Utah Grizzlies @ Rapid City Rush: Deja Vu

Though they lost Josh Dickinson to Colorado, the return of Grayson Downing and Joey Raats to the lineup meant that, for the first time in a very, very long time, the Grizzlies played with a full complement of skaters, while Joe Cannata got the start once more against a very different looking Rush team.

First Period

  • Utah draws a power play 1:18 into the game.
  • Mike Economos has three of the Grizzlies’ first seven shots!
  • Just past the five minute mark, and Utah’s out-shooting RC 9-3.
  • Well, if you’re gonna beat Adam Carlson, you might as well throw everything and the kitchen sink at him! 12-4 are shots for Utah nine minutes in…
  • Gage Ausmus with a couple of nice shots this period.
  • The game’s already getting pretty physical.
  • Teigan Zahn gets run over, and Utah’s headed back to the power play.
  • Five-on-three situation for 15 seconds as RC puts the puck over the glass.
  • Caleb Herbert negates the power play.
  • Generally good possession for Utah throughout this frame.
  • Cannata looking sharp again.
  • Utah skated fast and put up a lot of shots, but we’re 0-0 after 20. Shots are 16-7 for Utah.

Second Period

  • Eric Freschi to the box for slashing early in the second.
  • Downing, Herbert, Marchment, Ully and Richart on the power play. That is a pretty good looking first unit.
  • Economos is battling for the puck around Carlson, and Blake Heinrich objects. They both get five for fighting.
  • Oh boo. Point blank range shot goes through Cannata.
  • Utah skating hard in response though.
  • Ausmus gets run over, and Will Smith objects violently. He and Alex Rauter get sent to the box for fighting. Rauter is shown the door. But somehow Smith gets an extra two. Unless Rauter got bloody or something? Not really sure.
  • Power play for Utah now. From the last ten seconds or so of the first penalty kill to now the Grizzlies have had possession of the puck. They still haven’t been able to beat Carlson though.
  • How were the Grizzlies considered onside there?
  • Utah keeps getting shots, but Carlson isn’t having any trouble with them.
  • Well, the good news is that Utah has more shots after 40 than they did in the whole game on Wednesday, but the bad news is they trail 1-0.

Third Period

  • Ok someone, anyone, in black…gonna need a big goal here…
  • For a penalty kill, the Grizzlies are spending a lot of time in the offensive zone.
  • The only shots on that kill belonged to the Grizzlies.
  • Seriously guys, don’t lose 1-0 again. (Don’t lose by more than that either…)
  • There’s a lot of time, and it’s just one goal…
  • Cannata still sharp. Unfortunately, Carlson has been sharper.
  • Marchment jumps on a rare rebound, but surprise, surprise, Carlson grabbed that too.
  • …That is very not what anyone wanted. 2-0 Rush. On a bounce too.
  • They’ve had the right idea a couple of times, but then just missed the pass or the shot. So frustrating.
  • Empty net goal for the Rush.
  • The most irritating thing about this series is that the difference has been in net, and it’s not because Cannata had been bad. He hasn’t. In fact, he’s been good. Carlson’s  just been better.
  • Shots 41-25 for Utah, who falls 3-0 shut out for two straight.

Well, Downing is back, and the Grizzlies’ penalty kill remains spotless. Unfortunately, the power play has been held off the scoreboard, and Carlson appears to have the Grizzlies’ number. They’re gonna have to create more traffic and get him moving, but RC seems to defend pretty well against just that.

FORTY ONE SHOTS.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography.


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Utah Grizzlies @ Rapid City Rush: Uneventful

On Wednesday night, the Grizzlies found themselves facing the Rush for the ninth time this season, and the first of six straight games with something resembling a full lineup. Although they didn’t get Grayson Downing back, and Joey Raats was out with an illness both players traveled with the team, and they did get Jake Marchment back. Gabriel Verpaelst made his 2019 return to the Grizzlies as well, while Joe Cannata got the start.

First Period

  • Rush have the Grizz not quite on their heels, but RC has the first four shots.
  • Cannata has been quite sharp though.
  • Marchment gets the first shot for Utah, and it’s a nice one. Unfortunately, Adam Carlson is a good goalie.
  • First penalty of the game for Utah. Let’s see if they can keep their penalty kill streak going.
  • And again…
  • Better possession following that second penalty kill. Still only three shots though.
  • Great defensive move by Turner Ottenbreit to break up a one-on-none without taking a penalty.
  • Too much defensive zone time…lots of hitting on both sides though.
  • 9-3 are shots for RC after a scoreless first period. Cannata’s been good.

Second Period

  • You know who I miss? Austin Carroll. #ChaosOnSkates (Well, him and everyone else who’s been out for half a century.)
  • Dickinson wastes absolutely no time getting the Grizzlies’ first shot of the second. (Actually, Chris Leibinger won the face-off so hard it counted as a shot on his own net. Where have we heard this before…)
  • Not only is defenseman Leibinger playing forward, he’s playing center. How interesting.
  • Good offensive zone shifts for the Grizzlies to start here.
  • Can’t wait for the skills competition to see what that booming shot of Ottenbreit’s clocks in at.
  • Shots are now 11-10 for RC, and Gage Ausmus draws a power play by taking a stick to the face.
  • Take two on the power play is not going very well to start…
  • Shots are now 11-11, so that’s good.
  • This second period is much better for Utah than the first. Unfortunately, Carlson has been every bit as good as Cannata.
  • Watching Caleb Herbert stick-handle is mesmerizing.
  • Refs are definitely letting both sides play through what should probably have been penalties. At least they’re being consistent–which at the end of the day is all you can really ask for.
  • Please someone in white score a goal…
  • This game is gonna end 1-0 in the shoot out, isn’t it.
  • You guys…I said someone wearing white
  • 1-0 Rapid City after two.

Third Period

  • Please go play on the other end of the ice, boys.
  • Everyone falls down. Utah draws a power play though. I think that is the second penalty Eric Freschi has drawn this game.
  • Herbert gets hooked on what was nearly a breakaway, so they’re headed to the power play again.
  • This is definitely one of their better power plays tonight. No goal though.
  • Please someone tie this game up.
  • This game is turning into a bit of a track meet. Lots of up and down and up and down.
  • Some big hits from the Utah defensemen this game!
  • Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout
  • Not a lot of whistles this period. Lots of hard skating too.
  • Gah! Oh thank you, post.
  • It’s just one goal, but time is starting to run out…
  • Well, I guess we’re gonna close this game out radio style seeing as we’ve got a black screen…
  • Utah’s net is empty.
  • Well, no empty netter for RC, but no tie game for Utah either.
  • Grizzlies fall 1-0 in what might be the lowest scoring (and possibly most uneventful) game all season.

At the end of the day, both teams played strong defensive games, and Adam Carlson was just that one save better. It was good to get Marchment back, and Verpaelst looked very good on defense, which is certainly a good sign. Neither team gave up anything on the penalty kill (Utah is now 33/33 in the last six games), and the coming games should be good ones.

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography.

 


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Grizzlies vs Mariners: Righting the Ship

With Ryan Walters suspended for one game, and Gabriel Verpaelst not yet in town, the Grizzlies found themselves with only thirteen players once again. Joe Cannata got the start on Marvel night, as the Grizzlies took on Maine on Marvel Night, dressed as Captain America and Iron Man respectively.

First Period

  • Grizzlies are pressuring hard early, and the jerseys look really, really good.
  • The Ully special, stick handling with zero room.
  • I do not know how the Grizzlies kept the puck out of the net on that shift.
  • Five-on-three number one of the night…
  • Good kill boys, good kill!
  • Aaaaand back to the box we go.
  • Taylor, don’t you dare be hurt…
  • WILL SMITH FROM TAYLOR RICHART AND MITCH MAXWELL!!
  • Cannata is looking very sharp tonight.
  • Shots are 15-9 after one for Maine, but the Grizz still lead 1-0.

Second Period

  • Uhg tie game.
  • Cannata was playing so well, and suddenly two quick goals for Maine.
  • Good push-back though.
  • The things that Cole Ully can do with zero space are remarkable. And I know I remark on them every time, but it’s worth it.
  • Joey Raats did not miss by much on that one!
  • That was a very strong shift.
  • There’s still a LOT of hockey to play, but the Grizzlies really don’t look like a team playing horrifically short-handed.
  • HERBERT TIES IT UP AGAIN ON THE POWER PLAY. What a move through traffic to get the shot for his 29th!!

  • Teigan Zahn boards Josh Couturier and gets five and a game. Just what this short-handed team needed.
  • Richart draws two power plays in a row!
  • Fox to the box.
  • CANNATA STONES A GUY ON A ONE-ON-NONE SHORT-HANDED BREAKAWAY.
  • 2-2 after 40, shots 23-22 for Maine.

Third Period

  • Third period begins on a brief power play.
  • Good energy in the third.
  • Ack. Wraparound goal for Maine
  • ULLY TIES IT UP ON THE POWER PLAY.
  • Both teams are buzzing.
  • oH. MY. GOD. JOE. Two huge saves two-on-none, and then another for good measure!!
  • Turner Ottenbreit rings iron, and Michael Economos draws a power play!
  • Gage Ausmus with a bomb, but it’s wide.
  • LOTS of offensive zone time for the Grizzlies this period.
  • Oh man. ten seconds left, offensive zone draw for Utah. Can they do it?
  • Nope.

OT

  • JOSH DICKINSON WINS IT IN OT.
  • Oh and it was super pretty too.

Ully and Herbert once again were named first and second star with a goal and an assist, while Josh Dickinson’s OT heroics earned him third star of the game. Taylor Richart put up three primary assists, and was named the defenseman of the game, while Cannata saved 32/35. Utah was a perfect 0/6 on the penalty kill in the game, and closed out the series against the Mariners without allowing a single power play goal. Herbert led the team with six shots, while Ottenbreit, Ully, and Economos were close behind with five each.

“We played four guys short for the majority of the game.” Tim Branham said after the game. “There’s a lot of character in that room, a lot of heart and soul.”

“Can’t say enough about the job these guys have done in that locker room.” He added later, “Sticking together, I don’t know how many penalties we killed again tonight, it’s pretty remarkable what they’ve done. Joe was outstanding in net, did a great job, made some huge saves, gave us a chance to win. Our power play is excellent again, special teams have really led the way for us this season, despite who we’ve had in the lineup. Really proud of this group.”

As well as the Grizzlies have played short-handed, it’s not a situation that anyone relishes. Fortunately, it sounds like reinforcements are on their way.

“Finally next week now we’re gonna start to get some bodies back. We’ll add Verpaelst, we’ll get Marchment, we’ll get Downing. Then the following week we’ll be able to add Carroll, we’ll be able to add Ratelle.”

Cannata had a pretty good game on Friday, but was even better on Saturday, and received a fair bit of praise as a result.

“I think Joe’s played some good hockey,” said Branham, “He’s made some big saves for us. Today was no different. There was a stretch there in the third, he made three saves right in a row at the end there. He’s been there before, he knows how to get the job done. Being able to add a guy like Verpaelst, who’s been there before, knows how to get the job done, Zahn, you can’t say enough about experience and guys who have been through the grind. I think Joe has done a remarkable job, a great job this season.”

Josh Dickinson’s thoughts on Cannata’s contribution to the win were similar.

“When we’re down in a game and you’ve got a goalie who’s playing like that, it’s so inspiring. Every game it comes from the back end out, and when your goalie’s making cross-crease saves back-to-back-to-back, you just want to win it for him too. It’s so nice to have him back there, and Carrsy’s great too, so we always wanna win it for our goalies as well.”

As mentioned, the Grizzlies were quite short handed to begin with, and then lost Zahn half-way through the second period. However, the remaining four defensemen buckled down and made it work.

“Our young guys have played some big minutes.” Branham said. “You look at Anderson, you look at Ottenbreit coming in from major junior, it’s a big step, and they’ve played big minutes and done an unbelievable job. They played big minutes, but also a lot of hockey, and it’s great experience for them. Then you’ve got guys like Ausmus and Richart. One thing’s for sure, when the going gets tough with this group, they respond. I know we were on a little bit of a skid there, but it’s a lot of adversity, and hopefully now there’s light there at the end of the tunnel with Ully back and Marchment and Downing and Verpaelst. We gotta get on a roll now.”

When asked about his OT game winner, Dickinson was pretty matter of fact.

“Yeah, I just had the time going down the wall, and I think it was a forward covering me on defense, so I saw he kind of lunged for the puck a little bit, so I just brought the puck to my backhand, and hoped for the best and shot it!”

Branham was a bit more effusive in his praise when asked about Dickinson’s play, both tonight and this series in general. “This weekend was phenomenal for Dickinson. He’s playing with an edge, his skills, you can see his skills out there, the skill level that he has, scoring goals, great attitude, he played a lot of hockey, he played every other shift tonight, him and Herbert, so good for them, and hopefully he can just keep that going”

Both Dickinson and Branham emphasized the need to keep the momentum going as they get more bodies back in the lineup and head out on the road, where they hope to keep the wins coming against Rapid City.

Goals

  • First: Smith (Richart, Maxwell)
  • Second: Herbert (Richart, Ully (PP)
  • Third: Ully (Richart, Herbert) (PP)
  • OT: Dickinson (Ottenbreit)

UTA: 2/7 (25 PIM)
MNE: 0/6 (16 PIM)

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography.


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Utah Grizzlies @ Allen Americans: A Weird One

Allen may be the worst team in the division, but that’s not to say they aren’t a pretty dangerous team–as they showed last night in what was perhaps one of the oddest games of the season so far.

First Period

  • Well, that was quick. Joseph Mizzi to the box.
  • And Mizzi out of the box. Good kill.
  • Well. That wasn’t ideal. Jake Marchment is usually quite good defensively. That was not one of his finer moments.
  • …What was THAT?? What was pretty much anyone on defense even doing!!??
  • Allen’s shots are apparently 16-1. Not sure I believe this…on the other hand, it can’t be off by much.
  • Now Mike Economos to the box.
  • Again…where was the defense…
  • OK, so the shots are definitely bad. Very bad. But they’re not quite 19-2 bad.
  • Ok…so, the good news is that they haven’t given up a power play goal…the bad news is..uh, shots are 19-3 for Allen, who leads 3-0.

Second Period

  • What we need this period: shots (of both the liquid and on-net variety).
  • YOOOOO CALEB HERBERT 11 SECONDS IN.
  • AHHHHHH TURNER OTTENBREIT 30 SECONDS IN.
  • So uh. Yeah. That just happened!
  • Four minute power play for the boys!
  • TIE. GAME.
  • You might say the second period was a….Fresch(i) start…
  • Sorry, not sorry.
  • Both goalies making big saves as the period heads into the final five.
  • WHAT A DIVING POKE SAVE FROM JOSH ANDERSON.
  • Unfortunately, Ottenbreit takes a penalty behind the play.
  • Oh god. Marchment won the face-off so well that it deflected off Nolan De Jong’s stick and into the net!??? The goal is credited to Riley Bourbonnais, who lost the face-off to Marchment.
  • That might be the single weirdest goal I have ever had the misfortune of seeing.
  • OH. Oh no. 5-3 Allen. Good lord.
  • Seriously, what even is this game????

Third Period

  • Ok, all I ask is that the own goal NOT be the game winner, because right now, it is.
  • Freschi to the box, Marchment does not win that face-off.
  • Sigh.
  • So, the way this game is going, this means that Utah is now gonna score three in a row, right?
  • Thank you Eric for making sure that the own goal isn’t the game winner. Freschi gets his second of the game on the power play! He’s having some kind of night!
  • So, the way this game is going, this means that Utah is now gonna score three in a row, right?
  • Joe Cannata with a big save on the breakaway there.
  • Josh Dickinson makes it 6-5!!!
  • There are a LOT of guys with multi-point games tonight!
  • Well. If nothing else, this was an entertaining game. Frustrating, but definitely entertaining.
  • At least 6-5 is far more respectable than 6-3.
  • Bahahahahah you can’t do that. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies had seven skaters on the ice.
  • Uhg. Empty netter for Allen.
  • Grizzlies lose 7-5.

Goals

  • First: None
  • Second: Herbert (Freschi, Walters), Ottenbreit (Walters, Zahn), Freschi (Richart, Dickinson) (PP)
  • Third: Freschi (Marchment, Herbert) (PP), Dickinson (Marchment, Economos)

Cannata made 33/39 saves, while Freschi’s assist and two goals earned him third star behind Riley Bourbonnais (2G, 1A) and Adam Miller (1G, 2A).

This was, perhaps, the weirdest game this season!

Fortunately, the Grizzlies get two more cracks at the Americans tonight and Sunday.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography.


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Utah Grizzlies @ Tulsa Oilers: March-ing Onward

In game two of the Tulsa series, and the battle for second place in the Mountain Division, the roster remained the same, as did the lines.

First Period

  • Eric Freschi getting manhandled in the corner, not sure it’s penalty worthy, but not sure it’s not penalty worthy…
  • Ick. Not sure about that defensive coverage there. 1-0 Tulsa.
  • Good response from Utah though. Strong shift in the offensive zone.
  • Taylor Richart with a nice move to strip the puck from an Oilers player and start a rush up ice.
  • Josh Dickinson draws a power play!
  • MCGAULEY GOAL!! Fitzpatrick bit on Caleb Herbert, and Tim McGauley made good on the cross-crease pass.
  • Teigan Zahn taking his sweeeeeeet time behind the Utah net, haha.
  • Another Utah power play, but it’s negated.
  • Jake Marchment and Ryan Walters counter-punching short-handed is always great to see.
  • Taylor Richart is free with no official shots allowed on the PK!
  • Mike Economos with the hustle.
  • They’ve flipped the script in shots tonight, sort of. After 20 shots are 20-7 for the Grizzlies, score 1-1.

Second Period

  • LOTS OF PENALTIES.
  • Or just one. That’s anticlimactic. On the other hand, we’ll take the power play.
  • Austin Carroll doing what he does best, creating chaos. A little too much chaos there though, and he’s off to the box.
  • Jack Walker to the room. That’s not a good sign. Hopefully he’s back for the third…
  • Carroll drops the gloves with Scott Moldenhauer!
  • Dickinson draws a double minor.
  • Herbert takes a roughing call after a kerfuffle around the Tulsa net.
  • Marchy doing what he does best, scoring on Tulsa. It was a very nice backhand.
  • Utah’s been pretty aggressive overall so far.

Third Period

  • Another power play drawn by Dickinson.
  • Richart falls over, and still makes the play.
  • You get a high-stick, you get a high-stick! EVERYBODY GETS A HIGH-STICK!
  • ECONOMOS WITH A BREAKAWAY. No goal, but he does draw another power play.
  • Oh geez. Short-handed goal for Tulsa ties it up.
  • And the Oilers are pressing.
  • I swear, every game Economos seems to have gotten a step or two faster.
  • ERIC GIVES US A FRESCHI LEAD.

  • (Sorry, so not sorry)
  • Oh god. Cannata…be ok…
  • At the very least, Cannata is hockey ok, so that’s good news.
  • Walters with the latest of a series of good shots he’s had this game.
  • RICHART SCORES.
  • Wait. No he doesn’t. And Zahn is down, and Zahn takes a penalty. WHAT EVEN IS HAPPENING.
  • And now Richart for delay of game.
  • Internal screaming.
  • Empty net for Tulsa…
  • More internal screaming.
  • Marchment with the face-off win, Ausmus with the clear…
  • EMPTY NETTER FOR JAKE.
  • GRIZZLIES WIN 4-2!!!

Freschi (the game winning goal and six shots) and Herbert (two assists, six shots) were named first and second stars of the game, though Marchment certainly could have been a star as well, what with his two goals (granted, one into an empty net), and several crucial late-game face-offs. Cannata also played well, making 25/27 saves. Utah now stands tied with the Oilers for second in the division, though they hold four games in hand on their rival. They trail Idaho by only one point, and have a game in hand on them as well.

Now the Grizzlies head to Wichita for the final two games of the road trip.

Photo courtesy of Josh Pinnau.