Utah Grizzlies: Friday Funday

After a disappointing effort on Wednesday night, Utah got some reinforcements on Friday night. Forwards Mitch Hults (assigned by Anaheim to get ice time during the all star break) and Nate Mitton (who attended training camp) both joined the Grizzlies prior to the game, drawing into the lineup in place of Erik Higby and C.J. Eick. Hults, a centerman, slotted in with Ryan Walters and Austin Ortega, while Mitton played with Brad Navin and Brendan Harms.

The game got off to a rocky start with a couple of quick penalties. Mitton flew into the Tulsa end looking not at all like a guy adjusting to the altitude, and first drew what looked like an interference call, but then was mysteriously dinged with an embellishment call as well.

Shortly thereafter, James Melindy and Justin Selman went off with “roughing” and tripping calls respectively, and then Travis Howe dropped the gloves with Mike McKee off the face-off at 4:30. Howe got some really huge punches in, and the 6,843 in attendance roared their support.

Unfortunately, the Grizzlies coughed the puck up in their own zone, and Tulsa made it 1-0.

It looked, for a moment, like the Grizzlies were doomed to give up a quick second goal as Chris Leibinger lost the puck at the blue line, and the Oilers came in uncontested. However, Taylor Richart flew back from the far side to cut off the attempt.

Cliff Watson drew Utah’s first power play at 6:30. Tulsa got a short-handed shot against, but at the tail end of the advantage, Leibinger skated the puck down behind the Tulsa net, and threw it to Puskar just above the blue paint. Utah’s first shot of the game found the back of the net to tie it up. The assists on Puskar’s eleventh of the year went to Leibinger and Harms.

Utah got yet another crack on the power play less than a minute later, but despite Kyle Thomas’ bet efforts, Tulsa killed that one off. Watson got tripped up without a call, Leibinger stepped in on Ryan Tesink, who was sent sprawling before Dylan Hubbs jumped in on Leibinger. Both players got a couple of good punches in, and when the dust settled, Hubbs got an extra two for instigating.

Sean Maguire made a big save on a short-handed stretch pass that saw an Oilers player alone behind the defense, but after that, the Grizzlies got set up in the offensive zone. Hults got a huge shot off from the point, and Richart’s shot from the blue line flew into a crowd in front of the net. Ryan Misiak got his stick on the rebound, and Ortega scored his fifth power play goal in eleven games.

Mitton got a very nice chance on the ensuing shift, and Mitch Jones also got off a rocket in his return. Howe demonstrated that his hands are good for things besides big punches, making a nice play to keep the puck in the zone as the third line had a very strong shift. Tulsa had a hard time holding onto the puck in front of their own net, and Utah pounced on every opportunity, but were unable to capitalize.

Watson got a great chance at the end of the first, and Utah went into the locker room leading 2-1, and out-shooting Tulsa 13-8, despite having been out-shot 5-0 at one point in the period.

 

The third line got another really strong shift in a few minutes into the second, Mitton getting a shot off of of a hard-working cycle from Navin.

Tommy Vannelli tripped up Ortega at 2:55, and Ortega got up ready to fight. Vannelli didn’t oblige, but the two went off for slashing and unsportsmanlike conduct.

Utah controlled the ensuing four-on-four, and Melindy got a nice spinning shot off. Navin had another strong shift with Puskar, Leibinger, and Sam Windle. Leibinger and Puskar also got a scoring chance off the rush. On the defensive side of things, Jones hounded an Oilers player into the defensive zone to prevent a chance against.

After the teams returned to full strength, the third line had another terrific shift that culminated in a gorgeous goal from Navin, whose first goal since November 1st was a top shelf snipe. Howe got his first point of the year on the primary assist, while Harms got his eleventh with the secondary.

The same line had another big shift, and a couple of minutes later, Melindy took a high-stick, sending Utah to their fourth straight power play at 10:10.

Puskar and Richart both got good looks, and Utah got a lengthy five-on-three at 10:52. The first wave power play of Hults, Ortega, Thomas, Walters, and Watson got some really nice offensive zone pressure going, but weren’t able to capitalize, and Tulsa killed off both penalties.

Howe took a slashing call as the game got a little rough in the corners with 6:13 to go. The penalty kill came up big for Howe, Misak and Puskar orchestrating a couple of clears, as the Grizzlies allowed zero shots.

With less than two minutes to go, Melindy made a big defensive play and was sent off for holding. Maguire made a couple of big saves, and the period came to an end. After 40, Utah led 3-1, out-shooting the Oilers 24-16.

The Grizzlies began the third with just four seconds of Melindy’s penalty on the clock, and about four minutes later, Maguire made a couple of big saves, and Utah cleared the puck out of certain danger.

Watson made it 4-1 at 4:35, as the puck rolled past Hildebrand surprisingly uncontested. Walters got the primary assist, while Hults picked up his first point with the Grizzlies.

Tulsa pushed back, getting a couple of good shifts of their own, but weren’t able to capitalize until past the half-way mark, as the entire roster played hard and blocked shots.

With 8:05 to go, Utah got tied up in their own zone, and Tulsa scored to cut the lead in half.

The Oilers continued to work, but Maguire shut the door when shots made it through, and at 15:36 McKee got a closing hand on the puck penalty.

It took the Grizzlies just six seconds to capitalize. Leibinger held the puck in the zone, passed to Richart, who shot once again from the point. The puck bounced to Harms, who put it past Hildebrand from a tight angle. The goal was his fourth of the year, and his third against Tulsa.

That was pretty much the game, both teams got a couple more shots, but at the final buzzer, the 5-2 lead belonged to Utah, who out-shot the Oilers 31-24.

Utah is now only one point behind Tulsa, and four behind Allen, who own the final playoff spot in the Mountain Division.

In addition to a big two points, the game broke a couple of long time goalless streaks for Harms and Navin, Harms picking up three points and first star of the game, while Navin got his third point in three games. Without a doubt, Utah played a complete sixty, as well as a complete game from the entire roster. Maguire was awarded the second star of the game, while Howe took the third with the fight and assist.

“When we play like we want it, we’re tough to handle.” Tim Branham said after the game. “We’ve got some guys—when you can add Mitch Hults, Austin Ortega—when you’ve got guys who can score goals, it helps. We’ve lost a lot of one goal games. Our power play has been really hot lately, and we’re able to put the puck in the net. When we’re able to score, good things happen.”

“They’re a hard working team,” he added of the Oilers, “And they actually do a good job of getting to the blue line with speed, just putting pucks on net, and being tenacious. We did a much better job of winning our battles, getting the puck up the ice, controlling the play in the offensive zone. Obviously we spent a lot more time in their zone today than the last game, so we’ve gotta play the same way. They’re gonna come out hard, they’re not gonna be happy they lost today, but if we play with that effort, teams can’t stop us. When everybody is pulling the rope in the right direction, good things happen.”

Moreover, if the third line can keep their momentum going, it will be big for the team going forward. “Before last game, we were one of four teams who had three players or more that were a point a game. We lose those one goal games because we don’t have that depth scoring. So when Navin scores, Harms scores, it’s just huge for us, so we need that depth scoring in order to be able to compete and win those one goal games.”

Ortega’s thoughts were in a similar vein. “We’ve been talking about getting in a playoff spot, we haven’t been happy with the way we’ve been playing, especially last game, and we took it to heart. We had a big meeting about our effort, and I think tonight we were a completely different team, we had a tremendous amount of effort and hard work, and it paid off.”

So what do the Grizzlies have to do on Saturday night to keep rolling? “Same thing with effort and hard work, playing the way we’re supposed to be, and at this point, it’s just consistency.”

If Utah wins tonight (Saturday), they will be on point ahead of Tulsa, closing in on the Allen Americans, who have been on a bit of a losing skid. It would be a huge win for the Grizzlies, and they’ll do have to do it in front of what will likely be a nearly sold-out crowd.

 

 

Image courtesy of Tim Broussard/Jess Fleming and staff

Utah Grizzlies: Wild Wednesday Woes

For the first game of a six game home-stand, the Grizzies’  roster remained the same, Ryan Walters, Brad Navin, Austin Ortega, Cliff Watson, and James Melindy were all in the starting lineup for Utah, while Sean Maguire once again started for Utah.

The game started off with quite a bang, as Travis Howe dropped the gloves with Mike McKee at 2:40, and then barely a minute later Watson dropped the gloves with Kale Kessy. Watson got an extra two, and the Tulsa power play went to work. Grizzlies killed the penalty, and Ortega, and Kyle Thomas made the ensuing minutes quite interesting.

Maguire looked comfortable in his first game in front of the home crowd, and at 15:04 Chris Leibinger absolutely wired the puck to give Utah the 1-0 lead.

Utah got another chance on the advantage later in the period, but after 20, they led 1-0, out-shot 14-10.

Jon Puskar took a stick to the face 4:15 into the second, drawing a double minor, but the Grizzlies were unable to put the puck past Jake Hildebrand, and to make matters worse, Justin Selman scored short-handed with 21 seconds to go.

At 12:29 the third fight of the night occurred after a really quick whistle around the Tulsa net. This time, Howe dropped the gloves with Kale Kessy, and they both went of five five minutes.

Navin took a tripping call at 13:22, but Utah killed it off handily. The rough stuff by no means abated, and with just under 30 seconds go to, Kessy and Maguire got into it, both getting roughing calls.

When the second period came to a close, Tulsa out-shot Utah 22-16 in a 1-1 game.

The final frame opened with 1:38 of four-on-four time, and Ryan Misiak (who had been buzzing all game) got a couple of gorgeous chances, as did Brendan Harms, but both teams returned to full strength.

Misiak got high-sticked in the face about six minutes in, and in the aftermath of a no-call, Tulsa went the other way and took the 2-1 lead.

To add insult to injury, Walters was called for a fairly similar high-stick at 13:18. Though the Oilers did not score on the ensuing power play, by the time there were two minutes to go in the game, they were out-shooting the Grizzlies by a hefty 39-20, and largely out-playing them.

Maguire got pulled with just over a minute left, but Tulsa completed their win with an empty net goal.

Over all, it wasn’t a very inspiring performance from the Grizzlies, particularly in the third period, with a few exceptions. Misiak was noticeable on most of his shifts and was tied with Erik Higby for a team leading three shots. Maguire had a very good game, Howe did his best to spark the team on a number of occasions, and Leibinger’s goal earned him third star honours.

Overall, however, it was a disappointing result. The Oilers are directly ahead of the Grizzlies in the Mountain Division, and instead of leapfrogging them, they conceded two important points.

“Definitely our third period, the effort wasn’t good enough.” Branham said after the game. “To come out with six shots is clearly not what we wanted. Yeah that four minute was definitely a turning point. I don’t think either team got many chances on the power play, but it’s a tight game, definitely until the third period. I thought they controlled the play the majority of the third period. We’ve gotta make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

The Grizzlies have another crack at Tulsa tonight (Friday), as well as on Saturday, which is also Guns ‘N Hoses night.

 

Photo courtesy  of Tim Broussard/Jess Fleming and staff.

Utah Grizzlies: Oy Vay

Following a strong weekend, Grizzlies fans were greeted on Monday morning with the astounding news that Kevin Carr was headed to Zagreb, and the news didn’t get any better as it turned out that Ryan Olsen too was Europe-bound.

With Cliff Watson playing in the All-Star game, and Pelech out, injured, Garrett Haar, Brad Navin, and C.J. Eick all returned to the lineup. Travis Howe returned as well, following his suspension.

The Grizzlies came out hard, largely controlling possession, and getting shots on Adam Vay, all the while keeping Rapid City away from Angus Redmond.

Navin appeared to pick up right where he left off, getting chances, but having no luck finding the back of the net.

Peter Sivak was by far the most dangerous looking player on the team early, but it was Riley Weselowski who made it 1-0 at 14:41.

Sivak also took the first penalty of the night, a slash, and Utah went to the power play with 4:02 to go in the frame.

Chris Leibinger made a terrific move after he lost the puck at the blue-line, and caused just enough chaos that Redmond was able to sweep the puck aside.

At the end of 20, despite being the visibly superior team, Utah headed to the locker room down 1-0, out-shooting the Rush 16-8.

Ryan Misiak began the second centering Austin Ortega and Brendan Harms, while Navin took Ortega’s spot on the third line. With just over four gone in the second, shots were 17-8 for Utah, but the possession was much less one-sided. Rob Mann made a really nice hit to prevent the Rush from leaving the zone, and it led almost immediately to a beautiful shot from Kyle Thomas in the high-slot, but once again, the puck went right into Vay.

Misiak, Harms, and Ryan Walters followed that up with a strong shift, but shortly afterwards, Rapid City had a couple of shifts of their own, forcing Redmond to make some big saves.

Thomas, Walters, Ortega, Eick, and Jon Puskar all had strong shifts, and Eick drew a boarding call with 3:40 to go in the period. Five seconds later, Josh Elmes took a delay of game penalty, putting the Grizzlies on a lengthy five-on-three. It most certainly paid off, with Ortega, Walters, and Thomas connecting for Ortega’s third goal (and sixth point) in six games.

With moments left in the second, there was a pile up around Redmond. Chase Lang and Mitch Jones may have started the kerfuffle, but Thomas definitely ended it. He got five for fighting and two for roughing, while Lang only got five for fighting.

At the end of forty, the game was tied 1-1, shots 26-21 for the Grizzlies, who would start the third with 1:25 of penalty kill time.

Of course, that’s exactly when Sivak capitalized. Just 27 seconds into the period 2-1 Rapid City.

On the other hand, the Grizzlies didn’t deflate, and with 16:56 to go, Puskar made a gorgeous move. It initially looked like Vay had it, but the light and goal-horn went off, so the officials gathered to discuss it. It was declared no goal, which was unfortunate, but definitely looked like the right call.

Navin drew a slashing call on the next shift, but never really got organized. They got another chance on the advantage about six minutes later, but despite some terrific plays from Leibinger, who is such a catalyst for offense and who was especially noticeable quarterbacking the power play, Utah was unable to tie the game.

About four minutes after that, Leibinger made what looked like a terrific defensive play, but was sent off for hooking. The Grizzlies killed it off in style, however. Walters nearly got in on a short-handed chance, Higby and Misiak ran the Rush around their own end, and a post, a big save from Redmond, and another strong shift from Walters and Thomas got Leibinger out of the box.

With a minute to go in a 2-1 game, they pulled Redmond, Leibinger was once again buzzing, but Rapid City got an empty netter right at the buzzer to put the game away.

Redmond stepped into the void left by Carr, and came up huge, turning in what was probably his best start this season. Ortega continues to be strong, getting third star of the game, and Chris Leibinger is a force to be reckoned with.

“I thought we outplayed them, we had lots of scoring chances, once again you’re in that situation where you can’t score goals.” Tim Branham said after the game. “I thought we outworked them the majority of the game” he added, “I thought we out-chanced them. Obviously I didn’t like their goals that they scored, but we have to score more than one goal, and we scored five-on-three. So we have to do a better job of burying our chances.”

Now on to Carr and Olsen going to Europe. It feels a little like the rug got yanked out from under the team just when it looked like they’d finally tacked it down.  But, now is also a good time to remember that the entire blue line had to be rebuilt last year, Ryan Faragher got hurt, and the team still climbed out of a ridiculous hole to make the playoffs.

The Grizzlies already proved that they could comfortably overcome Hanson’s absence with players already on the roster, and while Utah has seemed to struggle line-stability with Olsen out of the lineup (and this game did not help that impression), that’s still only two players that need to be replaced. (Though it certainly isn’t going to be fun with Pelech and Graaskamp out for at least a month…)

Even better, by the time this past was actually written, Sean Maguire has already joined the team, and at least based on his ECHL numbers, he looks like he could be pretty good.

There’s half a season left to play, and the Grizzlies have overcome worse odds than they’re up against now. Things are looking rough, but don’t pack it in just yet.

It ain’t over till it’s over.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard, Jess Fleming, and staff.

 

Utah Grizzlies: Stolen Thunder

After a win in Wichita on Friday night, Utah looked to build on their success. The roster remained the same, Utah once again going with ten forwards, five defensemen, and Kevin Carr on Saturday night.

The Thunder were much more active early, controlling play through the first three minutes. Fortunately, Carr was sharp, and though they weren’t able to keep Wichita out of the offensive zone, they didn’t give up many shots.

The third line got a flurry of opportunities, and Taylor Richart rang the post about five minutes in. Brendan and the Ryans also followed that up with a strong shift.

Michael Pelech took a tripping call for the first penalty of the game, but Olsen grabbed the puck, sprinted out of the zone, shot, and Chris Leibinger slipped one past Shane Starrett at 10:57.

Utah almost immediately drew a tripping call of their own, but were unable to capitalize on the advantage. It didn’t matter, however, because Brendan and the Ryans had a terrific shift, and Misiak made it 2-0 from Harms and Cliff Watson.

Kyle Thomas drew a massive crowd with 2:30 to go, but except for it taking a few moments to break up, nothing came of it, and the period came to an end. Utah led 2-0, out-shooting Wichita 11-9.

Although Brendan and the Ryans had a strong shift a few minutes into the second, it ended with the puck trickling past Carr with agonizing slowness off the stick of Ralph Cuddemi. Cuddemi’s thirteenth of the year would be the Thunder’s only goal.

Mitch Jones took a high-sticking call at 9:14, but Thomas flew in, and scored the Grizzlies’ second short-handed goal of the game.

Misiak nearly got the second line another goal when he received a breakaway pass with about three minutes to go, but Starrett shut the door.

In the end, it didn’t matter either, as the next shift was a good one, and Walters made it 4-1 at 17:59. The assists went to Watson and Jon Puskar.

Olsen took a roughing call towards the end of the period, but Utah went into the locker room 4-1, with the 23-17 edge in shots.

Utah killed off the remainder of Olsen’s penalty to start the third, but Pelech collided with a Wichita player, and both had to be helped off the ice. This put Utah down to nine forwards and five defensemen, but it hindered them not at all.

The rest of the third was surprisingly uneventful, with no penalties, and no goals.

Wichita did hold possession throughout the middle of the period, evening up the shots 24-24, but between shot blocking and some amazing saves from Carr, the game came to an end with no change in score, shots 26-26.

Walters and Misiak were awarded the first and second stars of the game, Walters extending his goal-scoring streak to three (five points in two games) while Misiak now has goals in consecutive games. Olsen picked up his fourth primary assist in two games, while Puskar’s assist gave him his fourth point in three games. Austin Ortega put up a team-leading five shots, while Watson picked up two assists, before heading out to the ECHL All-Star game.

The Grizzlies have now turned in two very strong outings after the pair of disastrous games against Rapid City, scoring four goals in each game. They also did some damage on special teams, with two power play goals on Friday, and two short-handed goals on Saturday. Likewise, the first period or so of Friday’s game, and the lone goal on Saturday aside, it looks like Carr has returned to form.

Hopefully Utah will be able to keep the momentum rolling on Monday afternoon, when they kick off the first of four straight against the Rush.

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard, Jess Fleming and staff

Utah Grizzlies: Holiday Cheer

Coming back from a brief Christmas break, the Grizzlies looked to erase the memory of a tough OT loss against Colorado on the 23rd. With Brendan Harms and Ryan Olsen back in the lineup, C.J. Eick, and Brad Navin went on reserve, while Howe served the second to last of his nine game suspension, and Kevin Carr got the start.

The whole evening did not begin well, what with the anthem singer momentarily forgetting the words, and the zamboni having to come out after the ceremonial puck drops to repair some ice behind the Grizzlies’ net.

Then, once the game started, a bad second shift allowed Jefferson Dahl to wheel around the net uncontested to make it 1-0 on a wrap-around :58 seconds into the game. Considering how bad the Grizzlies’ record is when the other team scores first, how the last home game against Idaho went (5-2 for the Steelheads), and how dominant Idaho looked early, there were definitely some causes for concern.

The weirdness didn’t stop there, as Idaho held possession through the first four minutes, and a hard shot got the head referee right in the head. Fortunately, he appeared to be none-the-worse for wear.

Utah had a few good shifts, but largely struggled to establish possession in the zone. There were signs of life though, from Leibinger, and the Ryan Line most noticably, but from the rest of the line-up as well.

However, off another long stretch in the defensive zone, Michael Pelech took an unforced delay of game penalty, putting the puck over the far glass at 9:14. The penalty kill got the job done, and the score remained unchanged.

Kyle Thomas and Corbin Baldwin got into a scuffle with just over five minutes to go, following a strong shift from the first line, but nothing came of it. That was about the time, however, that the Grizzlies came alive.

At 15:16 Ryan Olsen chipped the puck up to Ryan Misiak, Misiak fed Ryan Walters the perfect pass, and he converted to tie the game. Olsen got the secondary assist.

57 seconds later, Leibinger wired the puck from the point to give Utah the lead from Hanson and Thomas.

Idaho made a push to answer, and Harms took a penalty with 1:59 to go, as the third line continued to have a rough first period. Richart got tripped up with 1:13 to go, and the teams played four-on-four.

Thomas just missed Hanson on a two-on-one, and the Steelheads were likewise unable to tie it up in the final moments of a weird first period. Although Utah led 2-1, shots were 12-9 for the Steelheads.

 

The Grizzlies got off to a decent start in the next frame, following the 46 seconds of power play time. Leibinger almost got his second of the night on a beautiful move, and Carr flashed the leather on the other end. Unfortunately, Idaho tied it up right off the next face-off at 1:29.

The Grizzlies dodged a major bullet shortly thereafter as Carr made a huge save, and was out of position for the rebound. Fortunately, the Utah defensemen stopped the puck in the blue paint, and the Grizzlies got a chance of their own on the other end.

In the end, it was another rocket from a defenceman that gave Utah back the lead, as Sam Windle scored from center ice at 4:24 with assists from Leibinger and Erik Higby.

The third line had a great shift with around twelve minutes to go, but on the next shift, Misiak went down at the blue line. Already mysteriously down Zach Saar (later revealed  to be an apparent illness according to the broadcast), and with Misiak gone, Idaho scored on the shift after that. The good news was that despite being helped off the ice, Misiak was back in short order, and Baldwin’s illegal contact to the head penalty at 11:30 on Higby sent Utah to the power play.

The second half of the period (and indeed the game) was far more characteristic of the Grizzlies and Steelheads, playing a much more structured, and less sloppy game.

Olsen gave up a bad turnover at the offensive zone blue line, but got it back before the puck crossed the Grizzlies’ blue line, and set up Hanson on a breakaway. Unfortunately, Philippe Desrosiers shut the door with about 4:30 to go in the frame.

The second ended with the Ryan Line buzzing, and after 40, shots were 23-18 for Idaho, tied 3-3.

“Just win the third” said Sam Windle in the intermission interview, and boy did the Grizzlies ever. Though, not so much in the first three minutes.

Utah got into gear after that though, and with 11:53 to go, Leibinger sprang Puskar on a gorgeous breakaway. That was the game breaker, and less than two minutes later, Higby forced a turnover, and Pelech scored off the cross-bar and in.

Taylor Richart put the cap on the night with another big shot from the blue line, giving the Grizzlies the 6-3 lead at 13:45, and breaking a goalless streak dating back to November 18th.

 

Puskar went to the box at 14:25, and again with 1:18 left in the third, but other than a net-front scuffle around Carr after a whistle, and another breakaway chance for Thomas and Hanson, they were both fairly uneventful.

With less than 30 seconds on the clock, Richart and Charlie Dodero tangled at center ice, and Mitch Jones and Corey Durocher dropped the gloves. Both got five for fighting, Dodero got two for roughing, and Utah closed out the night with their fifth win in the last eight.

After a rough first period, the third line really got going in the second, and in the third, scored (or were involved in) two of the Grizzlies’ goals three goals in the frame. Moreover, Leibinger was terrific all over the ice, throwing hits, blocking shots, making plays, getting chances, and of course, scoring a goal, and two assists. He was named third star of the game.

“He skates really well, he reads the play really well” Tim Branham said of Leibinger. “He trusts himself, he can make plays, that’s why he was really effective today. I thought he played really well defensively, had a good stick on puck, had a good gap all night, obviously made plays offensively, which we need, get some production from our back-end there. I though he was excellent tonight. We gotta follow that up with another good one though.

The Grizzlies got goals from every line, three from forwards, and three from defensemen. So what do they have to do to keep the offense rolling?

“This game is all about confidence. And you could tell. Once the score got 6-3, we started making some plays that we never would really make normally, and you could just tell that they were making them with confidence. This game is funny. That’s what it’s all about, hopefully this gives us the confidence to get going.

Leibinger thought the Christmas break also did the team some good. “We had some time away from the rink, sometimes that’s good for a team,” he said, “Especially if you’re struggling a little bit. You feel rejuvenated when you come back, see all the guys again, even if it’s just a couple of days”

“Carrying it forward,” he added, “I think we put a lot of effort in tonight, played hard, so I think if we do that every night, we have the talent to make plays, so I think it’s just all work ethic.”

Hard work and confidence. Those sound like good things to build success on going into the new year.