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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Grizzlies @Kansas City: Taming the Mavericks

After getting a bit of a break after playing four games in six days, the Grizzlies headed out on the road to face C.J. Eick and the Kansas City Mavericks. Josh Dickinson and Kevin Davis returned to the lineup, as did Ryan Walters, while Kevin Carr got the start after Joe Cannata was recalled to the Eagles. These additions meant that Mike Economos and Joey Raats both sat, and Carr was backed up by Christian Frey.

First Period

  • Dickinson jumps right in and makes his presence felt!!! 1-0 Utah, barely two minutes in!
  • It’s been a good start overall so far. Shots are 6-2 with less than six gone.
  • Carr looking calm, cool, and collected as per.
  • Good puck possession too.
  • WALKER WITH THE WHEELS! Oh, and nice pass from Dickinson too!
  • Herbert is looking good, and it’s sure nice to have Davis back!
  • Pretty sure it’s clear how everyone should feel about having Dickinson back.
  • It’s been a very quick, clean first period so far. Not a lot of whistles.
  • Big save by Carr there on the three-on-one.
  • First power play of the night goes to us!
  • That was a very good first period. Shots 12-9 for the Grizzlies.

Second Period

  • The speed of C.J. Eick puts the Mavericks offside.
  • HERBERT! Caleb scores his third goal in two games, and we’re up 3-0 3:31 into the second!
  • A little bit of zone time for the Mavs, but it’s not leading to much for them.
  • Freschi almost had one there against his former team.
  • There are sticks and gloves all over the Grizzlies’ zone, and Carr makes some big saves.
  • Mavericks are definitely pushing back. They have four shots to Utah’s two since Herbert’s goal.
  • Oooh McGauley did not miss by much there.
  • De Jong goes down hard, but despite the crowd that gathers, no penalties.
  • And then Marchment draws a power play! Four shots for the Grizzlies, but no goals on the advantage yet tonight.
  • Another Utah power play! Why do I have the horrible feeling that all these power plays going our way are going to come back to haunt us at some point in the very near future…
  • FRESCHI ON THE POWER PLAY! Gotta love that he scored his first goal with Utah against his former team.
  • Carr with a very big save at the end of the period.
  • It’s been a really good 40 minutes. Here’s to an even better final 20.

Third Period

  • Tyson acknowledging those of us who get really cagy if you mention the thing that goalies can get before the game is over…which might be just as bad as saying the word…
  • CARROLL!!! Ooh it was a pretty one too. Marchment gets his second assist.
  • No babies in the refrigerator this time. 🤣
  • If they play all the rest of this game in the other end, they can’t ruin Carr’s…accomplishment-that-must-not-be-named, right?
  • There is a LOT of time left in this game…
  • Tempers fraying just a little bit. Not much though. It’s been a surprisingly penalty free game.
  • And the Mavs are spending more time in our zone… (Not that they’re doing much with it at the moment, but still.)
  • Of COURSE it’s Eick who ruins Carr’s shutout. Of course it is.
  • I’m definitely blaming this on Tyson, and not the defensemen who were nowhere to be seen.
  • This is what I call the Harry Potter scenario. Eick scores, but the Grizzlies win.
  • Walters takes the first penalty of the night for Utah with 4:21 to go.
  • Grizzlies definitely in turtle mode. Shots are 10-3 for KC on the period.
  • Doesn’t matter though!!
  • GRIZZLIES WIN 5-1!! 
  • Definitely a stylish beginning to the road trip.

Kevin Carr went 25/26 and was named first star of the game, while Josh Dickinson (1G, 1A) and Jack Walker (1G, 1A) were also outstanding, and Austin Carroll picked up his fourth point in two games, also collecting a goal and an assist. Marchment picked up two assists, and Caleb Herbert now has six points in the last four games, and scored his 22nd goal in 30 games.

The Grizzlies will look to continue this success in tonight’s rematch against the Mavericks.

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard, Jess Fleming and staff.

 

Utah Grizzlies vs Tulsa Oilers: Dialed In

With Friday night’s game a step forward from Wednesday’s, the Grizzlies looked to build on that and get in the win column in front of a big Guns ‘N Hoses crowd. Joe Cannata looked to have a bounce back night in net, while Josh Anderson returned to the lineup, and Tim McGauley served his one game suspension.

First Period

  • Things looking pretty scramble-y early on.
  • This is a very nice looking power play. Clean passes, great movement, shots, everything you could want except a goal.
  • Ausmus takes a slashing call, but the Grizzlies kill it off nicely thanks to Cannata, some timely off-side calls, and overall good defense.
  • ZAHN WITH THE BOOM.
  • Richart and Cannata just gave everyone a heart-attack as they threw themselves through the blue paint to snatch the puck from the goal line.
  • Cannata is ON tonight.
  • The shots are not ideal, 13-5 for Tulsa, but otherwise, it’s been pretty good so far.
  • Turns out when you try to fight someone and they don’t oblige, you get a double minor for roughing.
  • That was a HUGE kill.
  • And the Grizzlies end the period on the power play!
  • Shots are 15-11 for Tulsa, but we’re still tied 0-0.

Second Period

  • Not allowing shots, but spending way too much time in the defensive zone…
  • MARCHMENT ON THE BREAKAWAY.
  • He was in so alone that he got to slow down and absolutely pick his spot for his tenth of the year. He’s been scoring some super pretty goals lately.
  • FRESCHI WITH THE PASS, WALKER WITH THE WHEELS AND THE FINISH!!
  • Marchment almost had a second goal there on the power play.
  • Richy gets run over (why is it always Richy?) and Austin Carroll takes exception. There’s a bit of a kerfuffle, and Utah gets a power play on the boarding call!
  • Freschi seems to have settled in nicely, and is making his presence felt this period!
  • Anderson also looking confident at the point.
  • Herbert with a penalty with one minute to go, and Cannata makes the save.
  • 2-0 GOOD GUYS AFTER 40!! Shots 24-20 for Tulsa.

Third Period

  • Austin Carroll. Causing confusion wherever he goes. In this particular instance, in the Tulsa end while killing a penalty.
  • The Grizzlies doing a very good job tying up ever Tulsa stick there.
  • Anderson there with a good move to keep the Oilers to the outside.
  • WALKER dropping the gloves??? Either way, here we are, and the 10,000+ crowd is LOVING it.
  • It would be very good if we could get a shot this period.
  • Stupid stanchion.
  • Both 21s get cranky in front of the Tulsa net and are sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • Richart had two very nice looks at the net on this four-on-four.
  • MIKE ECONOMOS PUTS UTAH UP 3-0! Ausmus and De Jong get the assists!
  • SO of course Herbert gets a double minor, and the Oilers score on it.
  • There’s an honest to goodness chili chant going on here!
  • Tulsa’s net is empty!
  • EMPTY NET GOAL. MARCHMENT AGAIN.
  • EVERYONE GETS CHILI.
  • GRIZZLIES WINNNNNNNN 4-1!!!

The three stars of the game went to Cannata (32/33 saves), Marchment (two goals), and Economos (one goal).

If Coach Branham was pleased with Friday’s effort, he was even more pleased with Saturday’s consistency. “If you look at these last two games, we didn’t play very well the previous three, so just cause we played well yesterday doesn’t mean that you deserve to get a win,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve got to battle through it and get some consistency before the hockey gods reward you. Tonight Joe Cannata was outstanding, our penalty kill did a good job, which a lot of it is Joe Cannata, we capitalized on our chances. I thought we played very similar to yesterday, and when you play consistent you deserve a better fate. Tonight was good, tonight was a great response. Obviously, the crowd was unreal, I know there was extra motivation there for the boys, it’s always good to get the win.”

Cannata’s play was a big part of the winning effort, and was night and day from his disastrous first period last game. “That’s what’s gonna happen,” Said Branham. “Look at playoffs last year. You’re going to go through adversity in your career and throughout the season. The professionals, like Joe, they respond. He’s been there before, he’s won a championship, so he knows what it takes. We’re not worried about him in the least, he wants to do well every night and wants to win for this team. He takes a lot of pride in it, and tonight he was outstanding.”

Economos picked up his third goal with the Grizzlies, and has seemed to flourish in the larger role he’s found himself in with the number of forwards out of the line up–certainly proving himself to be a better addition than many perhaps expected. “I would agree with that.” Branham said of the assessment. “From day one he’s been a fabulous addition. He belongs in this league, he belongs in every opportunity we give him that he gets, and that was a big goal, that was a big goal for him. He’s got a great attitude, protects his teammates, a great kid. He deserves this.”

In the past couple games, multiple surprising members of the Grizzlies have stepped up and dropped the gloves. Friday it was Tim McGauley, and Saturday it was Jack Walker “That’s a team effort. No one wants to fight Zahn right? So Walker and McGauley are next in line!” Brahnham joked. “That’s what it takes,” He added more seriously. “Our tough guys protect those guys, and those guys repay the favour by dropping the gloves so it’s not always our tough guys. Good on Walks. He’s a good kid.”

After the game, the jersey auction raised over $16,000 for charity, so all in all, it was a great way to end the week.

However, there’s no rest for the victorious, and Utah will take on Idaho on Monday at 1 PM.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Jess Fleming and staff.

Utah Grizzlies @ Cincinnati Cyclones: Measuring Up

For the first time in quite a while, the Grizzlies iced 16 skaters with Nolan De Jong, Josh Anderson, and Turner Ottenbreit all in the lineup. Joe Cannata got the start against Cincinnati, who have a number of former Grizzlies: Nate Mitton, Mitch Jones, and Eric Knodel.

First Period

  • Couple of great looks for the Grizzlies early.
  • Cannata misplays the puck and Cinci strikes first. In Cannata’s defense, he hasn’t played in quite a while.
  • Aaaand now Walters to the box. This is definitely not ideal.
  • Oh that was some sweet, sweet passing leading to Henke’s eleventh goal, and on the power play!

  • Some pushing and shoving leads to offsetting minors to Ottenbreit and Boomhower.
  • Lots of space here on the ice now that we’re four-on-three.
  • That is a GLORIOUS way to break the slump!! Walters with a very nice goal two-on-one with Richart.
  • So many penalties in this game.
  • 2-1 lead, shots 11-8 for us. A good start.

Second Period

  • Aaaand we’re tied again.
  • That was a very nice look from McGauley.
  • WHY would you start a shoving match in front of Cannata with Ottenbreit, Carroll, and Zahn standing right there? That seems like a bad idea!
  • Ausmus is having another strong game.
  • Economos gets run over and Josh Anderson takes exception, dropping the gloves with Justin Vaive.
  • This felt like a fairly uneventful period, even with the goal and the fight.
  • I SPOKE TOO SOON. I’M SO SORRY.
  • This was not ideal.
  • 3-2 after two.

Third Period

  • Walker got the first shot of the period just 12 seconds in, and no one else has got one in the next 4+ minutes.
  • Fight number two of the game goes to Carroll and Arvin Atwal who started a fight behind the play.
  • Aaaand we have another fight. Barron drops the gloves with Aquin this time.
  • Half a period to go, each team has only got one shot this period.
  • Considering the Grizzlies trail by one, we’re gonna need some more shots…
  • TIM MCGAULEY WITH A TERRIFIC SHOT.

  • And boy did that wake up both teams.
  • Well, regulation solves nothing!

OT

  • Cincinnati has all four shots in OT so far…
  • Fortunately Cannata has been SOLID in extra time.
  • That was a nice spinning shot from Walters.
  • That was an irritatingly good save from Houser.

Shootout

  • Round 1
    McGauley🚨
    Glotov 🚫
  • Round 2
    Walters 🚫
    Marnell 🚨
  • Round 3
    Walker 🚨
    Powell 🚫
  • WALKER GOES BAR DOWN!! He’s making quite a habit of winning shots!
  • CANNATA WITH THE SAVE!!
  • 4-3 GRIZZLIES!!!

Walker’s game winner earned him first star, Cincinnati’s Mike Marnell got second star, And Walters took third star with a goal and an assist.

The Grizzlies considered this meeting against the best team in the conference a “measuring stick game”. Considering it took a shoot-out to break the deadlock, and that the shots were a very close 36-32 for Utah, it would seem that they measure up very well. Utah remains on top of the Mountain Division, and holds games in hand on all of their division rivals. It might not have been the most dazzling game the Grizzlies have played this season, but they got the job done, and that’s what matters.

They will now head out to Wheeling for Friday’s game.

Utah Grizzlies vs Wichita Thunder: Home Sweep Home

With Nolan De Jong loaned to the AHL San Jose Barracuda, the Grizzlies went into this game back down to nine forwards and five defensemen, counting Ryan Misiak as a defenseman. Even though Joe Cannata returned from Colorado, the Grizzlies went with the hot hand in Kevin Carr.

First Period

  • That seemed like a really fast first five minutes. Shots 3-1 for Utah, not much by way of whistles, just good, quick hockey.
  • Henke, Barron, and Richart all just barely missed the net in a very short period of time.
  • And now Walters and Dzakhov with a pair.
  • Kevin Carr is in the zone again.
  • All your second chances belong to the Grizzlies.
  • The more he plays, the more I like Dzakhov.
  • This has been a very businesslike first period. Already half-way through, and there hasn’t been a penalty or many whistles.
  • So I say that and Utah gets a power play.
  • The puck support has been really good the past two games especially. As demonstrated there by Zahn and Raats.
  • Carr makes a crazy series of saves, and the crowd is loving it.
  • Walters gets held down in front of the net with, and we all resent that.
  • Zahn with the penalty less than a minute before the end of the first.

Second Period

  • McGauley and Barron had a really nice short-handed chance there.
  • That was almost very bad…fortunately, Carr wasn’t going to let that one-on-none get past him.
  • Well, we’re certainly not scoreless from lack of effort from the boys!
  • JUST CALL HIM ROCKET RICHART!! 1-0 Utah!!
  • And just to keep everyone excited, Economos and Crevier-Morin drop the gloves! It’s been a busy first five minutes!
  • With Economos in the box for five minutes, Misiak appears to be taking shifts at forward.
  • OH MAN, if Jack Walker had been facing the other way, that would have been a goal for sure.
  • Uhg. After all that, Wichita ties it up.
  • Cam Reid levels Joey Raats, and we’re off to the power play.

Third Period

  • Walters gets hauled down on a breakaway, and somehow it’s Dzakhov going to the box for interference. That seems…not right. As Adrian Denny used to say, I don’t know about that.
  • Economos to the box for high-sticking. And of course it’s Cam Reid who makes it 2-1.
  • Walters has had some serious chances lately, but he’s just been so snake bitten.
  • Power play time!
  • THE SWEET CARROLL LINE MAKES IT 2-2!!
  • Richart with a really sweet move, but Stuart Skinner is up for the challenge.
  • A series of unfortunate events puts the puck right on Larkin’s stick. 3-2 for Wichita.
  • Henke sure didn’t miss by much on that shot.
  • Pretty sure Ausmus should have gotten a penalty there, but I guess we can call this even for that time where we should have gotten a call earlier!
  • CARROLL SCORES AGAIN TO TIE IT AGAIN. Walters and Raats get the assists!
  • Penalty for the Thunder!
  • To OT we go!!

OT

  • Good possession to open OT on the power play, but nothing doing.
  • JACK WALKER IN OT!!!!!
  • GRIZZLIES WIN 4-3!!

Walker’s OT game winner and assist on Carroll’s first goal earned him the first star of the game, Austin Carroll got second star with his two third period goals, and Taylor Richart, who started the scoring, earned third star honors. Kevin Carr also could have earned one of the stars, especially with his play in the first two periods before the team started scoring. Additionally, both Walker and McGauley had two assists each and were also stand-outs.

“I didn’t even know I scored, really,” Walker said when asked about his goal, “I just came around the net and was actually looking for a pass back-door, and it just kind of happened to find it’s way in, but I’ll take it, and it’s a good two points for the team!”

With just a couple of exceptions, Branham was pleased with his team’s effort. “I thought those first two periods we played pretty well, pretty hockey,” he said, “Bad break there at the end of the second, there was four or five mistakes that led to that goal, we can’t allow that to happen in the last two minutes of the period. And then the third period,  Wichita’s a good team. They are. They’re a good team, they have a good goaltender, we probably could have had five or six goals. The goalie played well, so did ours. Kevin made some big stops there. What can you say? The boys’ resiliency, they never stopped working, there was no panic on the bench. Austin Carroll, big game for him.”

Branham had further words of praise for all three stars of the game. “[Carroll’s] a good player, spent three years in the American League, he knows how to play the game the right way, plays hard, plays physical, he can score goals, he’s got good hands for a big man. Another player I thought played really well today was Taylor Richart. He just had a solid game all around, offensively, defensively, he was really good. And then Jack Walker, he’s really picking it up. He’s becoming a really big part of this team and he’s doing a good job.”

“That was a huge third period.” Carroll himself said, “More than anything, the boys just came together huge. Being down a goal once, coming back, being down a goal again, and coming back, and then Walker there in overtime just to finish it off, it’s a big character win and I know we’re all happy and coaches are happy as well, so it’s a good feeling.”

The Grizzlies will look to carry the momentum from these three wins into their upcoming road trip, where they hope that playing hard and keeping things simple will serve them as well in Cincinnati, Wheeling, and Fort Wayne as it has this week.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.