Utah Grizzlies vs Rapid City Rush: Constructive Chaos

In the very last meeting between Rapid City and Utah in 2018-19, Joe Cannata once again got the start, Eric Freschi and Will Smith and Joey Raats sat out for new ATO signing Tanner Nagel, and Austin Carroll made his long awaited return to the lineup. Jake Marchment remained sidelined with an injury, as did Grayson Downing as Utah looked to clinch their playoff spot.

First Period

  • Carroll gets the second shot of the period on his first shift back!
  • Cole Ully gets a two-on-one-ish, but RC breaks it up before it hits the net. Shots are 4-2 for RC about five into the first.
  • Considering how grumpy the first period was on Saturday, it’s been surprisingly quiet in the early going.
  • A couple of really nice saves from Cannata there on the PK.
  • Carroll doing what he does best, creating mayhem and drawing power plays.
  • Taylor Richart with a great play to keep the puck in the zone on the PP.
  • It hasn’t led to anything yet, but the passing on the power play is looking really good.
  • Jack Walker flies in on the back-check to break up a developing one-on-none short-handed. Pretty sure he should be Jack Runner, or Jack Sprinter, or maybe Jack Roadrunner.
  • Sooo players collide, and go figure, it’s Carroll causing chaos again. And drawing penalties again.
  • There’s a reason I call him Chaos on Skates.
  • ULLY SCORES. JK. Ully does not score. Goalie interference called, apparently. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • …And to add insult to injury, RC makes it 1-0 short handed.
  • Jack Riley picks up his second hooking call of the period mere moments after the Rush returned to full strength.
  • THAT ONE COUNTS.
  • Richart was ROBBED.
  • 1-1 after 20, shots 14-13 for Utah.

Second Period

  • Really strong offensive zone shift from Carroll and crew about three minutes in.
  • Mitch Maxwell with a pair of strong defensive plays there.
  • Utah has a nice shift in the offensive zone, so of course, RC scores on the counterattack.
  • Good response from Utah though. Unfortunately, Carlson. (Where have we heard THAT one before. 🙄)
  • Oh geez. The puck went through Cannata at a really weird angle, hit the post, and then was snagged by a Utah player. Everyone breathe a sigh of relief!
  • Please go play in the offensive zone.
  • Richart has come really close on several occasions tonight
  • OTTER ON THE POWER PLAY. Tie game!

  • Carlson loses his mask twice in the span of two shifts!! O.O
  • Richart currently leads the team with seven shots.
  • Oh, there’s the cantankerousness that was missing from this game.
  • We give you one guess to pick who was in the middle of all the mayhem around Carlson.
  • If you guessed Carroll, you were right.
  • Oh, that was an unfortunately good goal. Cannata had the whole side sealed up, EXCEPT the one spot that Poulsen found.
  • 3-2 RC after 40.

Third Period

  • Grizz start the third on the power play.
  • Ully almost had an absolute beauty, but rang iron.
  • THAT EARLY POWER PLAY DID NOT GO THE WAY OF MOST. WALKER TIES THE GAME.

  • When Carroll isn’t creating chaos, he’s creating really nice takeaways/scoring chances like that one.
  • Oh wow. That was a great shift from Herbert, Gage Ausmus, Michael Economos, Joey Ratelle and Gabriel Verpaelst.
  • Utah is piling on the good shifts.
  • Well, that’s a new one, the Grizzlies’ net was just taken off and replaced!
  • Ratelle with a nifty dipsy-doodle to elude the Rush defensemen.
  • Watching defenders converge on Carroll is like watching a very strong magnet move through metal objects. He just draws defenders to him, which leads to the aforementioned chaos.
  • Uhhhhg power play goal Rush.
  • Carlson was WAY out of position, and STILL robbed Ryan Walters.
  • That definitely should have been tripping drawn by Walker.
  • In order to tie the game up, you’re definitely gonna have to go play on the other end of the ice…
  • 1:42 and Utah’s net is empty.
  • Herbert rings iron, and Utah draws a power play!!
  • Well, it went RIGHT down to the wire, and there was some INCREDIBLE plays from Verpaelst among others, to keep the puck away from the empty net.
  • If nothing else, that was a highly entertaining game, and thank goodness, that’s the end of the Rush for this season.
  • Rush win 4-3, shots 39-31 for Utah.

 

Caleb Herbert scored his thirtieth goal of the season, and is in the top five goal scorers, despite having played anywhere between five and ten games less than the players in front of him. His opening power play goal, and the assist on Walker’s tally earned him second star honors, while Turner Ottenbreit was named third star. Richart put up nine shots, and Carroll’s return seemed to bring a jolt of electricity through the entire lineup.

It was definitely an exciting game from start to finish, but the loss was made frustrating by the Ully goal that was waved off for supposed goalie interference in the first period.

“He even admitted he made a mistake on our goal that he waived off, should have had four power play goals. If he counts that goal, they don’t get their short handed goal” Tim Branham said. “Every time we have this guy it’s like that. It is what it is. You gotta battle through it and come out. But when you’re playing against a team that works hard and you have an extremely good goaltender that you’re playing against, this stuff gets magnified, and when the referee is dictating the outcome of the game, it makes it tough.”

After some struggles on the man advantage the Grizzlies scored four power play goals, even if only three of them counted.

“We had a little dry spell there,” Caleb Herbert said, when asked about the improvement. “So we switched a few things around, kind of simplified our end zone set up, got back to the basics like shooting pucks, puck retrievals, things like that. Tonight, pucks started going in. I think earlier in the series we were doing ok, but pucks weren’t going in, Carlson was making some big saves, so we got a couple good bounces tonight, and that obviously helps too.”

“He’s a talented hockey player, that’s for sure.”Branham said when asked about his 30 goal scorer. “He’s got a lot of talent, he does some fun stuff out there. He can shoot the puck, he’s got a great release, he’s really fast when he wants to skate, he’s had a good season.”

He had praise for Carroll’s performance as well. “I thought he had an amazing game, I thought played really well, he controlled the play, cycling in the offensive zone, made some good puck decisions, I thought he was really good tonight.”

While Coach Branham spoke about Carroll’s individual play, Herbert elaborated more on Carroll’s impact on the team as a whole in addition to his play on its own.

“Austin’s a really good player, he brings it every night. You know what you’re gonna get out of him–100% effort. Obviously you saw him in front of the net tonight, stirring things up and being a real physical presence out there. I think we’ve been missing a bit of that with him being out, so it’s obviously great to get him back, and he’s a big piece of the puzzle moving forward, so it’s gonna be good.”

“We’re getting some guys back here from injury, kind of fills out our lineup a little more, we’re a little more solid, we play with a little more grit, we have a little more depth.” Herbert added, “I think heading down the stretch that’s gonna be important for us, having those guys back, and I think we’re gonna turn the corner here heading into playoffs and have some momentum on our end.”

The momentum will have to be built on the road, however, as the Grizzlies head out for the final road trip of the year which will see them hit Allen, Wichita, Allen again, then Tulsa before they return home to close out the season against Idaho.

 

Goals

  • First Period: Herbert (Economos, Walker) (PP)
  • Second Period: Ottenbreit (Carroll, Walters) (PP)
  • Third Period: Walker (Herbert, Economos) (PP)

UTA: 3/7 (10 PIM)
RC: 1/4 (16 PIM)

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography.


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Utah Grizzlies @ Rapid City Rush: A Slight Improvement

On Saturday night the Grizzlies looked to Kevin Carr to out-goalie Adam Carlson, and Grayson Downing, after returning to the lineup on Friday, once again was a scratch.

First Period

  • Good possession for the Grizzlies in the first four minutes or so.
  • Good possession continues. No whistles either. Utah has the only shot seven minutes or so in.
  • Utah’s definitely dominating possession right now (and shots, which are 5-0 half-way through the first).
  • Liam Bilton gets the first Rush shot of the game, but Carr calmly bats it aside.
  • No rust on Carrsy, that’s for sure. (Not that he’s really been tested so far either though.)
  • The Devils comparison Tyson made the other night is quite apt. Serious shut-down hockey with great goaltending. Effective, but boring.
  • Ryan Walters with some wheels on that PK!
  • COLE ULLY MAKES SURE WE WON’T BE SHUT OUT TONIGHT, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS.
  • OH boo. Carlson isn’t perfect tonight, and neither is our penalty kill. Tie game.
  • Good possession on this power play.
  • 1-1 after 20, shots 8-5 for the boys.

Second Period

  • Well, that was a very, very scrambly first shift!! gulp
  • Well, after that scrambly beginning, the Grizzlies have had some good shots.
  • I don’t think Carlson knew where that puck went.
  • Either he’s having an off night, or the Grizzlies have succeeded in making him look human finally.
  • Verpaelst with a thunderous hit on the power play there.
  • Carlson really is looking mortal this evening. He’s still really good, but he’s not absolutely flawless and unflappable like he was the previous two games.
  • Oh my goodness, Kevin.
  • Jake Marchment is so strong on his skates.
  • Turner Ottenbreit absolutely FLYING over there.
  • HUGE save by Carr. He’s been so good tonight.

  • 17-15 are the shots for Utah in this tied game.

Third Period

  • Two minutes to Rapid City for making us sit through Baby Shark during intermission.
  • Good hustle there by Ully to bale out Richart after his stick broke!
  • Carr gets tripped up behind his own net, and Ottenbreit and Verpaelst are deeply unamused.
  • The puck is seriously bouncing in the Utah zone, and it’s nerve-wracking.
  • Raats takes a huge hit to the head, and the Grizzlies are off to a five minute power play. Klotz gets shown the gate.
  • Turner, you’re supposed to put the puck in the net, not yourself!
  • TAAAAAAAYLORRRRRR 2-1 ON THE POWER PLAY!!
  • Oh, never mind, Marchment deflected it, but STILL.
  • Goodness. Not sure how Kevin or the defenseman got over in time to take away the WIDE open net there.
  • Utah’s got fewer shots tonight, but they’ve definitely put them to better use.
  • Oh no. Economos to the box for tripping. It wasn’t a great call either.
  • Absolute mayhem around the net, and the puck gets put past Carr with 13 seconds left. No one is happy. (Well, the Rush are, but that’s besides the point.)

OT

  • Carlson has gone back to god mode. Ully and Verpaelst with a pair of nice shots there.
  • I don’t know how Verpaelst managed to hold onto the puck and keep it in the zone.
  • Youch. Rush player blocked that Ottenbreit shot with his face!

SO

  • Have I mentioned recently how much I HATE the shoot out??
  • Rush win 3-2 in the skills competition.

 

Goals

  • First Period: Ully (Herbert, Ottenbreit)
  • Second Period: None
  • Third Period: Marchment (Richart, Herbert) (PP)

UTA: 1/8 (10 PIM)
RC: 2/5 (22 PIM)

 

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography.


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Grizzlies vs Mariners: Righting the Ship

With Ryan Walters suspended for one game, and Gabriel Verpaelst not yet in town, the Grizzlies found themselves with only thirteen players once again. Joe Cannata got the start on Marvel night, as the Grizzlies took on Maine on Marvel Night, dressed as Captain America and Iron Man respectively.

First Period

  • Grizzlies are pressuring hard early, and the jerseys look really, really good.
  • The Ully special, stick handling with zero room.
  • I do not know how the Grizzlies kept the puck out of the net on that shift.
  • Five-on-three number one of the night…
  • Good kill boys, good kill!
  • Aaaaand back to the box we go.
  • Taylor, don’t you dare be hurt…
  • WILL SMITH FROM TAYLOR RICHART AND MITCH MAXWELL!!
  • Cannata is looking very sharp tonight.
  • Shots are 15-9 after one for Maine, but the Grizz still lead 1-0.

Second Period

  • Uhg tie game.
  • Cannata was playing so well, and suddenly two quick goals for Maine.
  • Good push-back though.
  • The things that Cole Ully can do with zero space are remarkable. And I know I remark on them every time, but it’s worth it.
  • Joey Raats did not miss by much on that one!
  • That was a very strong shift.
  • There’s still a LOT of hockey to play, but the Grizzlies really don’t look like a team playing horrifically short-handed.
  • HERBERT TIES IT UP AGAIN ON THE POWER PLAY. What a move through traffic to get the shot for his 29th!!

  • Teigan Zahn boards Josh Couturier and gets five and a game. Just what this short-handed team needed.
  • Richart draws two power plays in a row!
  • Fox to the box.
  • CANNATA STONES A GUY ON A ONE-ON-NONE SHORT-HANDED BREAKAWAY.
  • 2-2 after 40, shots 23-22 for Maine.

Third Period

  • Third period begins on a brief power play.
  • Good energy in the third.
  • Ack. Wraparound goal for Maine
  • ULLY TIES IT UP ON THE POWER PLAY.
  • Both teams are buzzing.
  • oH. MY. GOD. JOE. Two huge saves two-on-none, and then another for good measure!!
  • Turner Ottenbreit rings iron, and Michael Economos draws a power play!
  • Gage Ausmus with a bomb, but it’s wide.
  • LOTS of offensive zone time for the Grizzlies this period.
  • Oh man. ten seconds left, offensive zone draw for Utah. Can they do it?
  • Nope.

OT

  • JOSH DICKINSON WINS IT IN OT.
  • Oh and it was super pretty too.

Ully and Herbert once again were named first and second star with a goal and an assist, while Josh Dickinson’s OT heroics earned him third star of the game. Taylor Richart put up three primary assists, and was named the defenseman of the game, while Cannata saved 32/35. Utah was a perfect 0/6 on the penalty kill in the game, and closed out the series against the Mariners without allowing a single power play goal. Herbert led the team with six shots, while Ottenbreit, Ully, and Economos were close behind with five each.

“We played four guys short for the majority of the game.” Tim Branham said after the game. “There’s a lot of character in that room, a lot of heart and soul.”

“Can’t say enough about the job these guys have done in that locker room.” He added later, “Sticking together, I don’t know how many penalties we killed again tonight, it’s pretty remarkable what they’ve done. Joe was outstanding in net, did a great job, made some huge saves, gave us a chance to win. Our power play is excellent again, special teams have really led the way for us this season, despite who we’ve had in the lineup. Really proud of this group.”

As well as the Grizzlies have played short-handed, it’s not a situation that anyone relishes. Fortunately, it sounds like reinforcements are on their way.

“Finally next week now we’re gonna start to get some bodies back. We’ll add Verpaelst, we’ll get Marchment, we’ll get Downing. Then the following week we’ll be able to add Carroll, we’ll be able to add Ratelle.”

Cannata had a pretty good game on Friday, but was even better on Saturday, and received a fair bit of praise as a result.

“I think Joe’s played some good hockey,” said Branham, “He’s made some big saves for us. Today was no different. There was a stretch there in the third, he made three saves right in a row at the end there. He’s been there before, he knows how to get the job done. Being able to add a guy like Verpaelst, who’s been there before, knows how to get the job done, Zahn, you can’t say enough about experience and guys who have been through the grind. I think Joe has done a remarkable job, a great job this season.”

Josh Dickinson’s thoughts on Cannata’s contribution to the win were similar.

“When we’re down in a game and you’ve got a goalie who’s playing like that, it’s so inspiring. Every game it comes from the back end out, and when your goalie’s making cross-crease saves back-to-back-to-back, you just want to win it for him too. It’s so nice to have him back there, and Carrsy’s great too, so we always wanna win it for our goalies as well.”

As mentioned, the Grizzlies were quite short handed to begin with, and then lost Zahn half-way through the second period. However, the remaining four defensemen buckled down and made it work.

“Our young guys have played some big minutes.” Branham said. “You look at Anderson, you look at Ottenbreit coming in from major junior, it’s a big step, and they’ve played big minutes and done an unbelievable job. They played big minutes, but also a lot of hockey, and it’s great experience for them. Then you’ve got guys like Ausmus and Richart. One thing’s for sure, when the going gets tough with this group, they respond. I know we were on a little bit of a skid there, but it’s a lot of adversity, and hopefully now there’s light there at the end of the tunnel with Ully back and Marchment and Downing and Verpaelst. We gotta get on a roll now.”

When asked about his OT game winner, Dickinson was pretty matter of fact.

“Yeah, I just had the time going down the wall, and I think it was a forward covering me on defense, so I saw he kind of lunged for the puck a little bit, so I just brought the puck to my backhand, and hoped for the best and shot it!”

Branham was a bit more effusive in his praise when asked about Dickinson’s play, both tonight and this series in general. “This weekend was phenomenal for Dickinson. He’s playing with an edge, his skills, you can see his skills out there, the skill level that he has, scoring goals, great attitude, he played a lot of hockey, he played every other shift tonight, him and Herbert, so good for them, and hopefully he can just keep that going”

Both Dickinson and Branham emphasized the need to keep the momentum going as they get more bodies back in the lineup and head out on the road, where they hope to keep the wins coming against Rapid City.

Goals

  • First: Smith (Richart, Maxwell)
  • Second: Herbert (Richart, Ully (PP)
  • Third: Ully (Richart, Herbert) (PP)
  • OT: Dickinson (Ottenbreit)

UTA: 2/7 (25 PIM)
MNE: 0/6 (16 PIM)

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography.


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Grizzlies vs Mariners: Finding Their Bearings

With Jake Marchment and Grayson Downing still out, the Grizzlies remained short-handed for game two against the Maine Mariners, while Joe Cannata once again got the start.

First Period

  • Couple of pretty good shifts to start us off tonight. Teigan  Zahn appears to be back on defense, and Will Smith has already had his first shift of the game after playing little/no time on Wednesday.
  • Zahn takes the first penalty of the game, but it’s killed off, and now we’re on the advantage. Unfortunately, Maine’s PK is looking as effective as the Grizzlies’.
  • Turner Ottenbreit and Taylor Richart (I think?) both just had amazing plays to keep the puck onside and in play.
  • Eric Freschi had absolutely NO space to make that play, and yet he still found a way to go backhand, forehand, clear. Nice.
  • Going pretty back and fort as the period progresses to the final five.
  • Now Josh Anderson is headed off to the box with 3:39 to go.
  • Zahn to the box for crosschecking with 28 seconds to go in Anderson’s penalty and 2:06 to go in the period.
  • Gage Ausmus with a great move to kill time carrying the puck up the ice, then racing back to get back and cut off a passing lane. It led to an Ottenbreit clear.
  • THAT’S THE CANNATA WE REMEMBER. The puck slips past Joe, but he leaps backwards and freezes it! There’s absolute chaos around the net now.
  • 0-0 after 20, shots 15-13 for Utah.

Second Period

  • The period begins with 1:02 of power play time.
  • Oh. Oh no. It almost seemed like Zahn was so worried about screening Cannata that he didn’t do anything on that one-on-one…
  • Well, Ully says trailing is dumb and scores on the very next shift!!
  • Fox is the beneficiary a heart-breaking deflection and it’s 2-1. Boo.
  • Walters goes FLYING into the offensive zone…and then flying into the goalie. You can imagine how well that went over. Which is to say badly.
  • Walters gets two and is pitched from the game. A HUGE penalty kill coming up here…
  • Josh Dickinson with a gorgeous takeaway, but his stick breaks on the shot.
  • Caleb Herbert and Michael McNicholas get matching slashing calls, so now we’re four-on-three for two minutes.
  • Well, they pretty much killed it off, but not all the way. 3-1 Maine.
  • Now Utah’s got a 49 second five-on-three.
  • Nolan De Jong rings iron as one of Maine’s players exits the box.
  • Richart with a couple of cannons, but De Jong’s remains the best look on the advantage.
  • Oh geez. Not Economos.
  • Soooo Zahn gets two at the buzzer.
  •  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Third Period

  • They’re playing better than last night, but this is starting to look awfully familiar…
  • Herbert and Ully go flying in shorthanded, but Herbert takes a penalty to get there.
  • POWER PLAY GOAL CALEB HERBERT. (Are you surprised that Ully got the assist?)
  • Oh geez. A one-on-none, that’s gonna end badly. WAIT IT DIDN’T!
  • Depending on whether or not you consider Herbert getting two penalties on the play going badly or not…
  • Dickinson beats out a puck into the offensive zone, and draws a penalty! The remainder of Herbert’s penalty is now a four-on-four situation.
  • Economos with a big shot at the end there.
  • Richart gets held up in the offensive zone with no call, and when he complains, he’s sent to the box.
  • OH SWEET REVENGE. Josh Dickinson with a flawless short-handed goal to tie it up.

  • Someone wearing four (Herbert? Economos? Ottenbereit?) had a crazy scoring chance that no one can believe didn’t go in.
  • So of course Anderson gets a penalty, and Richy blocks a shot that looks like it hurt.
  • He’s back to play on the power play though, so he’s at least mostly ok.
  • Dickinson scoring short-handed goals, blocking shots, and just generally doing it all.
  • Might just be my imagination, but it feels like Ausmus has played a lot more as the game has progressed.
  • TO OT WE GO.

OT

  • Good stick from Ottenbreit.
  • Another good stick from Ottenbreit.
  • Herbert and Ully have had a couple of glorious near misses.
  • Oh Josh. That hurts. Dickinson, that is, not Anderson. I realize I probably shouldn’t just say Josh and expect people to know which one I mean…
  • Big save from Cannata.

SO

  • Have I mentioned how much I hate shoot outs? (I mean, as skills competitions, they’re great. As the means to win a hockey game…)
  • Maine wins it with the only goal in the shoot out. Of course it was Fox.

Ully and Herbert earned first and second stars of the game with their goal and assist performances, and Dillan Fox, who scored two of Maine’s goals, plus the SO winner (and probably should have been named first star) was third. Ottenbreit, Ully, and Dickinson all had three shots. Joe Cannata saved 35/38, and despite being scored on (just once), was excellent in the shoot out.

“It’s huge.” Tim Branham said about having Ully and Herbert back together. “Those guys are world class players at this level, so as much as I can play them, I’m gonna play them. I think they’re doing a great job leading the way.”

Despite the loss, this was an encouraging game after the last couple. Yes they went down three goals in the second again, but this time they were able to battle back in spite of twelve penalties. And speaking of penalties, they went a perfect 12 for 12 on the penalty kill, killing off a seven minute penalty to Walters (and a five-on-three during that time when Zahn took a call), and of course, scoring short-handed on the penalty to Richart later in the game. All this, despite still being down the equivalent of two lines and the tenth skater of some of their best forwards. Even better than that, Ully and Herbert appear to be working their magic again, which could, if guys like Dickinson and Freschi play like they have been, be enough to tide the Grizzlies over until they get guys like Jake Marchment and Grayson Downing back in the lineup.

Summing up the game, Branham said, “Really proud of the boys’ effort, of battling back, a we had 12 penalty kills against, I’ve never seen that before in my life, what can you say. It is what it is. I thought we had a great job on the penalty kill, great job of fighting back, earning a point in the standings with an extremely short lineup once again, we’re just trying to tread water here until we get some guys back and really proud of the way we battled.”

It’s just a theory on my part, but I also think having Zahn back on defense full time helped stabilise the back end as well — or perhaps everyone just played harder and Zahn’s return to the blue line was coincidental to that. But either way, the defense had a better night than they did on Wednesday.

The final piece of good news is that despite the continued losses, Utah has two games in hand on Idaho, and one on Tulsa who are only three points and one point ahead in the standings respectively, while though Kansas City has two games in hand on the Grizzlies, they trail by nine points.

After losing in regulation and losing in the shoot out, the Grizzlies look to get back in the win column tonight against Maine with a little extra help from Captain America.

 

Goals

  • First: None
  • Second: Ully (Freschi, Herbert)
  • Third: Herbert (Ully, Freschi) (PP), Dickinson (SH)

UTA: 1/7 (36 PIM)
MNE: 0/12 (20 PIM)

Photo courtesy of Josh Pinnau.

 


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Grizzlies vs Mariners: Adrift at Sea

Although Jake Marchment once again sat this one out after being banged up over the course of the Allen road trip, the Grizzlies got some big help back in the form of Cole Ully, who returned to the lineup for the first time since December. With Ully’s return to the roster, the Grizzlies had to let Joseph Mizzi go. Joe Cannata got the start in the first ever meeting between the Mariners and Utah, while Joey Raats and Teigan Zahn both dressed as forwards.

First Period

  • Ah Caleb Herbert and Cole Ully are back on a line together, and all is right with the world.
  • And Ully doesn’t waste any time, drawing a power play on his first shift.
  • AND THEN SCORING ON THE POWER PLAY.
  • Utah doing a pretty good job clogging up the neutral zone and making life complicated for the Mariners.
  • …That third line shift was definitely Raats, Zahn, and Mitch Maxwell. Oh my.
  • It’s so impressive that Ully hasn’t been in the lineup since December, yet doesn’t seem to have lost any speed or chemistry.
  • Back to the advantage with half a period to go.
  • Oof crossbar for Maine on the power play.
  • Josh Dickinson and Eric Freschi didn’t miss by much on that short-handed chance.
  • Maine getting some chances here as the period passes the fifteen minute mark.
  • Heads up play by a Utah defender (Ausmus, I think?) to play the puck into a sea of Mariners players by their bench. Too many men for Maine, and Utah heads to their third power play.

Second Period

  • Ully’s return seems to have given Herbert an extra zing to his step.
  • Zahn appears to be playing the PK as a defenseman here.
  • Biiiig block by Dickinson there on the PK.
  • Well. It only took one period to develop some dislike.
  • That was a pretty soft check to start that big of a ruckus. Utah’s entire defense core is in the box. (Ok that’s an exaggeration, but Raats, Josh Anderson, and Zahn are all in the box at the same time.)
  • Well. This is a big kill.
  • Dickinson pins the puck in the offensive zone for at least ten seconds of the PK here.
  • That was a very good kill.
  • That was a beautiful cycling shift from the Ully-Herbert-Freschi line.
  • Will Smith is dressed, but if he’s played tonight, he certainly has not played much, if at all.
  • Things have definitely gotten scrambly in the last couple of minutes…not a good sign…
  • Well. Dickinson is not amused.
  • The Grizzlies bench is starting to look very empty…
  • Oh man. There’s the Ully we’ve all missed–making beautiful moves with no space at all.
  • Maxwell draws a power play at the very last second.
  • Too many penalties, too much playing defense in that one.

Third Period

  • Opening minute power plays never ever end well.
  • Cole Ully finds space to skate where there simply isn’t any sometimes. Such fun to watch.
  • Well. That was not good. Nolan De Jong coughs up the puck at the blue line, and it’s 2-1 Maine short-handed.
  • Ok, now would be a really, really good time to get another power play goal…
  • Remember when the Grizzlies weren’t crazily short of forwards? Those were fun days.
  • WElp.
  • Good shift in response to that goal though.
  • The Grizzlies seem to have tried so hard to stay out of the box that they lost all the passion that got them in trouble in the second, and now just look completely flat.
  • I suppose playing with a short roster for such a long time would help contribute to that a fair bit.
  • 4-1 Maine. That wasn’t great.

The Grizzlies played a good first period, took too many penalties and didn’t capitalize on enough power play opportunities in the second, then did a good job of staying out the box in the third, only to allow too many goals instead.

It was a frustrating affair, possibly attributable, at least in some part, to the fatigue of the few remaining big guns playing far more minutes than usual, for weeks and weeks on end, and going short-handed on defense to try to bolster up the even more short-handed forward corps.

At the end of the day though, there’s not a lot you can do about the banged up roster except wait for guys to get healthy, and in the meantime hope that the patched together lineup is able to keep it together–which they definitely did after the first waive of injuries, but have struggled to do since Henke also joined the ranks of the injured. Losing Marchment and Downing after that certainly didn’t help either, since both of those guys can eat up minutes.

On the surprising bright side, despite having lost six straight, the Grizzlies remain tied for second place in the Mountain Division, and the first place Idaho Steelheads remain within very easy reach. Plus, Cole Ully is back, and as he showed, he’s still got it all.

His goal earned him third star of the game, and somehow in all of that, neither Turner Ottenbreit nor Gage Ausmus were on for a single goal against. Ottenbreit and Ryan Walters led the team with four shots.

So once again, Utah needs to regroup and get hopefully get healthier (and also hopefully not lose anyone else to injury) before they play Maine again this weekend.

 

Photo courtesy of Rob Church.

 


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