Utah Grizzlies vs Idaho Steelheads: Heartbreaking

After the Grizzlies’ second 3-2 OT loss on Wednesday, the lineup saw some retooling. Jake Marchment sat this one out in the first of a two game suspension, while Jack Walker, Cole Ully, and Grayson Downing all drew back in in the place of the aforementioned Marchment, Gage Ausmus, and Michael Economos. Kevin Carr once again manned the net as Utah looked to even up the series.

First Period

  • Both teams get early power plays.
  • As nice as it would have been to have that goal, that was the right call to waive it off, I think.
  • NOW THAT’S WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT. Tim McGauley on the power play!
  • MUCH better possession from the Grizzlies than in pretty much all of the other playoff games up until this point. Idaho is still outshooting them, but not by much anymore.
  • Ully with a little of the old razzle dazzle there. Also, really good on Walker to stay onside.
  • The Ully, Joey Ratelle, Josh Dickinson line had a RIDICULOUS set of looks on that shift.
  • Grizzlies showing off both their skill and their grit. Everyone is setting up some seriously pretty looks, and throwing some big hits.
  • GREAT first period from the Grizzlies.

Second Period

  • Ew 36 seconds in and Idaho ties it up.
  • DOES NOT STAY TIED LONG. McGauley tips in a blast from Richart for his second of the game!
  • HAT TRICK FOR MCGAULEY AND IT’S NOT EVEN BEEN FIVE MINUTES!!!! The puck took a wild bounce off the boards, off Sholl’s back, and into the net!!! CARR GOT THE SECOND ASSIST.
  • And just about a minute later Downing gets in on the action o the power play!
  • Ah bah. Samuelsson makes it 4-2.
  • Ooh, Ratelle didn’t miss by a whole lot.
  • That’s the second goal that’s been waived off this game, this one for Idaho.
  • After that offensive outpouring from the Grizzlies, things have both settled down and gotten a little more scrappy.
  • Kale Kessy puts Ty Lewis into the boards and is officially public enemy number one in Utah. He gets five and a game. (He was later suspended for it.)
  • Downing to the box with 25 seconds to go…
  • Bah Idaho makes it 4-3.
  • WELL THEN. There’s NEVER a dull moment. Carroll roughs Petryk up on the face-off, and before that can get sorted out, Verpaelst and Kanzig drop the gloves. Carroll gets two for roughing, Petryk 2 for diving, and the combatants get five for fighting.
  • What a period.

Third Period

  • Ully with a pair of beauteous looks.
  • Lewis is back for the third, so that’s good.
  • 5’10” Ratelle drops the gloves with 6’3″ Mitch Moroz.
  • Boy, having McGauley back sure is fun. Having a line that includes McGauley AND Dickinson is even more fun.
  • Carr flashes the leather once more with 10:24 to go.
  • Well, if those speedy little circles Lewis is skating are any indication, his knees seem to be no worse for wear.
  • Barron gets high-sticked, and Richart makes a great defensive play. As he does.
  • Uhhg and Samuelson with that top corner snip to tie the game with less than five to go. That’s practically the identical goal he scored on Wednesday.
  • This game’s going to OT, isn’t it.
  • Some crazy combination of the post, Carr, and some quick moving defensemen kept that puck out of the net. I have no idea how.
  • BIG power play coming up with less than two minutes to go.
  • Aaaaand that’s OT once again. Shots 36-33 for Idaho.

OT

  • Downing had a gorgeous look, followed by a good one from Richart.
  • An uncomfortable amount of Idaho possession here in the last couple of minutes.
  • Walker shows off those wheels, but Sholl stops him.
  • The crowd’s been good all night, and it looks like most stuck around for OT.
  • Aaaaand that’s another soul crushing OT loss.

“It was great at the time for sure,” McGauley said of the hat trick which earned him second star, “We went up 3-1 I think it was, my third goal I was feeling good, the team was feeling good, we got a lot of momentum going our way, so at the time I felt really good, but obviously at the end of the day wasn’t the result we wanted. I would have liked to maybe get another one in over time, would have been nice, but we couldn’t pull it out tonight. The series is not over yet though.”

“If you want the honest to god truth, we played great, the referees allowed them to get back in the game, and then we didn’t play our game,” Tim Branham said, “We stopped doing the little things of winning battles, and keeping a good F3, and keep our foot on the gas and playing offensively. It is what it is, we’ve got to make sure we regroup and come out and play our game tomorrow.”

McGauley’s comments were similar. “Well, we started off really good in the game. Our first periods have been good, I feel like, the last two times I’ve been here, so we’ve gotta maintain that energy we had. Our second and third we just haven’t been keeping up to par with our first periods, and it’s been costing us lately.”

So what’s the message going into tomorrow?

“You gotta believe,” said Branham. “Have faith in every single guy that’s next to you, believe that we’re gonna get this done one game at a time. They beat us in overtime all three games, just like you said, it could easily be the other way. We’ve gotta look at the positives right now and just put our best foot forward.”

“We’re playing for our lives now so that urgency is gonna be there,” McGauley added, “If it’s not there obviously our season is done, so I’m sure that tomorrow you’re gonna see a different team, we’re gonna be 110% right from the get-go, we’re playing for our lives tomorrow, so we’re gonna need everyone.”

The Grizzlies will either go big or go home on Saturday night.

 

Goals

  • First Period: McGauley (Davis, Dickinson) (PP)
  • Second Period: McGauley (Richart, Herbert), McGauley (Verpaelst, Carr), Downing (Carroll, Ully) (PP)
  • Third Period: None
  • OT: None

UTA: 2/6 (20 PIM)
IDH: 0/2 (37 PIM)

 

Photo courtesy of Rob Church.


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Utah Grizzlies @ Tulsa Oilers: Shots Allowed

Going into their second of three games in as many days, the Grizzlies got some reinforcements in Tulsa in the form of Kevin Davis. Saturday’s game also kicked off the first of two very important games in terms of playoff standings, and a potential first round match-up as Tulsa entered the weekend four points ahead of the Grizzlies. Joe Cannata once again got the start, while Ryan Galt sat for Davis, Utah going with seven defensemen and nine forwards.

First Period

  • Tulsa’s start has been a little better than Utah’s in the first four minutes, but not by much.
  • Wingers seem to be staying consistent, though the centers appear to be rotating at the moment.
  • Please go play in the offensive zone for a while.
  • The Oilers are really skating so far.
  • Very nice shift from Utah about half-way through the first.
  • Really, pretty uneventful all around. Neither team has held onto possession for any extended time.
  • Cannata looks quite collected, so there is that.
  • This game is quite a bit different from Friday’s. No penalties, a lot of speed, not a lot of flow though, for all that.
  • Tulsa picking up on the shots again, but Cannata’s met every one so far.
  • Really nice little move from Caleb Herbert there. It wasn’t anything particularly impressive, but really, there isn’t much going on.
  • Herbert with Ty Lewis and Austin Carroll is quite a fun line.
  • Would really like some more shots though.
  • I think that scuffle started with Mike McKee shoving Herbert into the net, which no one in white appreciated. McKee and Turner Ottenbreit both cool their heels with matching minors.
  • Ah bah. Tulsa strikes first with 38 seconds to go.
  • 1-0 Oilers, shots 13-6 in their favor.

Second Period

  • Please get some more shots this period.
  • Immediately giving up two shots was not what I meant.
  • DOESN’T MATTER, TIE GAME RATELLE.

  • On the other hand, Tulsa immediately goes back to offensive zone possession, which isn’t great.
  • Wouldn’t exactly say that Cannata has had to stand on his head, but he’s had to be quite sharp, that’s for sure.
  • Tommy Mele and Michael Economos very much wanted to drop the gloves, but the refs wouldn’t let them go. Matching unsportsmanlike conducts for the pair.
  • Shots are 20-10 for Tulsa just over five into the second. Too many shots against, not enough for…
  • Mele and Economos get their fight after all, just a couple of minutes later than they originally intended!!!
  • Oof. Ty Lewis got leveled.
  • Things have heated up, and McKee is causing all sorts of issues.
  • Too. Many. Shots. Allowed.
  • Good thing Cannata is seeing the puck.
  • Tanner Nagel is not at all afraid to lay the boom!
  • BREAKAWAY SAVE BY CANNATA.
  • I think Zahn is playing forward with Economos in the box.
  • Cannata is the reason this game is still tied.
  • Six minutes left in the period, and Tulsa has 30 shots to Utah’s 11. That is not great.
  • McKee is gonna hurt someone before this is over.
  • That was a beautifully orchestrated rush from the guys, and it draws a power play!
  • If Utah does not score on this PP, it’s not through lack of effort. Four shots on it already.
  • Gage Ausmus with a really good one-on-one defensive play there, and Cannata makes the save.
  • Ok, so the bad news is Tulsa is out-shooting Utah 31-17. The good news is that they’re tied 1-1, which is what really matters.

Third Period

  • Grizz open the third with four great shots in the first minute or so.
  • Not like Devin Williams has looked anything other than cool as an irritating cucumber.
  • Unfortunately, they’re following that up with a stint in their own zone. No shots so far though.
  • Spoke too soon. Nice little glove save from Joe though.
  • Far too much zone time for Tulsa…
  • McKee and Ratelle get shown the door for Continuing Altercation. McKee has been agitating all night.
  • Too. Many. Shots.
  • At least the Grizzlies have climbed to a respectable amount as well.
  • Joe Cannata is in excellent form, which is why we’re still tied.
  • Cannata is 41/42 at the end of regulation, 1-1 headed into OT.

OT

  • Well, getting a point is good. Getting two would be better.
  • Davis, Lewis, Herbert? That’s fun. Carroll, Walters, and Richart? That is also fun.
  • Oh lord, Gabriel Verpaelst blows an edge AND CANNATA SAVES THE DAY NOT ONCE BUT TWICE.
  • Oh goody. The shootout.
  • Not.
  • (Have I mentioned I hate the shootout??)

Shootout

  • Herbert scores, but Tulsa takes it 2-1 in the coin-toss.

 

Joe Cannata was in true Joe Cannata form, stopping 46/47, nearly all of which he made look easy. His performance earned him a well deserved second star of the game. Ryan Walters’s seven shots led the team, while Ty Lewis followed close behind with six. The grueling final road trip of the regular season concludes on Sunday afternoon.

 

Goals

  • First Period: None
  • Second Period: Ratelle
  • Third Period: None

UTA: 0/3 (23 PIM)
TUL: 0/2 (25 PIM)

 

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography


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Utah Grizzlies @ Allen Americans: X Marks the Spot

In the first game of the lengthy and final road trip of the regular season, the Grizzlies faced off against the Allen Americans. Kevin Carr got the start, while Ryan Galt made his Utah debut. J.T. Henke and Will Smith sat this one out, while Jake Marchment, Grayson Downing, Joey Raats, and Josh Winquist all remained out of the lineup as well.

First Period

  • Both teams trade penalties in the first six minutes or so.
  • A lot of twos on that particular penalty kill, 21-12, 20-27.
  • Half a period to go, shots 6-3 for Allen.
  • Carr’s made some nice saves.
  • Tentative is the word I would use to describe this game so far.
  • Also, uneventful. Though that was a nice shift from Austin Carroll, Ryan Walters, and Cole Ully.
  • Huh. I thought Tanner Nagel beat out that icing.
  • It’s been a pretty quite game, but boy it sure is nice to be watching them play someone other than the Rush…
  • Allen with a lot of possession here with under four to go. Not that they’re doing much with said possession, but they’ve had it.
  • Fourth best power play, second best PK in the league? Nice.
  • Goal light went off behind Carr, but the puck appears to have hit the post and gone out. The ref was pretty adamant in waiving it off immediately.
  • That was a really, really nice back-check from Josh Anderson with two to go.
  • Carroll splits the D, gets a shot, and draws a power play.
  • Turner Ottenbreit with the BLAST just seven seconds into the advantage!
  • After 20 Utah leads 1-0, shots 10-7 for Allen.

Second Period

  • Allen getting all the shots in the first three minutes. Not ideal.
  • Carr’s been seeing them comfortably though.
  • Jack Walker to Michael Economos from behind the net and it’s 2-0 for Utah!
  • And on the very next shift, Allen makes it 2-1.
  • Economos and Ottenbreit both looking to get goal number two on this advantage.
  • A bit of a crowd gathers as Allen returns to full strength. Would seem like the feeling out process is over.
  • Nifty mitts from Eco there.
  • Ully draws a power play, Ottenbreit and Taylor Richart with a couple of cannons. Good movement from the Grizzlies in general, really.
  • The pace in the second period has been far quicker, both teams having to scramble in spots.
  • Zach Pochiro and Nagel collide, and Pochiro is pretty mad that nothing was called.
  • They’ve been calling offsides really tightly tonight. Not sure Allen was actually offside there though.
  • RATELLE SCORES HIS FIRST!! The puck somehow trickled past C.J. Motte. Not sure exactly how, but WHO CARES!
  • Walters racking up the points again.
  • Carrsy tells Pochiro YOU SHALL NOT PASS.
  • Allen pressuring with about two to go.
  • Some big shot blocking, and after 40, Utah leads 3-1, shots 24-19 for Allen.

Third Period

  • SECOND GOAL FOR RATELLE!!! Nagel gets his first pro point on that!
  • Adam Miller gets a penalty shot, and Kevin shuts him down.
  • It’s been an eventful two minutes!
  • Really nice shift from Richart, followed by a really nice stretch from Carr.
  • Utah, please go play on the other side of the ice for a while…
  • First pro game, first pro goal for Galt!! Walker has HIS second point of the game, and Gage Ausmus picks up the secondary. Looks like Verpaelst may have grabbed the puck for Galt as well!
  • Atkinson goes after Herbert, Ratelle responds, and there are lots of penalties coming.
  • Ok, after all that, Teigan Zahn and Curt Gogol get thrown out, Pochiro, Economos, and Ratelle all get two, so it is a power play for Allen.
  • That was the saddest celebration on that Allen power play goal.
  • This is probably the longest final two minutes I’ve ever witnessed.
  • One final penalty for Allen.
  • GAME WON, PLAYOFF SPOT CLINCHED.
  • 5-2 Utah.

Ratelle’s two goals earned him first star, while Carr took second star with 37/39 saves, and Ottenbreit snagged third star with a goal and an assist. Walker and Walters both picked up two assists each.

This was exactly the kind of win the Grizzlies needed to kick off the road trip, now they just need to keep their foot on the gas and keep going.

Goals

  • First Period: Ottenbreit (Richart, Walters) (PP)
  • Second Period: Economos (Walker, Maxwell), Ratelle (Walters, Carroll)
  • Third Period: Ratelle (Nagel, Ottenbreit), Galt (Walker)

UTA: 1/6 (23 PIM)
ALN: 1/3 (34 PIM)

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography.


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Utah Grizzlies vs Rapid City: Fight, Score, Celly

Day 155 of the regular season and we’re still playing the Rapid City Rush. However, despite the billionth meeting of these two teams, there were some changes in the roster. Joey Ratelle (signed at the beginning of the year) finally made his Utah debut, Jake Marchment was once again out with an injury, and Joey Raats was a healthy scratch. Joe Cannata got the start for Utah, and on the other end of the ice, their arch-nemesis Adam Carlson.

First Period

  • Longest first shift in the history of ever.
  • Will Smith looking to stay hot on his first shift of the game.
  • Tyler Poulsen puts the puck through Gage Ausmus and Joe Cannata to put the Rush up 1-0.
  • Not even five minutes in, and already there’s some cantankerousness.
  • Cole Ully doing Cole Ully things.
  • Oh no…that’s exactly how Ratelle got hurt the first time this year…He’s certainly endeared himself to the fans though!
  • Point blank chance for Eric Freschi
  • Both teams playing with a fair bit of nastiness so far, certainly more than we saw in their past games against each other.
  • Freschi’s made some pretty nifty moves tonight, and the night is young.
  • Speaking of nifty, that was a great piece of stick work from Ausmus to take possession of the puck.
  • That was some really nice passing from Freschi and Jack Walker there.
  • That being said, please go spend some extended time in the offensive zone…
  • Pretty sure everyone on both sides moved before that puck got dropped, haha!
  • Well. That’s not good. 2-0 with five to go.
  • Turner Ottenbreit lays a huge hit and gets two for elbowing, leading to the first power play of the night.
  • You know that thing I said about cantankerousness? We’re definitely past “some”.
  • I’m not sure I have ever seen a full line brawl live before. The penalty box is gonna get PREEEETTTY full. Teigan Zahn and Gabriel Verpaelst get five each for fighting, Taylor Crunk gets two for slashing, two for instigating, and five for fighting, and Liam Bilton gets five for fighting.
  • Well. That was…eventful.
  • 2-0 RC, shots 19-7 in their favor.

Second Period

  • Utah opens with two full minutes of power play time, and a minute of five-on-three.
  • That opening power play goes the way of many opening of period power plays. That is to say, nowhere.
  • If nothing else, they got Carlson moving shortly afterwards I guess.
  • Zahn just led a really nice up-ice rush that culminated in a mad scramble around Carlson.
  • Mitch Maxwell with a speedy wrap-around attempt. Shots are now a far better 19-14.
  • More importantly, possession is much improved, and they’re skating hard.
  • Ottenbreit and Caleb Herbert get a really nice chance short handed.
  • MAXWELL WITH THE SHORTY.

  • Utah’s taken over the shot clock, 20-19 with 10:36 to go.
  • If RC had actually managed to pull off that stick toss, it would have been impressive. Illegal, but impressive.
  • VERBEAUTY. TIE GAME.
  • Walker does NOT look like a guy who’s been out for a month and a half with a leg injury.
  • Freschi and Walker get a glorious short-handed chance.
  • Another whistle, another scuffle. Michael Economos and and Garrett Klotz to the box.
  • ECONOMOS WITH THE SNIPE.

  • 3-2 UTAH as Economos positively flew out of the box! Great feed from Zahn too.
  • Carlson starting to look human over there.
  • Everyone falls over each other from both teams. Ice is slippery, don’tcha know!
  • Shots are 20-7 for Utah in the period.
  • The Grizzlies OWNED the second.

Third Period

  • Every time someone blocks a Verpaelst shot, I wince a little.
  • The way Ully just makes space for himself is so effortless.
  • Good start to the period for the boys.
  • I DON’T BELIEVE IT. IT WENT IN. O CAPTAIN OUR CAPTAIN.
  • Free chili for all.
  • Ok, please get back to playing mostly in the offensive zone.
  • Please stop icing the puck…
  • And again…
  • At this rate, we’re gonna have to crack out the Herb Brooks “again” gif. (Only this is not the sort of thing he’d have wanted over and over and over and over…)
  • You know that thing I said about Verpaelst’s shots at the beginning of the period? That.
  • I haven’t really mentioned him so far this game, but Cannata’s been good.
  • Freschi’s been very good this game.
  • BIG save from Cannata!
  • Rush net is empty with 2:30 to go.
  • ECONOMOS INTO THE EMPTY NET!!!
  • GRIZZLIES WIN 5-2!!! And they out-shot RC 34-33 in the end, Cannata going 31/33.

Economos’ two goals and assist earned him first star of the game, while Maxwell (1G, 1A) and Zahn (1G, 1A) took second and third stars. Walters’ assist was his 300th professional point.

“We earned this one.” Tim Branham said after the game. “I didn’t think we were that bad in the first to be honest. We passed up on a lot of scoring opportunities to only get five shots. I thought we had more chances than that. They worked hard, they worked for their bounces that period. Then between the first and second we talked about how enough was enough, we need to out play them and out work them like we did that last third period. The boys came out and took control. Five-on-three, our five-on-three hasn’t been good all year to be honest, I think we’ve maybe scored one, but we got one on the power play, and our penalty kill was huge, and we got one short-handed. So specialty teams was huge, specialty teams has been huge this whole series, and tonight it worked in our favor.”

As has been the case in the last few games, the Grizzlies’ secondary scoring has come through. “It’s huge,” said Branham. “Really, I just rolled the lines there for a while with our ten forwards so I don’t really what was our first, second, and third line, but to get that secondary scoring you’re talking about, it’s huge. Come playoff time, teams are going to be keying in on our top guys, and our second and third line are the ones that gotta to carry the load. Third lines win championships.”

“It’s huge” Economos said of Maxwell’s goal. “When you get a short-handed goal and things aren’t going your way it was something that really sparked us. We just talked about working hard and that’s what we did tonight. It was nothing fancy really about that game out of us tonight, it was just working hard, crashing the net, getting in front of Carlson’s eyes cause he’s been red hot against us, so it was really big for us.”

He was, predictably modest about his own game winner.

“It was just right place at right time. Zahner just happened to look up at the perfect time when I was getting out of the box. The boys were joking with me that I wasn’t trying to go five-hole, and honestly I wasn’t,” he said with a laugh, “But you know sometimes when you miss it works out. Finally a bounce went our way, and it was great to see that go in.”

Military night is always popular in Utah, and Saturday was no exception with 9,237 in attendance, and they made a difference. “It was amazing. Any time there’s a hit, any time there’s a fight, any time there’s a goal, it was just electric in there. Sometimes you don’t hear the crowd because you’re so into the game, but tonight they were a factor, and they definitely gave us some life out there.”

The difference between the Grizzlies’ first period and second and third couldn’t have been more stark. “I think we just said that we got that out of the way. It’s been chippy against them every time we’ve played them, so we kind of got that out of the way and were just able to focus on our game. They might have still been in that mentality of just trying to get in fights and pushing and shoving, and we just wanted to get in front of the goalie’s eyes, put it on net every single time we could, it was great for us.”

The Grizzlies face the Rush for the fourteenth and (thankfully) final time on Monday.

 

 

Goals

  • First Period: None
  • Second Period: Maxwell (Ottenbreit) (SH), Verpaelst (Herbert, Henke) (PP), Economos (Richart, Zahn)
  • Third Period: Zahn (Economos, Smith), Economos (Maxwell, Walters) (EN)

UTA: 1/5 (29 PIM)
RC: 0/5 (39 PIM)

 

Photo courtesy of Josh Pinnau.

 


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