Utah Grizzlies: By the Skin of their Teeth

After fighting back to get a point in last night’s game, Utah came out hoping to build on the strong third period showing. Brad Barone once again got the start, and the forward crew saw some reinforcements in the form of the return of Yuri Terao. Kevin Carr was loaned to the Eagles, and as such, Evan Buitenhuis backed Barone up.

The Grizzlies got off to a quick start, flying into the offensive zone, and spending several shifts there. It paid off too, as the Cedric Paré, Christian Horn, and Jack Jenkins crashed the net, and Paré netted his fourth of the year from Horn and Jenkins. On the very next shift, Jenkins dropped the gloves with Colby McAuley, a fight which the advantage must be said to have belonged to McAuley, and then at 3:59 the Americans took a slashing call to send the Grizzlies to the advantage.

Utah spent almost all the man advantage in the offensive zone, and though they didn’t score on the power play, Hunter Skinner slapped home his first pro goal just as the Americans returned to full strength.

The Grizzlies continued to keep their foot on the pedal, at one point outshooting Allen 9-2 before the half-way mark.

Riley Woods drew another penalty with 7:04 to go, then a scuffle broke out between the benches, Allen getting a double minor, Utah only a single, sending the Grizzlies to five-on-three — which lasted almost no time at all as Woods was sent to the box for “slashing”. All the penalties were killed off, however, and by the end of the period, Utah had decidedly outplayed the Americans, outshooting them 12-4.

Utah started well, but gave up a penalty shot goal to Spencer Asuchak at 2:01, and the Americans buzzed a bit thereafter. By the four minute mark, the Grizzlies had exerted their will on the proceedings again. Terao was run over at 3:47, drawing a power play. Deflections finally went the Grizzlies’ way, as a shot from Matthew Boucher deflected in off an Allen skater and into the net for their first power play of the day. For reasons unknown, Allen complained afterwards, but it did not effect the outcome.

Lowny took a slashing call at 6:48, and some significant complaining from the Americans followed that as well, and they scored on the advantage. They headed to the power play again at 11:10 on a supposed high-sticking call, and then again on Hoover for interference against Paterson. Utah did a spectacular job of killing off both the five-on-three and the five-on-four, returning to full strength. Thanks to the penalties, Allen took over the shot lead in the period 13-10, but Utah still led 22-17, and maintains the one goal lead into the final couple of minutes.

With just over two to go, Paré took a hooking call, but Utah killed that off too, and headed to the locker room with the slim lead in shots and goals.

Utah drew a power play less than a minute into the third, but it suffered the fate of many early man-advantages. Turner Ottenbreit found himself in the box a few minutes later for pulling Paré to the ice. Utah had some really nice moves, but they were unable to net an insurance goal.

They got one later though, as Woods won a face-off clean, and Skinner scored his second goal of the game (and his pro career) on a blue-line blast.

Utah continued to play hard, keeping Allen away from Barone, largely (and Barone continued to smother the shots he did see).

Terao took a holding call at 13:45, and Allen scored on the advantage. There was a bit of a scare shortly afterwards as Johnston went down in front of the Utah net, but he skated off under his own power and remained on the bench.

Allen pulled their goalie with two to go, but Utah held on for dear life, taking the 4-3 win in regulation.

Hunter Skinner took first star with his two first pro goals and team leading eight shots, Matthew Boucher took second with a goal and an assist, and Barone’s 25/38 save performance earned him third. It was a terrific end to the home stand, and while Utah wasn’t able to keep the level of polish they showed in the first going through all three periods, they did enough to overcome the badly run second period, and hold on in the third. No mean feat against a cranky Allen team.

Utah heads out to Kansas City next weekend, where hopefully they will be able to keep the wins coming.


  • First Period: Paré (Horn, Cannone), Skinner (Gendron, Boucher)
  • Second Period: Boucher (Woods, Lowny (PP)
  • Third Period: Skinner (Woods)
    Barone: 25/28

Photos courtesy of Tim Broussard.

Utah Grizzlies: No Bones About It

After a 5-2 loss in regulation yesterday, the Grizzlies looked for redemption. The lines saw a bit of a shake up, though the personnel remained the same, except in net, where Brad Barone was backed up by Even Buitenhuis.

The game didn’t get off to an auspicious start, the Americans scoring 1:32 into the first. Things got chippy after that, Tiegan Zahn getting into it with Dyson Stevenson, and then Matt Hoover dropping the gloves with him at 3:15. Stevenson got the best of him, but Hoover put up quite a fight, and was remarkably strong on his skates.

The Grizzlies got the first power play of the night at 6:03, but though they moved the puck pretty well, and had some good looks, they were unable to turn the advantage into anything. The same was true for Allen when they got a power play at 12:40, following a hit on Miles Gendron, and a holding call on Riley Woods.

For a period that had a goal and a fight, it was remarkably quiet. The Grizzlies looked more prepared for the Americans’ speed, but then again, neither team really did anything worth noting. Shots were 7-4 for Allen at the end of it all.

The Grizzlies started better, Hunter Skinner looking quite poised, looked good, but the Americans drew the first power play as Skinner and Miles Gendron raced to break up an Allen chance. Skinner threw himself in front of some pucks on the kill, Barone made some saves, but the Americans scored on another redirection to make it 2-0 at 2:11.

Allen built on the momentum of the power play goal for a shift or so, but the Grizzlies pushed back, Skinner and the Woods line creating some opportunities. The Americans took a too many men penalty at 4:45, but Barone got dinged with playing the puck outside of the trapezoid, and the Americans got a brief four-on-four, then power play out of it.

Things got a little heated shortly afterwards around the Allen net, and the game devolved into more clutching and grabbing, with some big hits around the midway mark. Barone made some good saves, though shots for both teams remained low 13-7 with about seven left.

Utah had some long stretches in the Americans’ zone after that but largely were held to the boards. A.J. White and Kris Myllari woke up the fans at 14:55, flying in two-on-one. White took the initial shot, and the rebound found itself right on the stick of Myllari who scored his first pro goal to cut the lead in half.

With about a minute to go, the Americans came storming into the offensive zone, but a block from Garrett Johnston sent the puck the other way. White got a look of his own with forty something seconds to go, but despite evening up the shots (15-13 for the Americans), they were unable to tie it up before the end of the frame.

The Grizzlies came out hot to start the third, picking up two shots and making life interesting for the Americans around their goalie just 19 seconds in. That jump persisted as the period progressed, Utah doing a much better job of breaking up passes, and generally showing more creativity in the offensive zone than they had.

Zahn took a roughing penalty behind the play at 3:14, but the Grizzlies killed it off, allowing only one shot. Utah continued to build on their work, playing some of their best hockey since the roster got shaken up by injuries and call-ups, and drew a power play at 8:59. The Grizzlies passed better than they had all game, and the Americans took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with just over a minute remaining on the first penalty.

The Grizzlies held on to the puck five-on-three, making the Americans move, and then the puck went to the stick of Pat Cannone. Cannone’s fifth of the season tied the game, and the Grizzlies remained on the advantage.

They weren’t able to capitalize again, but retained control of the general flow of the game, outshooting Allen 26-21 through 15 minutes.

Skinner took a tripping penalty with under two to go, Barone made some big saves, and the Grizzlies kept Allen off the score-sheet in the third, heading into OT.

The Grizzlies killed off the end of the penalty, and though Allen got more zone time, the Grizzlies did a good job of helping Barone out. At the end of OT, shots were 33-29 for the Americans, and the game headed to the shoot out. Jesse Mychan was the only skater to score, giving Allen the 3-2 win.

It wasn’t the result the Grizzlies wanted, but it is definitely an encouraging sign that their third period was the best hockey we’ve seen in some time. Barone was solid in net, Jack Jenkins picked up the team-leading six shots, White had two assists, and overall in the third, passing was more crisp, the skating was strong, and the defense was up to par. Woods’ point streak came to an end, but he remains a point a game since his signing, and with his goal, Cannone extended his point streak to four. Skinner now has four points in his first four pro games. Guys like Johnston also had good games, despite not showing up on the score sheet. If Utah can replicate that third period for more of the game tomorrow, it should be a good game.


  • First Period: None
  • Second Period: Myllari (White)
  • Third Period: Cannone (White, Skinner) (PP)
    Barone: 30/32 saves

Images courtesy of Tim Broussard and Rob Church.

Utah Grizzlies: Growlin Grizzlies

In the first game with practice after the roster got a massive shakeup, the Grizzlies returned to Rapid City with Brad Barone in net, backed up by newly returned Kevin Carr. Teigan Zahn also returned to the lineup after serving his two game suspension, and Hunter Skinner made his pro debut.

The Grizzlies drew an early penalty, courtesy of boarding by Garrett Klotz, just forty-four seconds in, but were unable to capitalize and Jack Jenkins went to the box a few minutes later also for boarding. Neither team scored on the advantage, though the Grizzlies had a short-handed jaunt into the offensive zone that looked promising.

Though Utah built up an 8-4 advantage in shots through the first ten minutes, the Rush began to apply some pressure. Matthew Boucher took a penalty at 12:51, but Utah’s previously excellent penalty kill returned somewhat, escaping a close call, and managing to extend their zone time.

The Grizzlies built up a little momentum as the end of the period approached, and with 2:13 to go, they drew a power play. Trey Bradley made it count, scoring through traffic 13 seconds in.

Utah held onto the lead through the final two minutes, and headed into intermission up 1-0, shots 13-7 in their favor.

The period got off to a good start for the Grizz, Riley Woods scoring his first for Utah at 1:39 from Boucher and Skinner. The assist was Skinner’s first pro point, and Utah continued to hold the edge both in shots and zone time.

They made the most of it, Bradly getting his second of the game from Skinner and Woods at 5:55. Barone held down the fort after that, making two big saves just around the elven-minute-mark, with help from Skinner who came flying back to help corral the rebound.

Barone saw a lot of shots after that, as the Rush made a determined effort to even up the score. The teams traded chances through the back-half of the frame, and the Rush were rewarded at 17:51 on a really nice toe-drag goal from Tyler Coulter. Utah took a delay of game penalty in the final minutes, and Utah headed into the second intermission up 3-1, outshooting the Rush 25-19.

The Grizzlies started the third with the tail end of the penalty from the second, and killed that off. The game again went back and forth for both teams, Utah continuing to maintain the shot lead by a narrow margin.

The Grizzlies got dinged for too many men half way through the frame, and the Rush made it 3-2 on the advantage, and eventually evening out the shots 29-29.

Utah held on for dear life through the final two minutes with an empty net on the other end and, at the end of the day, squeaked away with the 3-2 win in regulation.

The former Newfoundland Growlers teammates Bradley (2G) and Woods (1G, 2A) were named first and second star, and Skinner picked up his first two pro points. Additionally, Boucher now has points in each of the last four games. Overall, it was a better game for the Grizzlies, though against a weaker team than Tulsa. They looked much more comfortable as a team, and had better luck completing passes — both because they weren’t challenged as constantly and because they seemed to be better aware of where their teammates would be. Barone was solid in net, especially considering this was his first start all year.

These same two teams will be back at it again tomorrow.


  • First Period: Bradley (Woods, Cannone) (PP)
  • Second Period: Woods (Boucher, Skinner), Bradley (Skinner, Woods)
  • Third Period: None
    Barone: 27/29

Photo courtesy of Rob Church.