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 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.