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 @ 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.

 

 

 

 

Utah Grizzlies vs. Wichita Thunder: A Wild, Wild Wednesday

It’s a new year, and I’m going to try something a little different. The Grizzlies always post a game recap on their website, so I’m going to take a leaf out of the Habs Eyes on the Prize book and do a modified version of what we call “Top Six Minutes”, which is very informal in style, and therefore much easier to produce while running around like a mad person during home games.

With the return of Travis Barron, Nolan De Jong, and Jake Marchment, as well as the signing of Stanislav Dzakhov, the Grizzlies played with the closest thing to a full roster that they’d had in weeks. Kevin Carr got the start behind ten forwards and five defensemen, and with Joe Cannata back in the AHL, Jay Stevens made an appearance as the EBUG.

First Period

  • Naturally, former Grizz Ralph Cuddemi gets the first shot of the game. Fortunately, Carr smothers it.
  • Wichita scores first. Not an ideal start, that’s for sure.
  • Really nice defensive move by J.T. Henke there to prevent a one-on-none.
  • Wichita has jumped out to a 5-0 lead in shots…
  • That was a really nifty spin-o-rama from Ryan Walters to hold onto puck possession, and look at that! A power play!
  • Some really quick whistles in a row here…
  • After a rough start, Utah seems to have settled down nicely. Carr with some good saves, and shots are now 5-4.
  • Jack Walker with those wheels.
  • Utah takes over the shot lead with just under five to go in the first!
  • That Sweet Carroll Line picks up right where they left off at the end of last year! Austin Carroll from Walker and De Jong to tie the game!
  • That was NOT a good hit on Dzakhov. He’s down on the ice, and Jakob Stukel gets a match penalty for an illegal check to the head.

Second Period

  • The good news is that Dzakhov is on the bench to start the period.
  • The bad news is that penalties to Marchment and Richart killed off the remainder of that lengthy power play pretty effectively.
  • Of course Cam Reid scores on the power play with an assist from Ralph Cuddemi.
  • Walker ties it up, tapping the puck past Stuart Skinner for his first! Carroll and Marchment get the assists.
  • Barron makes it 3-2 on the power play! Assists to Henke and De Jong.
  • Another power play for Utah, and less than a minute after Barron’s goal, Marchment makes it 4-2 with a sweet move. Carroll and Richart get the assists.
  • PHEW. That was a wild couple of minutes!!
  • Now if they’d stop the insanity for just a few minutes so I can catch my breath…
  • Side note, shots are now 24-10 for Utah!
  • Well, that was a FUN period.

Third Period

  • One of these days that big shot of Gage Ausmus’ is gonna find the back of the net.
  • TIM MCGAULEY GOES BAR DOWN!!
  • Goal number five spells the end of Skinner’s night. Edwin Minney is in net now.
  • Carroll getting up in a Wichita player’s face. Boy is he fun to have back in the lineup. He brings it all: goals, exciting skating, and all that snark!
  • Walters in on a breakaway short-handed gets tied up, but gets an offensive zone draw!
  • McGauley wanted another one, but Minney shuts him down.
  • MacMillan gives Dzakhov a couple of jabs, and when Dzakhov turns around to retaliate, he’s dinged with a penalty.
  • With just under three to go, Iacobellis gets a third, on yet another assist from Reid.
  • 1:30 to go, Wichita’s net is empty…
  • GRIZZLIES WIN 5-3!!! Final shot count 31-22 for Utah.
  • Aaaaand of course there’s nonsense after the buzzer!

The three stars of the game all went to members of the Carroll Line. Carroll himself got first star with a goal and two assists, Walker’s first goal and sixth assist of the year earned him second star (and his five shots led the team), and Marchment got third star, also with a goal and an assist.

“I thought the first ten minutes of that hockey game we were just losing battles, they were beating us to pucks, winning battles, and then as the first period went on I thought we got better” said Tim Branham. “We took control in the second with our power play, for sure, and then in the third I thought we played well too. But there’s still some things we need to clean up to make things a little easier on ourselves, but definitely proud of our effort tonight. We’re short-handed again, and found a way to win.”

When asked what Carroll brings to the lineup, and what his return means to the team Branham said, “American league experience, winning experience, he can make plays, a big part of the early success of our hockey club, it’s definitely nice to have him back for as long as we have him.”

The Grizzlies will face off against the Thunder once again on Friday and Saturday.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

Utah Grizzlies: A Clean Sweep

With three straight wins under his belt, Joe Cannata got a well-deserved night off, Kevin Carr in nets being the only change in lineup.

J.T. Henke, and Jeremy Brodeur both ended up in the back of the Allen net 27 seconds in, sending Henke to the box, and Allen to the power play. There was nearly a disaster as the Utah defense left an Allen player wide open with a clear look at a gaping net, but he whiffed on the shot, and Carr dove on the puck. Henke returned to the ice with no further incident, shots 2-2.

The Grizzlies spent far more time in their own zone early than was strictly comfortable, but Carr kept them at bay early. Utah did also get some nice forays into the offensive zone, including one from Tim McGauley that culminated in a shot that ruffled the outside of the netting,

Carr took a delay of game penalty at 6:16, and David Makowski scored Allen’s first of the series five seconds later.

The Americans continued to keep the Grizzlies in their own end following the goal, though Utah held the slight edge in shots.

At 10:38 Cole Ully put the puck straight through Brodeur to tie the game on his sixth of the year. Unsurprisingly, Caleb Herbert got the primary assist, while Turner Ottenbreit got the secondary.

After the Utah goal, the Grizzlies looked more collected, spending more time in the offensive zone than previously. At about 13:36 Taylor Richart got hit and went off just a little bit gingerly. Jake Marchment took exception to this, and dropped the gloves with Jacob Doty. Doty got the edge on the bout, though Marchment gave a good account of himself, and both were sent off to cool their heels.

Richart broke up a play at the offensive zone blue line, but took a tripping call in doing so with 4:30 to go in the period.

The Grizzlies killed that off, and towards the end of the period, things got a little bit snarly. Gage Ausmus got called for holding, and then as Allen crashed the Utah net, Carr was shoved over. That gathered quite a crowd, and Carr wasn’t afraid to take his own revenge. Spencer Asuchak got two for roughing, and the period came to an end, shots 13-10 for Utah, tied 1-1.

The second period began with 1:20 of four-on-four before a very brief Grizzlies’ power play.

Though both teams got shots, the Grizzlies held more zone time in the first five minutes or so, out shooting Allen 17-13.

At 7:38 Josh Dickinson slung the puck past Jeremy Brodeur for his first with the Grizzlies, from Tim McGauley and Henke, who also picked up his first point with the team.

The Grizzlies came on strong after that, and Asuchak hauled Cole Ully down to send Utah back to the power play.

Asuchak and Doty seemed intent on stirring up trouble on the ensuing shift, but the refs kept them in line, and they contented themselves with throwing some big hits. At 12:10 Asuchak took a very weak two minutes for supposed interference against Josh Anderson, and Utah went off to the advantage.

McGauley capitalized in the dying seconds of the power play, scoring his seventh from Henke and Berry.

Austin Carroll struck just about a minute later scoring his sixth of the season from Marchment and Ryan Walters, and Zach Pochiro got thrown out for ten minutes for throwing equipment.

Walters took a tripping call at 17:49, but the Grizzlies killed it off, and the period came to an end.

The Grizzlies came out looking like the better team in the third, and there were plays against Walters and Ully that probably could have been calls. Carr continued to hold down the fort, and the Grizzlies’ defense once again did well, at least for a while.

Braylon Shmyr got a slashing call, followed by a holding call on Berry in the first ten minutes. Makowski got his second of the game at 12:19, cutting the lead in half. Walters took a tripping call at 16:49, Allen pulled Brodeur for the extra, extra attacker, and on the ensuing power play, Alex Breton made it 4-3.

However, Caleb Herbert scored his seventeenth goal of the year into the empty net, dangling around both Allen defenders to put the game out of reach. So Utah won 5-4, though out shot 39-35.

“Total team effort, that’s for sure.” Tim Branham said after the game, “When guys are out of the lineup other guys step up and we’re pretty deep. And now secondary scoring, all around a team effort that’s for sure. It’s really tough to sweep a team three in a row, so it was a good effort to get it done.”

When asked about his first goal with the Grizzlies, Josh Dickinson said, “It’s really nice. Getting the sweep is important, getting the first one out of the way was a lot of fun. It was definitely good to get it out of the way.”

After a number of games dominated by the first line, this game saw some secondary scoring, which didn’t surprise Dickinson. “We’ve got three lines that can go out in every situation so I think we have the confidence with each other to go out and play our best game.”

“We haven’t let in a goal in a little bit,” he added, “But that’s how it goes, there’s some good players on other teams, so we’re gonna let in some goals, and we’re gonna have a couple of mistakes on our end, but we found a way to win, came out with the sweep, so that’s the most important part.”

After a highly successful home stand that saw them improve to 12-2-3-0, which ties them with Tulsa atop the Western conference, the Grizzlies will finish November on the road against Rapid City.

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff