Utah Grizzlies @ Wichita Thunder: Silencing the Thunder

With Kevin Davis, Tim McGauley, and Joe Cannata all up in Colorado, and Jack Walker and Austin Carroll out with injuries, the Grizzlies were very, very short-handed in Wichita, even with the addition of returnee Mitch Maxwell. Kevin Carr got the start, and Joey Raats drew back in at forward against Gabriel Verpaelst, Ralph Cuddemi, and the Thunder.

First Period

  • Mitch Maxwell starting strong.
  • “Marchment allegedly on side.”  That’s definitely putting it generously.
  • It would definitely be advisable to stop passing the puck to Thunder players, boys…
  • Josh Dickinson is a power play drawing machine.
  • WALTERS WITH THE POWER PLAY GOAL. Jake Marchment continues to pile up the points.
  • Shots are 6-1 for Utah with half a period gone. That may be pretty good.
  • Carr spins through the crease, but somehow still has the puck.
  • Walters definitely wants another goal. He’s had a couple looks up close since he opened the scoring.
  • Oh great. Dickinson taking a puck to the face is the absolute last thing we need.
  • I guess if we can’t have Carroll on the ice, looking sharp on the bench is the next best thing? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • GEEEEZZZZ that goal-mouth scramble almost ended very badly.
  • However, all’s well that ends well.

Second Period

  • Ausmus with a great move there to take the puck away on a one-on-one there.
  • Oooh that backhander didn’t miss by much.
  • The Thunder are pressing now.
  • Zahn to the box.
  • Dickinson to the box…minute plus of five-on-three….
  • What a kill. Especially the end there, what with the Carr save, the pipe on a wide open net, and a huge clear from Richart to swipe the puck out of the blue paint.
  • Wichita should get a penalty just for making us listen to the entire Baby Shark song.
  • Walters with more nice shots there.
  • Kevin Carr has been stellar. Unfortunately, so has Ty Rimmer.

Third Period

  • Gotta love all the praise for Ausmus! He’s just been playing really well lately.
  • Verpaelst giving us a power play. Definitely a Grizzlies sleeper agent! 😛
  • ECONOMOS WITH THE POWER PLAY GOAL.
  • Tyson, that is not how you don’t talk about the goalie thing-that-must-not-be-named-until-it’s-completed!!!!!
  • Raats with the first even-strength goal of the game!!
  • Less than a minute later, Herbert puts the puck on Rimmer, and Walters taps it into the wide open net!!!!!! There’s that second goal!
  • Wowwwwwwwwww that was quite the melt down for Wichita.
  • The Grizzlies definitely don’t look like a team with only fourteen skaters dressed.
  • TYSON. STOP TALKING ABOUT IT.
  • Mitch Maxwell making his return felt by dropping the gloves!
  • Oh geez. Wichita is taking out their own guys by accident. That’s never good.
  • KEVIN CARR SHUTS THEM OUT.
  • Grizzlies win 4-0, shots 34-31 in their favor!

Kevin Carr was the well deserved first star of the game with his third shutout of the year, and Walters got second star with two goals and a team leading nine shots. Mike Economos was named third star, while Jake Marchment had his fifth straight multi-point game, and Eric Freschi also had two assists.

If the Grizzlies continue to be this short-handed, today’s game will be the biggest test of the road trip as they look to remain undefeated against the Thunder this season. It will also be interesting to see if Tim Branham goes with Carr, or if Christian Frey will get his first start.

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

Utah Grizzlies vs Idaho Steelheads: An Avalanche of Goals

On a very snowy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Idaho and Utah met for the ninth time this season. Tim McGauley returned from suspension, and Joey Raats joined the forward core in place of Josh Dickinson who was recalled to Colorado after the last game. Joe Cannata got the start, facing down former Grizz goalie Ryan Faragher.

First Period

  • That was a very nice shift from J.T. Henke, Jack Walker, and Eric Freschi! Good traffic in front of Faragher and nice puck movement.
  • Austin Carroll is fun. That spin-o-rama pass was 👌
  • A pretty soft defensive play along the right side, and Idaho strikes first.
  • CALEB HERBERT STRIKES RIGHT BACK ON THE POWER PLAY.
  • And then he and Teigan Zahn both end up in the penalty box. Oh dear.
  • Richart with the hero play on that wide open net.
  • That was a HUGE kill.
  • That Henke/Carroll Walker unit got some SERIOUSLY pretty looks.
  • WAS THAT A GOAL???
  • IT WAS. CARROLL ON THE POWER PLAY.
  • The power play sure has heated up again.
  • Of course Idaho strikes right back. This is the rivalry in a nutshell.
  • Both Zahn and Economos have whiffed on what looked to be lining up for gorgeous shots this period.
  • All this period has missed to be peak Idaho/Utah is a fight. There hasn’t been much by way of antagonism.
  • Shots 11-10 Utah!

Second Period

  • Cannata goes on an adventure, but Idaho can’t handle the puck cleanly, and Joe’s set up again before they can take advantage of the screen and the empty net.
  • Walker with the wheels beats out the icing. Exactly no one is surprised.
  • An aggressive offensive shift leads to a two-on-one going the other way, Idaho makes it 3-2.
  • Ah. There’s the crowd gathering after a whistle.
  • THERE’S the fight.
  • Wait. RICHY dropped the gloves with KING? Well, ok.
  • Oh boy. Idaho doubles the lead on a flawless shot.
  • Apparently it’s totally fine to mug Caleb Herbert at center ice.
  • Two quick goals puts Idaho up 5-2. This is less than ideal.
  • Special teams have been quite good, but the defensive effort five-on-five left a lot to be desired.
  • So I say that, and then they proceed to have a couple of really good shifts.
  • JOEY RAATS SCORES HIS FIRST!!! Freschi and Richart get the assists!
  • Economos and Mitch Moroz drop the gloves!
  • POWER PLAY GOAL FOR CALEB HERBERT. THIS IS NOT A RECORDING.
  • Better put the league on notice. It looks like Herbert may have woken up!
  • 5-4 after 40 is definitely a lot better than 5-2 after 40!!!

Third Period

  • That was a pretty important save from Cannata there.
  • Sigh. And that shift started out so well.
  • It’s been a pretty quiet period other than that goal.
  • EVERY BODY GETS A PENALTY.
  • That was some nice passing on the very end of the five-on-three.
  • Empty net with 2:45 to go…
  • Empty net goal.
  • Idaho wins 7-4 and the grueling home stand comes to an end.

Herbert’s two goals earned him second star of the game, and some praise from Tim Branham. “He wasn’t scoring, but he was able to get a few points there over the weekend,” he said. “Tonight was huge, he’s got a lethal shot, when we can set him up for those chances I like our odds.”

Herbert wasn’t the only player who came in for some praise.

“[Richart]’s done a good job of defending. He blocks a lot of shots, I bet you he and Zahner have probably blocked the most in the league. Those guys do everything that it takes to sacrifice for the team. That’s what it takes if you want to have success, that’s what it takes to win. From here on out the games get hard. It’s the best division in the league, no questions asked, and it’s gonna take everybody every single night to get a W.”

Although a lot of goals once again ended up in the back of the Utah net, they certainly can’t all be blamed on the Utah net minder. “Joe’s our guy.” Branham stressed, “Joe’s our guy, he’s been good for us, and we know what kind of goaltender he is. A lot of those goals, we gotta do a better job defending. He’s a big part of this team. Also, five on five, looks like we’re a little tired, to be honest, we’ve played a lot of hockey lately, and we just made a few mistakes that were costly. Definitely happy with the special teams, the power play moved the puck around really well, we were able to score three goals there, and one five-on-five. That’s positive. Our penalty kill was good, killing off a full two minute five-on-three, so we’re gonna build on that, go on the road here and build on that. Hopefully we can get a couple of guys healthy.”

Obviously, picking up more points would have been ideal, but the Grizzlies played four games in six days, and that’s gonna wear anyone down.

Utah does get some road-trip reinforcements in the form of Josh Dickinson and Kevin Davis, while Kevin Carr takes over the nets with Cannata getting called up to Colorado once again.

The Grizzlies take on the Kansas City Mavericks today at 6 PM MT.

 

Photo courtesy Jess Fleming and staff.