aside from the goal.
  • Alright, anyone wearing white, we could really use a goal.
  • There’s definitely still time…but that time is rapidly beginning to dwindle…
  • WALTERS!!!
  • He’s been having a good game, so it’s very nice to see him rewarded, and it’s even nicer to be within two!!
  • “Grizzlies allegedly onside.” Ha! (That certainly is the charitable way of putting it!)
  • Ottenbreit had a very good shift just there, or perhaps more accurately, another good shift.
  • Well, except for that disastrous four minutes in the first period, this has been –if nothing else — a respectable showing. Unfortunately…that four minute stretch…
  • Empty netter for FW.
  • You win some, you lose some.
  • Still, four of six points is not bad.
  • ECONOMOS!! That was a beautiful shot.
  • This is definitely a far more respectable finish than the early going suggested we might see.
  • Utah falls 6-4.

None of the Grizzlies earned a star, but Walters, Ottenbreit, and McGauley all had noticeably strong nights, and Richart was more or less his usual stalwart self on defense, as well as contributing the big Grizzlies’ opening goal. Cannata had a bad first period, but after that pulled himself together.

Obviously in an ideal world, the Grizzlies would have taken at least a point tonight, but overall, four points of a possible six, including two against the one of the very top teams in the league, in four days makes for a good road trip.

Utah returns home to face the Tulsa Oilers this week.

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard & staff.

Utah Grizzlies @ Wheeling Nailers: Hammer Time

With the exception of Kevin Carr in net, the roster in Wheeling remained as they had in the Grizzlies’ win in Cincinnati, though Joey Raats took some shifts at forward.

First Period

  • Both teams exchanging power plays in the first five minutes. Sort of hard to tell how anyone looks when all we’ve got is a black screen… XD
  • Nailers out-shooting Utah 8-3, but sounds like the Sweet Carroll Line is off to a very hot start.
  • Henke strikes first!! He seems to be making quite the habit of that! McGauley and Barron get the assists.
  • Huzzah! We have video! And a power play!
  • Marchment and Walker created a very nice chance there.
  • Aaaaand now we’re five-on-four as Henke, Carroll, and Titcomb are all sent to the box.

Second Period

  • I still can’t believe the Grizzlies got J.T. Henke off waivers.
  • Lots of shots for Wheeling, would really appreciate it if Utah would go play in the offensive zone a little bit more than they are…
  • Oh that was a nice shot. Barron from Walters and Henke on the power play. 2-0 with half the period to go.
  • Carr bobbled there, but still got back in time to make the save.
  • Barron to the box.
  • Yes, you did hear right. Carr is 11-2-1 this season.

Third Period

  • Wheeling with four of the first five shots in the first 2:30, but fortunately, Carr is sharp.
  • Now six shots…though McGauley, Henke, and Economos had nice opportunities (which did not count as shots).
  • Ah that shift was more like it, and it draws a power play!
  • That is not a good power play.
  • Carr continues to be very, very good right now.
  • Tyson keeps mentioning the goalie thing that you don’t mention until they complete it, and it’s making me nervous.
  • It’s been a pretty uneventful period, but considering the score, that’s probably a good thing.
  • Uneventful, but Wheeling is still racking up shots.
  • Empty net for Wheeling…
  • If the Nailers ruin this in the last 40 seconds, I’m never gonna forgive them…
  • Marchment with the empty netter!!
  • With his second SHUT-OUT of the year, Carr improves to 12-2-1 this season, and the Grizzlies remain undefeated in 2019!!
  • Babies don’t belong in refrigerators, just saying.
  • 3-0 Utah!

Kevin Carr’s 30/30 saves easily earned him first star of the game, while Henke and Barron (both with a goal and an assist) got the second and third stars. It’s a very quick turnaround for the team, as they get on the bus tonight to head to Fort Wayne, where they will finish off the road trip tomorrow (Saturday).

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

Utah Grizzlies @ Cincinnati Cyclones: Measuring Up

For the first time in quite a while, the Grizzlies iced 16 skaters with Nolan De Jong, Josh Anderson, and Turner Ottenbreit all in the lineup. Joe Cannata got the start against Cincinnati, who have a number of former Grizzlies: Nate Mitton, Mitch Jones, and Eric Knodel.

First Period

  • Couple of great looks for the Grizzlies early.
  • Cannata misplays the puck and Cinci strikes first. In Cannata’s defense, he hasn’t played in quite a while.
  • Aaaand now Walters to the box. This is definitely not ideal.
  • Oh that was some sweet, sweet passing leading to Henke’s eleventh goal, and on the power play!

  • Some pushing and shoving leads to offsetting minors to Ottenbreit and Boomhower.
  • Lots of space here on the ice now that we’re four-on-three.
  • That is a GLORIOUS way to break the slump!! Walters with a very nice goal two-on-one with Richart.
  • So many penalties in this game.
  • 2-1 lead, shots 11-8 for us. A good start.

Second Period

  • Aaaand we’re tied again.
  • That was a very nice look from McGauley.
  • WHY would you start a shoving match in front of Cannata with Ottenbreit, Carroll, and Zahn standing right there? That seems like a bad idea!
  • Ausmus is having another strong game.
  • Economos gets run over and Josh Anderson takes exception, dropping the gloves with Justin Vaive.
  • This felt like a fairly uneventful period, even with the goal and the fight.
  • I SPOKE TOO SOON. I’M SO SORRY.
  • This was not ideal.
  • 3-2 after two.

Third Period

  • Walker got the first shot of the period just 12 seconds in, and no one else has got one in the next 4+ minutes.
  • Fight number two of the game goes to Carroll and Arvin Atwal who started a fight behind the play.
  • Aaaand we have another fight. Barron drops the gloves with Aquin this time.
  • Half a period to go, each team has only got one shot this period.
  • Considering the Grizzlies trail by one, we’re gonna need some more shots…
  • TIM MCGAULEY WITH A TERRIFIC SHOT.

  • And boy did that wake up both teams.
  • Well, regulation solves nothing!

OT

  • Cincinnati has all four shots in OT so far…
  • Fortunately Cannata has been SOLID in extra time.
  • That was a nice spinning shot from Walters.
  • That was an irritatingly good save from Houser.

Shootout

  • Round 1
    McGauley🚨
    Glotov 🚫
  • Round 2
    Walters 🚫
    Marnell 🚨
  • Round 3
    Walker 🚨
    Powell 🚫
  • WALKER GOES BAR DOWN!! He’s making quite a habit of winning shots!
  • CANNATA WITH THE SAVE!!
  • 4-3 GRIZZLIES!!!

Walker’s game winner earned him first star, Cincinnati’s Mike Marnell got second star, And Walters took third star with a goal and an assist.

The Grizzlies considered this meeting against the best team in the conference a “measuring stick game”. Considering it took a shoot-out to break the deadlock, and that the shots were a very close 36-32 for Utah, it would seem that they measure up very well. Utah remains on top of the Mountain Division, and holds games in hand on all of their division rivals. It might not have been the most dazzling game the Grizzlies have played this season, but they got the job done, and that’s what matters.

They will now head out to Wheeling for Friday’s game.

Utah Grizzlies vs Wichita Thunder: Home Sweep Home

With Nolan De Jong loaned to the AHL San Jose Barracuda, the Grizzlies went into this game back down to nine forwards and five defensemen, counting Ryan Misiak as a defenseman. Even though Joe Cannata returned from Colorado, the Grizzlies went with the hot hand in Kevin Carr.

First Period

  • That seemed like a really fast first five minutes. Shots 3-1 for Utah, not much by way of whistles, just good, quick hockey.
  • Henke, Barron, and Richart all just barely missed the net in a very short period of time.
  • And now Walters and Dzakhov with a pair.
  • Kevin Carr is in the zone again.
  • All your second chances belong to the Grizzlies.
  • The more he plays, the more I like Dzakhov.
  • This has been a very businesslike first period. Already half-way through, and there hasn’t been a penalty or many whistles.
  • So I say that and Utah gets a power play.
  • The puck support has been really good the past two games especially. As demonstrated there by Zahn and Raats.
  • Carr makes a crazy series of saves, and the crowd is loving it.
  • Walters gets held down in front of the net with, and we all resent that.
  • Zahn with the penalty less than a minute before the end of the first.

Second Period

  • McGauley and Barron had a really nice short-handed chance there.
  • That was almost very bad…fortunately, Carr wasn’t going to let that one-on-none get past him.
  • Well, we’re certainly not scoreless from lack of effort from the boys!
  • JUST CALL HIM ROCKET RICHART!! 1-0 Utah!!
  • And just to keep everyone excited, Economos and Crevier-Morin drop the gloves! It’s been a busy first five minutes!
  • With Economos in the box for five minutes, Misiak appears to be taking shifts at forward.
  • OH MAN, if Jack Walker had been facing the other way, that would have been a goal for sure.
  • Uhg. After all that, Wichita ties it up.
  • Cam Reid levels Joey Raats, and we’re off to the power play.

Third Period

  • Walters gets hauled down on a breakaway, and somehow it’s Dzakhov going to the box for interference. That seems…not right. As Adrian Denny used to say, I don’t know about that.
  • Economos to the box for high-sticking. And of course it’s Cam Reid who makes it 2-1.
  • Walters has had some serious chances lately, but he’s just been so snake bitten.
  • Power play time!
  • THE SWEET CARROLL LINE MAKES IT 2-2!!
  • Richart with a really sweet move, but Stuart Skinner is up for the challenge.
  • A series of unfortunate events puts the puck right on Larkin’s stick. 3-2 for Wichita.
  • Henke sure didn’t miss by much on that shot.
  • Pretty sure Ausmus should have gotten a penalty there, but I guess we can call this even for that time where we should have gotten a call earlier!
  • CARROLL SCORES AGAIN TO TIE IT AGAIN. Walters and Raats get the assists!
  • Penalty for the Thunder!
  • To OT we go!!

OT

  • Good possession to open OT on the power play, but nothing doing.
  • JACK WALKER IN OT!!!!!
  • GRIZZLIES WIN 4-3!!

Walker’s OT game winner and assist on Carroll’s first goal earned him the first star of the game, Austin Carroll got second star with his two third period goals, and Taylor Richart, who started the scoring, earned third star honors. Kevin Carr also could have earned one of the stars, especially with his play in the first two periods before the team started scoring. Additionally, both Walker and McGauley had two assists each and were also stand-outs.

“I didn’t even know I scored, really,” Walker said when asked about his goal, “I just came around the net and was actually looking for a pass back-door, and it just kind of happened to find it’s way in, but I’ll take it, and it’s a good two points for the team!”

With just a couple of exceptions, Branham was pleased with his team’s effort. “I thought those first two periods we played pretty well, pretty hockey,” he said, “Bad break there at the end of the second, there was four or five mistakes that led to that goal, we can’t allow that to happen in the last two minutes of the period. And then the third period,  Wichita’s a good team. They are. They’re a good team, they have a good goaltender, we probably could have had five or six goals. The goalie played well, so did ours. Kevin made some big stops there. What can you say? The boys’ resiliency, they never stopped working, there was no panic on the bench. Austin Carroll, big game for him.”

Branham had further words of praise for all three stars of the game. “[Carroll’s] a good player, spent three years in the American League, he knows how to play the game the right way, plays hard, plays physical, he can score goals, he’s got good hands for a big man. Another player I thought played really well today was Taylor Richart. He just had a solid game all around, offensively, defensively, he was really good. And then Jack Walker, he’s really picking it up. He’s becoming a really big part of this team and he’s doing a good job.”

“That was a huge third period.” Carroll himself said, “More than anything, the boys just came together huge. Being down a goal once, coming back, being down a goal again, and coming back, and then Walker there in overtime just to finish it off, it’s a big character win and I know we’re all happy and coaches are happy as well, so it’s a good feeling.”

The Grizzlies will look to carry the momentum from these three wins into their upcoming road trip, where they hope that playing hard and keeping things simple will serve them as well in Cincinnati, Wheeling, and Fort Wayne as it has this week.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.