Monday Munchies: Charley Graaskamp

During the 2017-18 season, we chatted with a handful of Grizzlies, including Ryan Walters, Travis Howe, Taylor Richart, and coaches Tim Branham and Ryan Kinasewich about their favourite foods, recipes, and more. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing one every Monday, so get out your pots and pans, and enjoy!

What’s your favourite kind of food?
I’m going to have to go with Mexican food.

Why is it your favourite?
I don’t know, I guess I’m a big Chipotle fan, and I like cooking spicier food too.

What’s your favourite recipe?
Probably the one I provided, the avocado chicken. It’s easy, it’s avocado, I love avocado,¬† it’s pretty simple to make, and doesn’t take too long.

Do you enjoy cooking?
I do. I really like cooking.

Are you any good at it?
I mean, my roommates may beg to differ, we’ve had a few close calls with the smoke alarms, but I’m actually pretty good at cooking.

Who on the team (or among your roommates) is the best cook?
Among my roommates, Marchment and Brandon, for sure me. Brandon’s new, so maybe he’s better, but I don’t know yet!

What about the worst cook?
Worst cook…I don’t know. It’s hard to say worst cook, cause if a person doesn’t cook…So I’m going to go with Jake Marchment just because I’ve never seen him cook anything in his life!

Recipe: Chicken and Avocado Burritos 

If you try these recipes, or any of the others, take a picture and share it with us on social media (Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram)!

Previous posts:
Ryan Walters
Rob Mann
Mitch Jones
Sam Windle

Utah Grizzlies: The Best Is Yet To Come

Coming off a 6-3 win, Utah looked to build off their performance, and end the year on a high note. With the exception of Charley Graaskamp drawing in for Zach Saar, and Angus Redmond getting the start, the lineup remained unchanged.

The first period started with a bang, literally, as Jon Puskar and Justin Parizek dropped the gloves just 21 seconds in. Puskar got the take-down, and both players were sent to the box to cool their heels.

Once again, Idaho had good possession, getting five shots to Utah’s one, and then striking first at 3:08 once again from Jefferson Dahl.

With Puskar in the box, Graaskamp centred the first line, to some effect, and Greger Hanson rang iron. Unfortunately, Idaho came the other way on the next shift and made it 2-0 at 6:49.

Utah got a couple shots thereafter, but half of them went into the crest on Ryan Faragher’s jersey, and he had clear sight-lines on them all.

Michael Pelech took a charging minor at 10:15, and Kyle Thomas played hero on the penalty kill, blocking a hard shot and going down. He got up slowly, and immediately blocked another shot before making it off the ice.

It paid off, as the Grizzlies went the other way, Taylor Richart got off a big shot, and Graaskamp banged the rebound past Faragher from the doorstep.

Graaskamp took a tripping call with five minutes left in the first, but Utah got to the intermission still 2-1, despite being out-shot 15-11.

The second got off to a good start, as Puskar drew a penalty just 53 seconds into the period, as Dodero was a little too enthusiastic in his crosschecking in front of the Idaho net.

Unfortunately, it went down-hill from there. Jefferson Dahl hit Ryan Olsen hard along the boards at 1:33 and Olsen was very slow to get up. He got himself in trouble on the way back to the bench, jawing at Dahl, and was sent to the box, negating the power play. As soon as he left the box, he took a surprisingly ill-judged roughing call on Dahl again, and went straight back to the box. Steven McParland scored at 5:24, and Olsen found himself benched for the remainder of the game.

Idaho iced the puck a couple of times after their goal, but with 9:27 to go, Utah had spent a lot of time fighting off Idaho possession in their own zone. All three lines had a few good shifts, but then Pelech took a tripping call. Idaho promptly capitalized once more, and Redmond’s night was over.

Baldwin got his stick between Thomas’ legs, tripping him up, and when no call was forthcoming, the 5385 fans in attendance were riotous in their disapproval. Utah drew a power play at 14:42, and then drew another one at 15:13, giving them a 90 second five-on-three. The Grizzlies got some looks, but the Idaho kill closed ranks, and a golden opportunity was squandered.

Though Utah did not capitalize on the power play, the final two minutes of the second were much better, getting some great chances around Faragher, including a breakaway from Puskar. After 40, shots were 26-22, and the score 4-1 after some uncharacteristically ill-advised penalties led directly to goals.

Down 4-1, faced with the task of putting four past Faragher, things looked grim. But of course, it’s the Grizzlies, and when they’re rolling, it’s not wise to count them out before a game (or a season) is over.

Utah came out flying to start the third, and never really looked back. Mitch Jones continued his outstanding play, throwing a huge shot through traffic, and Ryan Walters tipped it home to cut the lead in half 3:30 into the third.

Cody Corbett took a hooking call on the next shift, and Utah made Idaho pay. With 23 seconds left in the advantage, Thomas dished to Pelech behind the net, Pelech tossed it to Puskar in the slot, and he made no mistake. And so it was 4-3 with over thirteen minutes to go, an amped up crowd, and a buzzing team.

Graaskamp electrified the fans, tying the game at 9:29, for his first career two goal game on with a phenomenal effort and assist by Chris Leibinger.

Carr was terrific in relief, making a couple of big saves to keep the game tied.

Thomas looked like he’d scored the game winner with 5:35 to go, but the refs called off the goal on supposed goaltender interference. Though that drew some ire from the Grizzlies, they kept their foot on the accelerator, and their eyes on the finish line.

Puskar and Chatham got matching penalties, Puskar for cross-checking, Chatham for embellishment at 16:15, and then Pelech and Corbett immediately followed them on the next shift getting matching roughs 12 seconds later. Lost in all that was a crazy dipsy-doodle from Leibinger to keep the puck alive.

Carr and Jones made some big saves and blocks as the game entered the last two minutes of the period, and the Grizzlies fought their way through a strong Idaho push.

At the buzzer, Brendan Harms took on Corbin Baldwin, despite giving up a good five inches, and forty pounds, and though Baldwin decidedly got the best of it, it was a spirited finish to an excellent period.

OT saw both teams getting good chances, including a rocket from Richart on a ridiculous play from Hanson. Leibinger also had a big chance, and Carr and the defense answered on the other end of the ice. At the end of overtime, there was no change in score, and Utah went to the shoot-out.

With the spectre of three shoot-out losses, and zero shoot-out goals looming large over the Maverik Center, Graaskamp put up another first, scoring his first career shoot-out goal, and the Grizzlies’ first of the year. Carr let in one Idaho goal, and Faragher stoned Puskar. With the game once again on his stick, the Captain delivered, capping off an incredible comeback, and giving the Grizzlies their first shoot-out win of the season in the last game of the year.

“Well, I didn’t like the fact that we gave up 15 shots in the first period.” Tim Branham said of the game. “You knew they were going to come out hard, but you’ve gotta be ready for them. We put ourselves in a hole, getting down early, and then taking a couple of dumb penalties. We haven’t had too many discipline issues this year, and so it wasn’t good to see that. So we put ourselves in a deep hole there going into the third period, but I mean, this group has come back so many times in the third period. We just did it again, and found a way, and it feels good. We needed it. Obviously, that’s a tough opponent there, we gained three points on them in the standings, and we just got to keep it going.”

He also reiterated how much Thomas’ return means to the Grizzlies’ depth, and how good their record is with him in the lineup (it’s 10-4-2-1), and pointed out again that the Grizzlies are still missing what had been their top pairing in Cliff Watson and James Melindy.

After being benched for four straight games, Graaskamp came out swinging, picking up two goals, and one in the shoot out, en rout to being named the first star of the game. Branham was nothing but complementary about his performance, and also shed some light on why he hasn’t been a more consistent member of the lineup.

“He was a veteran player tonight, right from Puskar getting in that fight early, it got Charley into the game early, and some confidence. He’s a good player. He’s a project for me, he’s a young kid coming out of major juniors. He’s got a lot of talent, and a lot of skill and I’m really itching to see how he is at the end of the year, and how he develops. You look at his points, and it’s like ‘how is a guy like that not in the lineup consistently?’ and, well, it’s the play without the puck, and tonight he was a veteran player. He was all over the ice, obviously scoring goals, tenacious, finishing checks, playing a game like that should only build his confidence. It’s great to see.”

“He’s just an awesome kid, obviously from Wisconsin,” he added with a grin, “But no. Honestly, he’s just an awesome kid, and I’m so glad to see he’s doing well.”

He’s not the only one doing well. It seems that after an anemic start, and a few false spikes, the Grizzlies’ goal-scoring is on a real upward trajectory, as they have scoring four or more in five of the last seven. Moreover, looking to the new year, if the records in three of the last four years are any kind of precedent, the Grizzlies’ post-Christmas record should be much improved.

Last year in the first 25 games, Utah went 9-14-1-1 before going 29-15-4-1. This year, though they have fewer wins, Utah has picked up more points, going 7-11-5-2, and the up-swing may already be underway, as they’ve gone 4-1-1-0 in the last five games.

Regardless of what the rest of this season holds, this game was an exciting cap to 2017, and we can look forward to 2018 with anticipation.



Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard/Jess Fleming and staff

Utah Grizzlies: A Night of Firsts

When a team loses three games in a row to start a season, it’s easy to obsess over the negatives, to get caught up in the lack of goals, or the rebounds, or the defensive lapses. But at the end of the day, it’s three games with a team finding their feet and their identity.

In Monday’s first match-up against the Norfolk Admirals in franchise history, there were some changes to the lineup. Charley Graaskamp and Brendan Harms suited up for their pro debuts in place of Zach Saar and Peter Sivak.

Utah had some good puck possession in the early going, but Tim Daly got the first high-danger chance for Norfolk.

Then the Grizzlies ran into some penalty trouble. Norfolk scored on their second man advantage, the primary assist going to, you guessed it, Tim Daly.

Utah got a chance on the power play when Ryan Olsen got taken down in the middle of a great scoring chance. The Grizzlies’ power play was one of their better ones this season, and the puck did, in fact end up in the back of the net, but as the net was coming off its moorings, it was immediately and emphatically waived off.

Norfolk scored again with 2:21 to go, as Grant Besse was left all alone in front of Redmond.

Things didn’t get a whole lot better before the end of the period, with Angelo Miceli scoring with 28 seconds left in the frame.

The second began far better than the first ended, at least in terms of puck possession. Unfortunately it did not improve in other ways.

After some back and forth play that saw Utah even up the shot count, Norfolk took a slashing penalty, but Kyle Thomas took a high-sticking penalty, and the teams played 4-on-4 for 43 seconds, only for C.J. Eick to take a holding penalty, Norfolk scored into a wide open net with 9:04 to go.

At the buzzer, a number of players went into the boards, and a cranky crowd gathered. The upshot of that was that Thomas and Alex Pompeo got coincidental double minors for roughing, and Hanson got two for tripping.

The Grizzlies killed off the penalty, to start the third, but at 4:52 Norfolk scored yet again, making it 5-0. That very well could have been the end, but instead, Utah improved, while the Admirals faded.

One of the most frustrating things in this early season has been watching the top line get chance after chance to no avail, knowing that they’d be productive once they got that first goal…if only they could get that first goal.

Just past the 10 minute mark, Michael Pelech did just that, banging the puck past Jake Paterson to break the shutout. Hanson and Thomas got the assists, giving all three their first points of the season.

Barely two minutes later, the same line struck again, this time it was Hanson with his first of the year, making it 5-2 from Richart and Pelech.

Galvanized by two goals in such rapid succession, the Grizzlies continued to press on, and were rewarded at 15:35 when Graaskamp scored his first pro goal.

The Grizzlies continued to hustle, pulling Redmond with two minutes left, but were unable to close the gap any further.

However, despite the loss, three goals in under five minutes, two from the woefully snake bitten first line, and one from the the rookie in his debut made for a far more exciting finish than it had looked like it would be at the end of second period.

“It was pretty neat seeing my name up there on the board between Hanson and Olie [Olsen], two really good special players,” Graaskamp said when asked about his debut. “Just kind of wanted to take it a shift at a time, and play to my strengths and play my game. It just so happened that Cliff made a great play, and [I] ended up scoring a goal.”

“I think it was a tail of two halves.” Greger Hanson said of the game. “I thought we played better in the second half overall, we kind of found a little bit of a sample of what we can do better, if we keep playing like this I think we’ll be rewarded. But the first half of the game was not acceptable.”

Of his first goal of the season, he added: “It was nice. I think it started something, definitely. I’m not used to not scoring. I have a history of scoring, so when I’m not, I know I’m not doing something right. I’m not helping the team so it was nice. Hopefully it can spark the team going forward.”

Hanson’s goal and assist earned him the third star of the game, and praise from Tim Branham.

“Greger, that’s what he’s capable of right there. He was pretty determined there at the end of the game to play hard and to get the job done. He’s been good every game, to be honest. He makes things happen every single game, and even though he wasn’t getting the production, he was still making plays. He’s tough to defend.”

“Hopefully we got that out of our system.” He said, speaking of the weird bounces and defensive lapses that led to several of the goals Utah allowed. “I think maybe a couple of their goals were a result of us not scoring at the other end too. You put one in early or in between their two and three, and maybe the third one doesn’t happen kind of thing. Then obviously, when we want to work hard, we can be really good offensively. So I think we finally saw that tonight, and hopefully we just keep that momentum rolling into next game.”

That next game is tonight (Wednesday) at 7 in Idaho.


Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard/Jess Fleming and other staff photographers