Utah Grizzlies vs Tulsa Oilers: A Better Effort

With Turner Ottenbreit and Caleb Herbert back in the lineup, the Grizzlies once again found themselves dressing a full complement of skaters. Joe Cannata got the start as the Grizzlies looked to avenge Wednesday’s outing. Though the score didn’t reflect it, it was a much better game.

First Period

  • Ausmus starts the game off with a sweet shot! We’re half-way to last game’s first period shot total! *insert copious laughing emoji faces*
  • Two shots and it hasn’t even been two minutes yet! Needless to say, the Grizzlies are already looking much more engaged early.
  • Five minutes gone and this has all the makings of a very good game.
  • You can tell there’s a lot of passion on both sides tonight.
  • OH boy. Dickinson did NOT miss the net by much there.
  • Walker and Dickinson have been SO CLOSE to connecting for a goal twice tonight.
  • I have a bad feeling about this penalty kill…
  • ….O mea culpa, mia maxima culpa.
  • The Grizzlies are hustling to some purpose tonight.
  • Ok, some nights you can chalk up a team trailing 2-0 to lack of effort. That isn’t the case tonight. It wasn’t an ideal bounce though, that’s for sure.
  • Now THAT goal was definitely not good. Carr in net now for the Grizzlies.
  • Oh geez. Herbert gets taken down and is very slow to get up. Just what we need.
  • Mike McKee gets five and a game for slew footing, and Herbert remains on the bench, though not on the power play.
  • Well. The effort was better. Shots 13-8 for Utah though they trail 3-0 after 20.

Second Period

  • This power play is not stellar.
  • I take that back. The beginning was not great, but they had some really crisp passing at the end there, followed up by a big block by Richart to keep the puck from heading into the Utah zone uncontested.
  • Dickinson has been superb so far, and draws a penalty! Really long delayed power play there.
  • The Grizzlies crash the net, and absolute chaos breaks out. Kromm and Carroll to the box with matching minors.
  • Herbert with a glorious look…that goes wide.
  • Grizzlies out-shooting Tulsa 19-10.
  • Haha pretty sure that should have been two each for holding on Walker and that Tulsa player.
  • Speaking of Walker though, it cannot be stated enough how good Walker and Dickinson have looked tonight.
  • Things are starting to get just a little bit nasty…
  • Herbert might not be quite at Ully levels of turning on a dime, but he sure isn’t far off.
  • Oh bah. Tulsa makes it 4-0 just after both teams return to full strength.
  • This game just goes from bad to worse. 5-0 with less than a minute to go in the second. Where did the defense go??
  • This game started out so well, then went down hill, and hasn’t quite found its way back yet.

Third Period

  • Shouldn’t…that have been slashing?
  • Zahn with some snarl in his game to start the period!
  • Carr gets run into and still manages to put the puck out of danger.
  • Herbert to the box, Tulsa scores.
  • Please everyone slow down.
  • EXCEPT YOU, TIM MCGAULEY. 6-1.
  • AND MARCHMENT MAKES IT 6-2.
  • Some how McGauley gets a fight and a game misconduct for being…the aggressor?
  • Tulsa gets a power play for that kerfuffle, and makes it 7-2. Because that’s how tonight is going.
  • BIG hit from Ausmus.
  • Carroll gets thrown out for…reasons. This is fine. Everything is fine.
  • But Tulsa immediately negates the power play with a high-sticking penalty.
  • Richart is arguing Zahn’s case, but no dice. Zahn gets a game as well. Because that’s really just how tonight is going.
  • OTTENBREIT WITH THE SHORTY. 7-3 from Dickinson who has two well deserved points on the night.
  • Well, the score wasn’t great, but there was definitely a great deal more energy, and getting back to the good things in their game tonight than in the past couple of games (puck support, making better plays, etc, etc). So that at least is encouraging. Even if the score…uh. Isn’t.
  • 7-3 Tulsa, shots 39-27 for Utah.

As mentioned, Walker and Dickinson were both very exciting to watch tonight, and as always, it was great to get Herbert back in the lineup, and to have a full complement of defensemen.

“I think we came out hard in the first period than we have in the last handful of games or so, it didn’t show in the score, but I think that was one of the best games that we lost this year, so to speak.” Said Jake Marchment, who scored the Grizzlies’ second power play goal on a very nice backhander. “We worked hard, bounces weren’t there. But we had a five minute power play when it was three-nothing, and we didn’t score, we had a couple more, it could have been a lot closer. If we bring that effort tomorrow and just bear down a little more, we’ll be successful.”

Head Coach Tim Branham also looked on the bright side. “First off, I want to give [Tulsa] credit. They’re a good hockey club. They work hard, they play as a team, they do a good job. Rob does a good job over there. Second thing is you’re exactly right, we came out, we took it to them, we outplayed them, out shot them, out chanced them, they get a power play and we didn’t sacrifice a couple things, and maybe a couple lucky bounces, it ends up in the back of your net and we end up behind the eight ball. I was actually really proud of the way the guys played tonight. Certainly five-on-five, I thought we did ok even penalty kill, but a couple of bad bounces here and there. Power play, it was good we got a couple there at the end, hopefully that’ll kick start us. But definitely, I thought we played a pretty good hockey game. Whether we deserved a different fate, I don’t know. It wasn’t a 7-3 game, we were definitely much better than that.”

As for the games ahead? “You’ve gotta put these two games behind you tomorrow and come out and play, have that start that we had today, and then from there we’ll take it shift by shift, and period by period, and see what happens. I like our odds. It’s a great group of guys, we’ve had a good season so far. We’re in a little bit of a slump, it’s still a good team, and I know we’ll be alright.”

The Grizzlies get one more crack at Tulsa in this series on Saturday, which is also Guns ‘N Hoses night.

 

Photo courtesy of Jess Fleming and staff.

Utah Grizzlies @ Wheeling Nailers: Hammer Time

With the exception of Kevin Carr in net, the roster in Wheeling remained as they had in the Grizzlies’ win in Cincinnati, though Joey Raats took some shifts at forward.

First Period

  • Both teams exchanging power plays in the first five minutes. Sort of hard to tell how anyone looks when all we’ve got is a black screen… XD
  • Nailers out-shooting Utah 8-3, but sounds like the Sweet Carroll Line is off to a very hot start.
  • Henke strikes first!! He seems to be making quite the habit of that! McGauley and Barron get the assists.
  • Huzzah! We have video! And a power play!
  • Marchment and Walker created a very nice chance there.
  • Aaaaand now we’re five-on-four as Henke, Carroll, and Titcomb are all sent to the box.

Second Period

  • I still can’t believe the Grizzlies got J.T. Henke off waivers.
  • Lots of shots for Wheeling, would really appreciate it if Utah would go play in the offensive zone a little bit more than they are…
  • Oh that was a nice shot. Barron from Walters and Henke on the power play. 2-0 with half the period to go.
  • Carr bobbled there, but still got back in time to make the save.
  • Barron to the box.
  • Yes, you did hear right. Carr is 11-2-1 this season.

Third Period

  • Wheeling with four of the first five shots in the first 2:30, but fortunately, Carr is sharp.
  • Now six shots…though McGauley, Henke, and Economos had nice opportunities (which did not count as shots).
  • Ah that shift was more like it, and it draws a power play!
  • That is not a good power play.
  • Carr continues to be very, very good right now.
  • Tyson keeps mentioning the goalie thing that you don’t mention until they complete it, and it’s making me nervous.
  • It’s been a pretty uneventful period, but considering the score, that’s probably a good thing.
  • Uneventful, but Wheeling is still racking up shots.
  • Empty net for Wheeling…
  • If the Nailers ruin this in the last 40 seconds, I’m never gonna forgive them…
  • Marchment with the empty netter!!
  • With his second SHUT-OUT of the year, Carr improves to 12-2-1 this season, and the Grizzlies remain undefeated in 2019!!
  • Babies don’t belong in refrigerators, just saying.
  • 3-0 Utah!

Kevin Carr’s 30/30 saves easily earned him first star of the game, while Henke and Barron (both with a goal and an assist) got the second and third stars. It’s a very quick turnaround for the team, as they get on the bus tonight to head to Fort Wayne, where they will finish off the road trip tomorrow (Saturday).

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

Utah Grizzlies vs. Wichita Thunder: A Wild, Wild Wednesday

It’s a new year, and I’m going to try something a little different. The Grizzlies always post a game recap on their website, so I’m going to take a leaf out of the Habs Eyes on the Prize book and do a modified version of what we call “Top Six Minutes”, which is very informal in style, and therefore much easier to produce while running around like a mad person during home games.

With the return of Travis Barron, Nolan De Jong, and Jake Marchment, as well as the signing of Stanislav Dzakhov, the Grizzlies played with the closest thing to a full roster that they’d had in weeks. Kevin Carr got the start behind ten forwards and five defensemen, and with Joe Cannata back in the AHL, Jay Stevens made an appearance as the EBUG.

First Period

  • Naturally, former Grizz Ralph Cuddemi gets the first shot of the game. Fortunately, Carr smothers it.
  • Wichita scores first. Not an ideal start, that’s for sure.
  • Really nice defensive move by J.T. Henke there to prevent a one-on-none.
  • Wichita has jumped out to a 5-0 lead in shots…
  • That was a really nifty spin-o-rama from Ryan Walters to hold onto puck possession, and look at that! A power play!
  • Some really quick whistles in a row here…
  • After a rough start, Utah seems to have settled down nicely. Carr with some good saves, and shots are now 5-4.
  • Jack Walker with those wheels.
  • Utah takes over the shot lead with just under five to go in the first!
  • That Sweet Carroll Line picks up right where they left off at the end of last year! Austin Carroll from Walker and De Jong to tie the game!
  • That was NOT a good hit on Dzakhov. He’s down on the ice, and Jakob Stukel gets a match penalty for an illegal check to the head.

Second Period

  • The good news is that Dzakhov is on the bench to start the period.
  • The bad news is that penalties to Marchment and Richart killed off the remainder of that lengthy power play pretty effectively.
  • Of course Cam Reid scores on the power play with an assist from Ralph Cuddemi.
  • Walker ties it up, tapping the puck past Stuart Skinner for his first! Carroll and Marchment get the assists.
  • Barron makes it 3-2 on the power play! Assists to Henke and De Jong.
  • Another power play for Utah, and less than a minute after Barron’s goal, Marchment makes it 4-2 with a sweet move. Carroll and Richart get the assists.
  • PHEW. That was a wild couple of minutes!!
  • Now if they’d stop the insanity for just a few minutes so I can catch my breath…
  • Side note, shots are now 24-10 for Utah!
  • Well, that was a FUN period.

Third Period

  • One of these days that big shot of Gage Ausmus’ is gonna find the back of the net.
  • TIM MCGAULEY GOES BAR DOWN!!
  • Goal number five spells the end of Skinner’s night. Edwin Minney is in net now.
  • Carroll getting up in a Wichita player’s face. Boy is he fun to have back in the lineup. He brings it all: goals, exciting skating, and all that snark!
  • Walters in on a breakaway short-handed gets tied up, but gets an offensive zone draw!
  • McGauley wanted another one, but Minney shuts him down.
  • MacMillan gives Dzakhov a couple of jabs, and when Dzakhov turns around to retaliate, he’s dinged with a penalty.
  • With just under three to go, Iacobellis gets a third, on yet another assist from Reid.
  • 1:30 to go, Wichita’s net is empty…
  • GRIZZLIES WIN 5-3!!! Final shot count 31-22 for Utah.
  • Aaaaand of course there’s nonsense after the buzzer!

The three stars of the game all went to members of the Carroll Line. Carroll himself got first star with a goal and two assists, Walker’s first goal and sixth assist of the year earned him second star (and his five shots led the team), and Marchment got third star, also with a goal and an assist.

“I thought the first ten minutes of that hockey game we were just losing battles, they were beating us to pucks, winning battles, and then as the first period went on I thought we got better” said Tim Branham. “We took control in the second with our power play, for sure, and then in the third I thought we played well too. But there’s still some things we need to clean up to make things a little easier on ourselves, but definitely proud of our effort tonight. We’re short-handed again, and found a way to win.”

When asked what Carroll brings to the lineup, and what his return means to the team Branham said, “American league experience, winning experience, he can make plays, a big part of the early success of our hockey club, it’s definitely nice to have him back for as long as we have him.”

The Grizzlies will face off against the Thunder once again on Friday and Saturday.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

Utah Grizzlies vs Idaho Steelheads Recap: The Henke Show

Still short-handed on the blue line, the Grizzlies met the Steelheads in Idaho in a battle for Mountain Division supremacy. Tim Branham went with the hot hand, giving Kevin Carr the start. Tim McGauley also returned to the lineup, and Ryan Misiak remained Utah’s fifth defenseman.

Both teams began well, but Idaho got the first three shots followed by the first goal just before the three-minute mark. A minute later Jake Marchment dropped the gloves with Kale Kessy after the latter hit Caleb Herbert, both getting five for fighting and two for removing their helmets.

Utah remained shot-less, but drew a power play 6:01. Taylor Richart got the only shot of the advantage, and Idaho returned to full strength.

J.T. Henke kept his streak alive tying the game 1-1 at 8:57 on a completely uncontested centering shot from Tim McGauley. Richart got the secondary assist. Kyle Schempp got a boarding penalty at 9:17, and Utah tied up the shot clock 4-4.

Henke struck again at 15:10 slinging the puck easily past Ryan Faragher from Gage Ausmus and Joey Raats.

After 20, the shots were 8-5 in the Grizzlies’ favor, and they led thanks to the two Henke goals.

Misiak took a tripping call at 4:10, but Utah killed it off comfortably and Misiak had a good look on the breakaway coming out of the box. Henke had a bid for the hat trick, but couldn’t beat Faragher, and Carr had to make some big saves as Idaho pressured in the back-half of the period.

Teigan Zahn took an interference call, but Marchment and Jack Walker made things interesting for the Steelheads. The Steelheads got some of their own back, but Carr battled and kept Utah ahead.

Richart extended the lead at 18:19, scoring his third of the season from Mike Economos and Jack Walker. The assist was Economos’ first point for Utah. Brad McClure took a high-sticking call in the dying seconds, and after 40, shots were 17-14 for Utah.

The Grizzlies once again weren’t able to capitalize on the advantage, but Zahn made it 4-1 from Ausmus and Herbert at 2:36. The goals kept coming in and Julien Nantel made it 5-1 at 5:21 from Richart and McGauley.

Utah kept sharp, despite the big lead, continuing to outshoot the Steelheads through the third period, ultimately ending the game outshooting Idaho 29-20 with the commanding win.

Richart (1G, 2A), Henke (2G, including GWG) and Ausmus (2A) were the three stars, though Carr undoubtedly deserved mention for his performance.

 

Without Joe Cannata, Utah once again started Kevin Carr, with Chris Komma as the EBUG.

The first period of Saturday’s game did not begin very well. Utah looked a little flat in the early going once again, but this time they allowed three goals including a power play number in the first ten minutes.

Teigan Zahn and Kale Kessy dropped the gloves at 10:34, and at 14:50, J.T. Henke once again opened the scoring. By the end of the period, shots were 12-10 for Idaho, but the second half of the first was definitely an improvement on the opening.

The second period got off to decent start, then absolute chaos broke out. Economos got boarded, and Zahn, Walters, and Walker all took exception. When the dust settled, Walker got two for roughing, Geoff Crisfield got a ten minute misconduct, Clint Lewis got a roughing penalty, and Tony Calderone got a five minute boarding major.

Fortunately, Economos seemed to be alright, returning to the ice and taking a hooking call at 6:23.

Economos got out of the box, and in less than 20 seconds, first Walters scored from Ully and Misiak, then Henke tied the game from Nantel and Richart.

Kessy took a roughing call, but Idaho scored short-handed, and then after some extreme penalty nonsense, Brad McClure scored on the power play. As Adrian Denny would have said, I don’t know about that…

After two, shots were 29-18 for Utah, but Idaho led 5-3.

Though Utah continued to hold the shot advantage, an offensive zone turn over led to a 6-3 goal in the first five minutes. Things continued to go decidedly Idaho’s way, as they collected one more goal, despite Utah outshooting the Steelheads 36-21. Mitch Moroz and Mike Economos got into a tussle with 1:11 to go, and the game came to a merciful end.

Obviously it wasn’t the second game anyone would have wanted, but J.T. Henke continues to be outstanding–especially considering he was picked up off waivers. He’s now up to eleven points in ten games with the Grizzlies. It was also good to see the power play showing signs of life, going 2/5.

Utah returns home for Christmas still on top of the Mountain Division, and will face the Allen Americans to end the year.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard.

 

 

Utah Grizzlies vs Rapid City: Strong in the Force

With Nolan De Jong joining Kevin Davis, Josh Anderson, Austin Carroll, Matt Berry, Travis Barron, and Josh Dickinson in the AHL after Saturday’s game, and with Tim McGauley and Turner Ottenbreit both sidelined, the Grizzlies were seriously short-handed on Star Wars night. Kevin Carr got the start and Ryan Misiak played defense as the team dressed only 14 skaters. Considering how the other two games had gone, it looked a trifle worrisome.

Utah came out on a mission, flying around the ice, and jumping to a rapid lead when Julian Nantel scored his first at 1:19 from J.T. Henke. The Grizzlies got a 5-1 advantage in shots, then Kevin Carr had to be sharp as the Rush got three straight back. Rapid City got the game’s first power plays, both against Henke but got his own back, making it 2-0 with only 24 seconds to go in the first. The Rush got an unsportsmanlike conduct right after the goal, and Misiak got a tripping call with eight seconds left. After 20, shots were 12-8 for Utah.

The second began with almost two minutes of four-on-four, and the Grizzlies got a power play after that. The Rush poured it on through the middle stages of the second, but between Carr and the active sticks of the players in front of him, they held them off. Utah got into some penalty trouble in the back half of the period, losing Taylor Richart, Gage Ausmus, and Henke to the penalty box in rapid succession.

The penalty killers came up huge, however, and no sooner had Henke and Ausmus left the box then the former scored his fourth of the year. There was quite a scuffle after the goal, and Utah got another power play as Cole Ully, Josh Elmes, and Shaquille Merasty all got roughing calls. Tempers continued to flair as the game progressed, and Jake Marchment faced off against Dylan Quaile in the first of three fights. In the dying seconds of the period, Alec Baer got in all by himself, but Carr stopped him cold to end the period.

The third began with a new goalie for Rapid City, and a power play for the Grizzlies. They didn’t capitalize, but they were absolutely flying. They also racked up a 13-0 shot count through the first half. Henke made a bid for the hat trick on a mid-period power play, and the Grizzlies hit the 40 shot mark with just under eight to go. Then at 14:02 Mike Economos dropped the gloves with Matt Harrington in a furious bout to the great approval of all 7,926 fans in attendance. Not to be out done, R.T. Rice dropped the gloves with Merasty just 38 seconds later. Ausmus joined the combatants in the box for slashing almost immediately afterwards, and no sooner had he left the box, then he and Cedric Montminy were sent to cool their heels after matching roughing calls. Nantel ended the game in the box, but the Grizzlies got the 3-0 victory, out-shooting Rapid City 41-23 overall, and 20-5 in the final period.

Misiak turned out to be a surprisingly good substitution on the blue line, his speed standing him in good stead, and he looked quite comfortable quarterbacking the power play. Economos endeared himself to the home crowd in his first game on Friday, and won them over completely on Saturday. Henke (2G, 1A, 6 shots), Carr (23/23 saves), and Nantel (1G (the game winner), 8 shots) were the three stars of the game, and Carr got a standing ovation at the jersey auction following the game.

“The boys buckled down, and it was a gutsy effort. That’s a good team, that’s a hard working team over there, they’re missing a few players too, but we were able to get to their goaltender finally.” Tim Branham said. “He’s been a rock back there for them, but you can’t say enough about our effort. Carrsy, two short-handed breakaways, a short-handed three-on-one, he was really, really good tonight. Sticking up for teammates, big blocked shot by Zahn at the end, he didn’t even have to do it, there’s six seconds left, just leading by example there. Great effort by everybody, and it was one of our better games of the year.”

With three goals in the last two games, Henke seems to be really hitting his stride after being claimed off waivers from Greenville. “I think it’s just getting comfortable,” he said of his recent performance. “Coming from where I was to here is a little different, getting used to the altitude, and all that kind of stuff, playing with guys, and burying chances when I should.”

“It’s always tough to get guys called up and lose them, especially big scorers, but it’s a part of the game, I think we all had a gut check, I think we played hard today, everyone did a job, the fighters fought, the PK guys did great, Carrsy stood on his head, and good for him getting his first shut out, it all gelled well today.”

It looked like the team finally had regained their equilibrium after losing and replacing so many players in such a short period of time, but the challenge isn’t over yet. Nevertheless, Branham is confident in his group. “We’ve got a week off, we’ve got to put it together next week. I don’t know what our roster’s gonna look like next week, but whatever it is, we know that we can get the job done, and we’ve gotta bring that effort and that passion, and that simplicity every single game.”

The Grizzlies will play two games in Idaho next week, before finishing off the year at home against the Allen Americans.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.