Utah Grizzlies: Fuel on the Fire

Back home after taking three out of five games on the road, and picking up points in all but the game against the Indy Fuel, the Grizzlies returned home. Helmed by Teigan Zahn for the first time in front of the Maverik Center crowd, the team got Caleb Herbert back from a stint in the AHL. Kevin Carr got his fifth start as Utah looked to avenge their lone regulation loss.

The Grizzlies hopped up to a 3-1 shot advantage in the first four minutes, thanks in large part to a busy shift by Herbert, Ully, and Berry. On the other end of the ice, Carr made a couple of quick saves. Once past the initial couple of minutes, Indy put their foot down and spent a shift or two in the Grizzlies’ end before the Fuel pushed back. Carr made a couple of big saves, including a nice poke check as a Fuel player got position on the Utah defender and drove the net about seven minutes in.

Utah eventually evened out the shots, both teams getting seven by the mid-way point, though by the time there were seven minutes left, Carr had come up with some more big saves.

The Grizzlies drew the first power play of the night at 15:10 when Kevin Dufour took a slashing call. The Grizzlies’ lethal power play made short work of the advantage, Jake Marchment scoring his fifth of the year from Cole Ully and Herbert.

In the dying minutes of the period, Matt Berry took a slashing call, and Utah ended the period on a very strong kill, out-shooting Indy 17-13.

The Fuel scored in the last two seconds of the penalty kill to start the second, but it didn’t matter, because Tim McGauley made the most of a glorious muddle, putting the home team up 2-1 from Gage Ausmus and Brendan Harms.

Both teams had some serious pep in their step, but the Grizzlies had a step or two more, which resulted in McGauley striking at 7:41 assisted by Austin Carroll.

Turner Ottenbreit joined the fun less than two minutes later, getting his first goal of the year on an authoritative shot. Ully and Herbert got the assists.

After holding the Grizzlies in it in the first, Carr coughed up a puck behind the net, and Connor Moynihan got in on the spate of scoring to cut the lead in half at 11:33.

The game settled down slightly after that, the next notable event being Zach Miskovic tripping up Ully for the power play. Utah definitely went about the advantage with purpose, but the period and the power play came to an end almost simultaneously with no change in score. So, after a wild 20, Utah led 4-2, out-shooting Indy 32-19.

Indy drew within one with another early period goal from Darfour 56 seconds in. Herbert took a slashing call 2:24 into the third and McGauley flew in all alone short-handed. He was awarded a chance to finish the hat trick on a penalty shot, but unfortunately Matt Tomkins was up for the challenge.

Carr once again came up big in an absolutely wild scramble around the Utah net, and Zahn headed to the box for holding an Indy player’s stick at 4:56.

The Grizzlies killed it off, and set up a gorgeous tick-tack-toe bit of passing that put the puck on Ausmus’ stick. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to put the puck over Tomkins.

The Utah got a power play of their own at 8:05, but were unable to capitalize, and the parade to the sin bin continued as Berry went back to the box for high-sticking at 10:34. The Grizzlies killed well though, and by the time the game headed into the final five minutes, they’d racked up 40 shots to Indy’s 27.

With three minutes left in the period, the Fuel pulled Tomkins for an extra attacker, but were unable to muster a single shot.

When the final buzzer sounded, Utah had out-shot their opponent 43-27, and held on to the 4-3 lead, paying back their lone regulation loss of the season.

“We definitely knew coming into this game that they were the only team that had one on us, so we wanted to make sure that we brought our A game tonight and really came out explosive.” McGauley said. “I mean they hung in there for sure. You’ve got to give them credit, they’re a good hockey club over there, but we just stuck with it tonight, and fortunately for us, we got the right outcome.”

McGauley’s explosive two-goal performance got him the game’s first star, and he was one of three Grizzlies players to put up six shots. Ottenbreit’s first goal of the year nabbed him second star, and Herbert, one of the others with six shots, was named third star with two assists. Ully also got two assists, extending his point streak to eight games.

More or less the entire team played well, but there were a couple of other standouts. Carroll is also on an eight-game point streak (extended with an assist in this game), Walters was the third player with six shots, and Marchment has picked up seven points in six games.

When asked about what Marchment brings in his return to the team, Branham said, “His presence on draws, blocking shots on the penalty kill, the way he can control the puck along the wall in the offensive zone, a responsible player. It’s nice to get him back, and a great leader in the dressing room too, so all around a great person and definitely nice to solidify that spot down the middle.”

He also noted how nice it was to pick up a win against the team that handed them their only regulation loss so far before adding, “All around a great team effort tonight. I thought the penalty kill did a really great job. I know they scored a goal there with two seconds left, but I thought we did a pretty good job of killing them. Overall, very happy with it. Definitely a lot of offense, definitely a lot of speed, we can overwhelm teams with it, so that’s the game plan.”

Both McGauley and Branham noted that there are still some things to work on, the later saying, “I think we can work on our structure a little bit, but you know what, with the way that we’re creating offense, you kinda give them a little bit of leeway on that.”

Overall, though, Branham was pleased with the effort. “I thought that the D played a solid game, Carrsy made some big saves there at the end, that’s for sure. I thought it was a complete team effort. We came through when we needed to. That’s a good team over there, they’ve got a lot of offense too, so for us to shut them down like that in the end is good.”

Ully earned himself a call up to the Eagles on Thursday, so presumably the Grizzlies will be without him in the Friday and Saturday rematches. If the way the team has been scoring lately is any indication though, there’ll be no lack of goals this weekend.

 

 

Image courtesy of Action Sports Photography.

Utah Grizzlies: No Signs of Stopping

Going into the season, we knew in theory that Utah was going to be an offensive power house, and that it wouldn’t just be one guy carrying the team. Through out the season so far, they’ve showed that to a certain extent, but they always had Caleb Herbert blazing the way. So with Herbert and Travis Barron called up to the AHL, it wasn’t so much a question of whether or not the Grizzlies would continue to to score, but who would pick up the slack, and whether it would be enough.

The answer was a resounding yes.

With Herbert and Barron gone, R.T. Rice and Brendan Harms both drew back in, while Kevin Carr got the start.

Utah came out hot, getting a power play at 1:19. Matt Berry was a man on a mission from the moment the puck dropped, and made it 1-0 on the advantage, with an assist from Kevin Davis.

Less than five minutes later, as if determined to prove that the Grizzlies wouldn’t miss his line-mate Herbert, Austin Carroll took a beautiful pass from Gage Ausmus behind Wichita’s net, and made no mistake, putting the puck past a sprawling Dylan Wells. Ryan Walters got the secondary assist.

Less than a minute after that, Wichita took another penalty, Pierre-Cedric Labrie going to the box for interference, but Utah got nothing going.

It didn’t really matter though. Not only did the Grizzlies play well in the offensive zone, but they took care of Carr, keeping the Thunder to just two shots while picking up ten of their own through the first twelve minutes or so.

And they were just getting started.

At 13:40, Tim McGauley threw the puck at the net, and Berry got his second of the period. The goal saw the end of Wells’ night, and Stuart Skinner took over in net.

While the offense was clicking, the defense kept things under control in their end. Taylor Richart was especially noticeable towards the end of the first, blocking shots and gotting in the way of passes. Carr also was sharp, making three flashy glove saves in a row as the game progressed into the final four minutes of the frame.

After 20, the Grizzlies had a strong 3-0 lead, and had played as good a period of hockey as they had all season.

The second did not get off to a good start, though, as Carroll took a high-sticking call just 16 seconds in, and Ralph Cuddemi made it 3-1. Then Labrie boarded Nolan De Jong. Utah got a five minute power play. De Jong skated off under his own power, but did  not return.

The man advantage wasn’t really able to get anything going as Wichita was very aggressive on the kill through the first two minutes. As they approached the three minute mark of the power play, Utah established a good offensive zone cycle, but though they got a number of shots, they couldn’t capitalize.

After the lengthy power play, the Grizzlies pressed hard, and drew yet another man advantage at 8:33. Cole Ully sniped one past Skinner for his fourth goal of the year from Davis and Jake Marchment to put Utah up 4-1.

Unfortunately, Berry took a holding call less than a minute later. Wichita kept Carr pretty busy, as they put up seven shots on their power play and in the minutes that followed. Carr was up to the task, however, which was especially important when Teigan Zahn took a delay of game penalty with 5:11 to go. The Grizzlies allowed only one shot on their Captain’s minor, and closed out the period still up 4-1, out-shooting the Thunder 25-18.

Wichita came out hot to start the third, and cut the lead in half as Jeremy Beaudry beat Carr at 1:38.

Ully was hauled down on the breakaway at 3:31, and was awarded a penalty shot. The Grizzlies’ second leading scorer beat Skinner handily on a nice shot, and re-established the three goal lead.

Unfortunately, Greg Chase made it 5-3 nearly half-way through the period, but the Grizzlies kept their foot on the pedal. Berry was especially noticeable, getting three good shots in the middle stages of the third.

With about seven left in the game, Ryan Misiak also went to the locker room and didn’t return, putting the Grizzlies down both De Jong and Misiak.

Carroll got a tripping call shortly thereafter and a crowd gathered. Once the dust had settled, Carroll had collected a roughing call, but had taken Cuddemi with him. Rice served Carroll’s initial tripping call, and Utah killed it off thanks to a good effort from Jake Marchment and the penalty killers.

Wichita pressured hard in the final three minutes, pulling Skinner with about 1:30 to go, but Marchment put the game to bed with an empty netter from just around center ice.

At the final buzzer of the 6-3 win, Utah had out-shot the Thunder 37-28, and four players had multi-point games. Leading the way in that department were Ully (named first star of the game with two goals and five shots, and now with points in seven straight games) and Berry (second star with two goals and a team-leading seven shots).

Carroll also has points in seven straight games, Davis picked up two assists for the second straight night, Marchment, who has points in all four games since he returned, had his third straight multi-point game, and Carr stopped 25 of 28 shots he faced, improving to 3-0-1 on the year. Moreover, the power play remains lethal, clocking in at an impressive 30.2%, still easily the best in the league, and converting on two of their four chances in the game.

Utah returns home 3-1-1 (7-1-3-0 on the season) where they will take on the Fuel on Wednesday night.

 

 

 

Utah Grizzlies: Winning in Wichita

After the 5-4 OT loss in Kansas City, the Grizzlies went with the same lineup in Wichita, only starting Joe Cannata instead of Kevin Carr. Teigan Zahn wore the captain’s C for the first time this season, while Ryan Walters and Taylor Richart retained their As.

The game did not get off to an auspicious start, with the Thunder snapping a puck past Cannata just 3:42 into the period.

It had looked like the Grizzlies had scored, just under half-way through the period, but the net came loose before the puck passed the line. However, the Utah did get a power play. Though they didn’t capitalize, by the end of the advantage they had out-shot Wichita 11-3.

The rest of the period was fast-paced, but though the Grizzlies continued to out-shoot the Thunder 13-4, after 20 they still trailed 1-0.

Utah got an early power play in the second, and the most lethal weapon on the league’s most lethal power play struck once more, Caleb Herbert making it 1-1 from Jake Marchment and Cole Ully.

The power play got another look five minutes in, but Austin Carroll took a tripping penalty at 6:39, sending the teams to a brief four-on-four before the Grizzlies killed off the penalty.

Utah got another crack at the advantage, but were unable to draw ahead, and unfortunately after Tim McGauley was denied on the breakaway, Hayden Hodgson gave the Thunder the 2-1 lead.

Matt Berry went to the box less than a minute later, but the period ended with no change in score, Utah out-shooting Wichita 29-16.

Carroll scored at 6:05 of the third, tipping in a bomb from Richart, but Ralph Cuddemi once again gave the Thunder the lead a minute later.

Berry and Jared Wilson took matching roughing calls half-way through the third, and then Zahn took a slashing call. Nothing changed, and no sooner had Zahn stepped out of the box, than he dropped the gloves with Matt Schmalz.

Cuddemi took a hooking call with three to go, and McGauley made Wichita pay, tying the game from Walters and De Jong.

The remainder of regulation time solved nothing, Utah out-shooting the Thunder 41-24. You would have been forgiven for feeling anxiety going into extra time, considering the Grizzlies struggles thus far, but you would have been wrong in this game. John McFarland took a tripping call against Richart, and the power play remained white hot, when Herbert got his second of the night, once more from Ully and Marchment.

Honestly, what is there left to say about Herbert? He’s a scoring machine, and his two goals and ten shots of the game got him first star honors. Richart (initially credited with the tying goal that eventually was awarded to Carroll) was named second star, and appears to be rounding into form, playing what was perhaps his most obviously strong game so far. Jake Marchment appears to be settling in nicely, picking up two assists, and it would appear that McGauley is heating up.

 


 

In a rare morning game, the same two teams squared off once more on Wednesday in Wichita, Utah going with the same roster. The Grizzlies had clearly had their coffee, picking up the first couple of shots. in the opening minutes of the frame.

However, Ryan Walters took a hooking call, and the Thunder went to the power play. The kill remained strong though, and didn’t allow a shot.

Then the game got crazy. To start it all off, Caleb Herbert scored his eleventh for Utah, from Cole Ully and Kevin Davis.

Matt Schmalz answered right back, then Steven Iacobellis scored again for the Thunder. The lead did not last, however, and Tim McGauley tied it up once more.

All that action in less than two minutes!

Greg Chase took a high-sticking minor at 11:18, then tried to goad Ully into joining him in the box, to no avail. Chase also got a roughing call, and Utah got a four minute power play.

The best power play in the league came up empty, and Ralph Cuddemi made them regret it as he sniped one on Joe Cannata to give the Thunder the lead. Pierre-Cedric Labrie took a late tripping call on McGauley, but the period and the advantage came to an end together. Despite out-shooting Wichita 17-9, the Grizzlies remained behind 3-2.

Utah drew a power play at 3:44, but the power play continued to struggle, getting only one shot, and spending some time defending in their own zone. Cannata was up to the challenge though, and the Thunder returned to full strength.

Ryan Misiak and Travis Barron caused some chaos around the Wichita net about half-way through the frame, but neither put the puck past Stuart Skinner.

The Thunder got going in the Utah zone, but Jake Marchment’s line took back possession, and Marchment tied it up on a nice pass from Ryan Walters. Nolan De Jong got the secondary assist.

Barron took a high-sticking penalty with 1:37 to go, but when the period came to an end, the score was still 3-3, shots 29-18 for the Grizzlies.

1:23 into the third, Ully’s speed drew a tripping call. However, the unusual power play struggles of this game continued.

Another furious spate of action saw first Travis Brown making it 4-3 through a screen, then just 22 seconds later, De Jong scored his first of the season from Davis and Ryan Misiak, giving them both their second assists.

Ully took a cross-checking minor at 6:11, but on the next face-off, Iacobellis took a call, and the teams played four-on-four for 1:55.

Around the eight minute mark, the Grizzlies got some good offensive zone pressure, picking up four straight shots, unfortunately, the Captains tangled in front of the Utah net, and Teigan Zahn got an interference call for putting Dyson Stevenson into the net.

With just 1:55 to go, Marchment got his second of the game, and that’s how it ended.

Utah out-shot Wichita (known for giving up a lot of shots) 40-23, and picked up their second win against the Thunder.

Unlike in Sunday’s game, the power play really struggled, going 0/6, an giving up a couple of good looks to the penalty killers. However, it gave the Grizzlies an opportunity to get it done at even strength, which they certainly did. It was also great to see the secondary scoring come alive, as every line contributed at least one goal, and multiple players not named Caleb Herbert had multi-point games.

Misiak had one of his best games of the year, picking up two assists, and third star honors, Marchment, of course, had the two goals, including the game winner, which got him first star, while De Jong had a goal and an assist, Walters had two assists, as did Kevin Davis.

Then, of course, there is Herbert, who just hasn’t cooled down. He now has 18 points in ten games, and has only been held off the scoreboard once, in Utah’s lone regulation loss this season. He leads the league now in both goals (11) and points.

Whatever struggles the Grizzlies have had in keeping the puck out of their own net have been more then compensated for by their offense.

Utah plays Wichita once more on Friday before returning home.

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

 

Utah Grizzlies: Road Trip Woes

Friday night’s game was, in a word, disjointed.

Ryan Misiak was placed on reserve as the Grizzlies, Jake Marchment made his Grizzlies debut after returning to the team from San Diego, and Joe Cannata got the start against the Indy Fuel.

Teigan Zahn and Anthony Collins dropped the gloves just four minutes in, then the Fuel took a penalty less than a minute later. Utah was unable to make anything of it before Matt Berry took a slashing call, and sent the teams to some four-on-four time.

Indy prevented the Grizzlies from getting any kind of flow going, laying down hits any time a Utah player got any kind of speed going, and just generally looking like the more efficient team. It paid off for them at 14:07 when Robert Powers opened the scoring.

Austin Carroll did answer in the dying seconds of the first with his first of the year from Cole Ully and Nolan De Jong, but that was the only goal the Grizzlies would muster.

The second period did not begin well, the Fuel making it 2-1 just 42 seconds in. Utah got a power play chance about a minute later, but it almost ended in disaster as both Ully and Caleb Herbert got hit, leading to a three-on-one short-handed. Fortunately, Cannata turned that aside.

Things didn’t get better after that either, as Berry was given Utah’s first face-off violation penalty of the season at 3:30.

The Grizzlies took another questionable penalty at 5:36, and though initially they did a good job killing it off, Herbert even getting a couple of beautiful chances short-handed, a weird bounce made it 3-1.

The third didn’t see a lot of action in the early stages, and though Indy’s Connor Moynihan took a high-sticking call shortly past the half-way mark, Utah couldn’t capitalize.

Branham pulled Cannata with well over two minutes to go, and things looked promising when Herbert drew a penalty, but there would be no comeback. Matt Rupert scored his second of the game into the empty net, and the Grizzlies suffered their first loss of the season.

It was an uncharacteristic game from top to bottom, and while we did see flashes of the performances we’ve come to expect, it was easily the team’s worst outing of the season.


 

There was a bit of a switch up in the roster for Saturday’s game, with Misiak drawing back in, and Brendan Harms taking a seat while Kevin Carr got the start against the Kansas City Mavericks.

Herbert got right back to his scoring ways, making it 1-0 at 3:49 from Kevin Davis and Travis Barron. Ully drew a penalty on the very next shift, but though Taylor Richart got a couple of big shots off, the Mavs killed it off.

Misiak took a holding call at 8:21, but Utah killed it off thanks to a couple of quick saves from Carr. The remainder of the period was fairly uneventful until C.J. Eick’s speed scooted him in past the Utah defensemen, and he tied it up with 1:15 to go.

The Mavericks sped up after that, but the period came to an end with the 1-1 tie, Kansas City out-shooting the Grizzlies 11-7.

The opening moments of the second were a little sloppy from Utah, with the result that Kansas City got the first three shots, and Carr came up big several times.

The Grizzlies drew a power play, and after a little blip that saw the Mavericks in the offensive zone, Carroll extended his scoring streak to two games on assists from Herbert and Ully.

In an absolute scrum, the Mavericks made it 3-2, Teigan Zahn and Jordan Klimek dropped the gloves, before Kansas City scored again on a clean shot.

However, Richart picked the perfect moment to score his first of the year, tying it up once more at 8:17. Herbert picked up his third point of the game, while Berry got the second assist.

Utah got another look on the power play half-way through the period, but were unable to draw ahead on the advantage. Both teams got away with what probably should have been penalties before Berry was sent to the box for tripping with almost exactly two minutes left in the frame.

Ryan Walters took a high-sticking call with 30 seconds left, but the Berry penalty and the period came to an end together with no change in score, Mavs out-shooting Utah 25-18.

Utah began the third with 1:30 remaining on Walters’ penalty, which they killed off fairly comfortably.

Jake Marchment scored his first goal of the season at 3:51 to give Utah the 4-3 lead from Tim McGauley and Turner Ottenbreiti, but because that’s just the way the game went, the Mavericks tied it up again at 7:27. That’s how things remained for the rest of regulation, and because Herbert took a hooking call as time expired, the Grizzlies began OT on the kill.

Utah killed off the penalty in what was definitely their best OT showing so far, but it wasn’t enough, and Mark Cooper got the game winner.

It was a much better outing than the game against Indy, but though earning a point is certainly better than nothing, the Grizzlies inability to get it done in overtime is frustrating.

Herbert got the third star of the game with a goal and two assists, and Berry deserves an honorable mention with five shots and an assist. Carroll also continues to look good, all of which will hopefully continue and culminate in a win in Wichita.

 

Image courtesy of Tim Broussard, Jess Fleming and staff.

Monday Munchies: Charley Graaskamp

During the 2017-18 season, we chatted with a handful of Grizzlies, including Ryan Walters, Travis Howe, Taylor Richart, and coaches Tim Branham and Ryan Kinasewich about their favourite foods, recipes, and more. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing one every Monday, so get out your pots and pans, and enjoy!

What’s your favourite kind of food?
I’m going to have to go with Mexican food.

Why is it your favourite?
I don’t know, I guess I’m a big Chipotle fan, and I like cooking spicier food too.

What’s your favourite recipe?
Probably the one I provided, the avocado chicken. It’s easy, it’s avocado, I love avocado,  it’s pretty simple to make, and doesn’t take too long.

Do you enjoy cooking?
I do. I really like cooking.

Are you any good at it?
I mean, my roommates may beg to differ, we’ve had a few close calls with the smoke alarms, but I’m actually pretty good at cooking.

Who on the team (or among your roommates) is the best cook?
Among my roommates, Marchment and Brandon, for sure me. Brandon’s new, so maybe he’s better, but I don’t know yet!

What about the worst cook?
Worst cook…I don’t know. It’s hard to say worst cook, cause if a person doesn’t cook…So I’m going to go with Jake Marchment just because I’ve never seen him cook anything in his life!

Recipe: Chicken and Avocado Burritos 

If you try these recipes, or any of the others, take a picture and share it with us on social media (Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram)!

Previous posts:
Ryan Walters
Rob Mann
Mitch Jones
Sam Windle