Utah Grizzlies: Ever So Close

After Friday’s tour-de-force, it wasn’t much of a surprise to discover that with the exception of Brandon Saigeon who was scratched and Mason McDonald who got the start, the lineup remained the same.

The game got off to a pretty similar start, Josh Dickinson wiring a shot on net on the first shift. This time, however, Jake Paterson was there to stop it. However, the Grizzlies continued to get the best of the zone time.

Unfortunately, Allen struck first following a Utah penalty, giving them the 1-0 lead at 3:58. Dickinson drew a power play on the next shift, but the Grizzlies couldn’t capitalize. The Americans played far better than on Friday, despite icing the puck several times as the period approached the half-way point.

At the twelve-minute mark, Tim McGauley backhanded the puck from the corner, and onto the stick of none other than Josh Dickinson. Dickinson buried it for his seventh goal in the last three games.

Yuri Terao took a tripping call with 3:53 to go, and the Grizzlies killed it off. However, the Americans took the lead with 1:02 to go on a goal from Olivier Archambault.

Peter Tischke and Brett Pollock took matching minors following the whistle, so the second period began four-on-four.

Griffen Molino got in on a breakaway, but was unable to beat Paterson in the opening minute of the second.

With 10:52 remaining, Wagner’s stick broke and went flying, and the Grizzlies lost focus just long enough for Allen to capitalize. A video review followed, but the goal stood.

Joe Wegwerth took a high-sticking penalty with 9:01 to go, but Utah killed it off. The Grizzlies proceeded to string together a couple of good shifts, and Cole Cassels scored his second of the year as the team crashed the net. Travis Barron got the assist, and Utah followed that up with several more offensive zone shifts, led by Dickinson and McGauley.

It turned out that it was only the beginning. Barron backhanded a Taylor Richart shot past Paterson to tie the game, and then McGauley gave Utah the lead on an absolute snipe. Terao took some net front abuse at 19:20, drawing a late power play, and sending Utah to the locker room up 4-3, out-shooting Allen 29-15, and with 1:40 of power play time to start the third.

At the buzzer, the Americans took a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, so the 1:40 of power play turned into 1:40 of five-on-three. The Grizzlies established some solid zone time, but the power play went the way of so many early-period advantages.

The game started to get a bit physical, and six minutes in, Allen tied it up 4-4. Terao got a helmet violation penalty. Barron and Cassels got a speedy two-on-one short-handed and then later on the same shift Barron and Alex Breton collided and were slow to get off the ice. Fortunately, both Barron and Breton were back fairly quickly.

Lauzon drew a power play with 4:41 to go, and then Allen put the puck over the glass to give Utah 1:28 of five-on-three at a critical moment. Unfortunately, Allen was able to kill off both two and one man advantages.

Teigan Zahn and Alex Gubtill dropped the gloves with ten seconds to go, and as regulation came to an end, tied 4-4, something of a crowd gathered.

Allen took the second standings point on a Gabriel Gagne goal 1:18 into OT, and Utah left Allen with three of four points.

Cassels picked up third star of the night on the strength of one goal and two assists, while Dickinson and Barron both extended their scoring streaks.

 

Goals

  • First Period: Dickinson (McGauley)
  • Second Period: Cassels (Barron), Barron (Richart, Cassels), McGauley (Cassels)
  • Third Period: None

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

Utah Grizzlies: Slow Start

After a spirited end to Friday’s game, the tilt on Saturday promised to be a a good one, complete with specialty jerseys for Epilepsy night. Mason McDonald got his first regular season start in a Grizzlies’ jersey, while Mike Economos and Teigan Zahn drew in for Connor Yau, Ryan Black, and Colin Jacobs.

Although the Grizzlies looked much more together from the get-go, Idaho struck first, 1:26 into the frame.

However, Utah got right back on their collective horse, and were able to string together several shifts in the offensive zone. Despite the zone time, by the five minute mark, Idaho held the shot lead 5-0 as well as the score lead.

Kevin Davis kept his feet moving, and drew a power play shortly thereafter. Although it wasn’t reflected on either the shot counter or the scoreboard, the team looked more cohesive.

Despite all that, Idaho made it 2-0 before the Grizzlies had hit their third shot on goal.

Economos tried to get something going after Taylor Richart got into a little bit of a shoving match, but Idaho declined, and Economos was sent to the box for roughing.

Utah killed off the penalty off, but Joe Wegwerth took a roughing call in the after-buzzer crowd.

The Grizzlies spent large portions of the kill in and around the offensive zone to start the second, and Travis Barron continued to have a second strong game, earning some cheers following a big hit.

Barron followed that up by drawing a power play, and Utah got a couple of really nifty chances, but were again unable to beat Tomas Sholl. They were able to narrow the shot deficit however, 18-14 after the 16-9 first period.

Just when it looked like the Grizzlies were getting themselves sorted out, and playing some solid hockey, they coughed the puck up right in front of McDonald, and Spencer Naas made it 3-0.

Zahn took a boarding call with four to go, and Barron continued to be the Grizzles’ most standout all-around player going into second intermission.

Less than a minute into the second period, Barron drew another power play, and then ruined Sholl’s shut out by banking the puck off an Idaho defenseman and in.

The Grizzlies drew another power play at 7:06, and took over the shot lead shortly thereafter.

The players had a couple of great ideas in the minutes that followed, but shot just wide, or were just out of reach. Tischke took a cross-checking penalty with about six minutes left and the cantankerous spirit escalating.

Utah pulled McDonald with 1:30 to go, but they were unable to draw within one, falling 3-1 regulation.

Barron was, once again, one of the more noticeable Utah players, drawing power plays, laying hits, and driving play throughout the game.

Overall, it was a better start than Friday, and once again improved greatly in the second and third periods, but the slow start and the second period turnover proved costly.

“Same script as last night, except I thought we played better.” Tim Branham said after the game. “Not the first period. First period was terrible. Second period was fabulous until we had one turnover, one shot, goal. And that’s what happens. That’s what happens when you think…I don’t know if you think┬áit’s gonna be easy, but the way you play you think it’s gonna be easy. This league will kick you in the butt. And that’s a good team over there. That’s a goalie that’s always one of the best in the league every single year, and he proved that this weekend for sure. He was their number one star. But you’ve got to find ways, you’ve got to take his eyes away, be more tenacious. I thought we did a lot of good things in the second and third period, we had that fire in our gut, and we’ve got to make sure we’ve got that fire in our gut from the drop of the puck.”

Travis Barron continues to impress, and came in for some high praise from his coach.

“He’s really stepped it up, that’s for sure. I thought both games he was our best player. We’re challenging him to be our best player every single night, and that’s what it’s gonna take to move up. He’s done really well, from penalty killing to power play to the physical aspect of the game, making plays, great attitude, leading on the bench, leading in the dressing room, he has done a really good job so far.”

Barron stood head and shoulders above the rest, but he wasn’t the only one who has shown flashes. One such player is Cole Cassels, who has two assists, and Griffen Molino. Another has been Yuri Terao, who isn’t always the most noticeable player, but always seems to appear exactly where he needs to be.

“Yuri competes. He’s a good player. For a language barrier, it’s tough sometimes, and he does a really good job. A lot of good things out there. He’s got good cut backs, good skill, and I think he’s just gonna get better the more he gets used to this North American style.”

As has already been said, the pieces are all there, and they’re starting to come together, but there’s still work to be done. Fortunately, it’s only game two, so there’s still plenty of time yet to sort it all out.

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff