Utah Grizzlies @ Idaho Steelheads: Magnificent 7

The second season is here, the reset button has been hit, and the roster has seen some changes. Travis Barron returned from the AHL, Mitch Maxwell was placed on injured reserve, and Turner Ottenbreit and Grayson Downing are back in the lineup. The Grizzlies are electing to ice seven defensemen, and a truly lethal group of nine forwards. With Joe Cannata on the Avalanche roster, Alex Leclerc is backing up Kevin Carr for Game 1 of the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

The stage is set.

First Period

  • Travis Barron, Jake Marchment, and Austin Carroll on one line? Goodness. That is pretty ridiculous. It’s even more ridiculous when you consider that it’s followed up by Caleb Herbert, Grayson Downing, and Jack Walker, and completed with Josh Dickinson, Ty Lewis, and Mike Economos. And that’s while missing Cole Ully AND Joey Ratelle. The Grizzlies are STACKED up front!!
  • The amount of defensive zone time to open the period is definitely not good.
  • Idaho ices the puck twice, and momentum shifts a bit.
  • MARCHY OPENS THE SCORING. Jake’s goal came on a tip in of Kevin Davis’ shot, Carroll gets the other assist.
  • Ew. Idaho ties it up.
  • Steven McParland decides to sock Turner Ottenbreit for no reason after the whistle, and that leads to some rough stuff in front of the Utah net.
  • Ahh playoff hockey. Zero penalties called unless someone dies.
  • Things pretty even as the period passes the 15 minute mark.
  • Dickinson with a really nice move to cut to the slot and put the Grizzlies up 2-1 through traffic!
  • Downing and Herbert dig the puck out from the wall behind the Idaho net, and Walker buries the Grizzlies’ third goal of the period!
  • 11-11 are the shots after 20, but Utah leads 3-1!

Second Period

  • The 28s with a puck battle to start the period, because having Marchment and Will Merchant on the ice at the same time isn’t at all confusing.
  • Oooh Walker did not miss the net by much.
  • Downing gets taken down, and that’s the first power play of the game! Quite a crowd gathers on that play.
  • HERBERT SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY. Tomas Sholl wasn’t able to cover up the puck, and it bounced around the front of the net right to Herbert’s stick!
  • Multiple point nights for Lewis and Dickinson already.
  • Oof Idaho very nearly scored there! Really heads up play there from Downing and a save from Carr.
  • Power play Idaho…
  • …and killed with no problem.
  • Dickinson gets hit, and Josh Anderson and Nolan Gluchowski drop the gloves over it.
  • Oh wow, that was a nice one for Dickinson’s second of the game. He kind of just slung it past Sholl, who is having an uncharacteristically rough night.
  • Good defensive coverage there from the guys.
  • Haven’t really needed to mention him much, but Carr’s had a good night.
  • Lewis just needs a goal to go with the oodles of assists he’s got tonight!
  • Another scuffle at the end of the second!
  • Grizzlies lead 5-1 after 40, shots 23-20 for Idaho.

Third Period

  • Ok boys, get Josh Dickinson that hat trick.
  • Lewis trying to take the puck away from Keegan Kanzig was hilarious, as Kanzig is HUGE, and Lewis is, well, not.
  • Idaho with a fair bit of offensive zone time to start the third, but only one shot to show for it so far.
  • Merchant and Marchment continue to have shifts against each other.
  • Please go play in the offensive zone. You’re making me nervous.
  • Nice move from Carr there to make the save, then bat the puck away behind the net. He’s really good at that.
  • CARROLL GETS IN ON THE FUN!
  • AND BARRON FOLLOWS RIGHT AFTER!!

 

  • Some pushing and shoving after the net gets dislodged behind Carr, and while that’s going on, Ryan Faragher is in for Sholl on the other end.
  • Gabriel Verpaelst refuses to go, pulling the move that has been pulled on Utah a couple of times this season. It leads to a lengthy scrum though.
  • Anderson gets two for roughing, Barron gets two for roughing and a misconduct, Kanzig gets a double minor for roughing and a misconduct, Kale Kessy gets five for fighting and a game misconduct for being the aggressor, and Elgin Pearce gets two for roughing and a misconduct. The final result is that Utah gets a five-on-three for two minutes, and then three minutes of five-on-four!
  • Lewis with a nice chance to get his first, and then Downing.
  • Grizzlies win 7-1!!!!

Dickinson (2G, 1A including the GWG and the team leading five shots), Lewis (3 A, four shots), and Richart (2A) were named the three stars of the game, though Carroll (1G, 1A, four shots) and Herbert (1G, 1A) could also easily have been named stars. Every single forward picked up at least one point, and though he was a bit overshadowed by the offensive outpouring, Carr was a strong 35/36.

The Grizzlies will look to continue their strong start in Game 2, also in Idaho on Saturday.

Goals

  • First Period: Marchment (Davis, Carroll), Dickinson (Lewis, Richart), Walker (Herbert)
  • Second Period: Herbert (Dickinson, Lewis), Dickinson (Lewis, Economos)
  • Third Period: Carroll (Downing), Barron (Richart)

UTA: 1/3 (21 PIM)
IDH: 0/1 (48 PIM)

 

 

Photo courtesy of Rob Church.


If you like the work I do on the blog, please consider supporting me by buying me a coffee via the button below, or consider becoming a patron!

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

 

Utah Grizzlies vs Rapid City: Unfortunately, Carlson

Another night, another game against Rapid City, but with a slight difference. Both J.T. Henke and Jack Walker returned to the lineup for the first time since February 9th and January 30th respectively, and Kevin Carr got the start. The returns meant that for the first time in forever not only did Utah dress sixteen skaters, but they dressed sixteen skaters all playing their actual positions.

First Period

  • A LOT of offensive zone pressure for RC here…
  • Jack Walker getting a great chance very early on in his return game.
  • Oh man, Caleb Herbert didn’t miss by much there.
  • Carr with a big save.
  • Everyone seems to be showing a lot more offensive creativity than we’ve been seeing lately.
  • It’s really nice to have all three lines able to create offense again.
  • WHAT A SAVE FROM KEVIN.
  • After that first shift or so, Utah’s definitely been more dangerous and spent less time in their zone.
  • That and Kevin Carr is ON tonight.
  • Did you know Micahel Economos had mitts like that? (Unfortunately, Adam Carlson is up to his usual tricks.)
  • WILL SMITH BEATS CARLSON. There will be no RC shutout tonight.

  • Assists go to Jake Marchment and Gabriel Verpaelst. Does that make them that 20s line like the Kings had that 70s line a while back? (Verpaelst being a defenseman aside…)
  • Hey Schorny, did you sew Velcro to Carr’s jersey? He’s pretty much allowing nothing by way of rebounds.
  • The Rush have had most of the shots since Smith’s goal. That does not bode well.
  • Taylor Richart objects to the traffic around Carr and is sent to the box for roughing.
  • Carr makes a bunch of big saves on one side of the net, but the Rush slip one past him on the other to tie it up on the advantage.
  • Shots are 13-9 for RC after 20, tied 1-1.

Second Period

  • Henke with a nice shot for the first of the period.
  • …Why is it ALWAYS Cedric Montminy?
  • Please go play in the other zone for a while.
  • Perfect pass from Smith to Eric Freschi, Carlson stops it though.
  • Smith is having himself a game. A couple of good moves from him in the defensive zone.
  • Really though, please go spend more time in the offensive zone.
  • Economos with a snappy little shot there. Unfortunately, Carlson.
  • Another beautiful save from Kevin there.
  • So you know that thing we said about Will Smith? It’s relevant again.
  • I would not want to be anyone watching a Turner Ottenbreit shot coming towards my head.
  • Oy, do not elbow Moose! Go sit in the box and feel shame.
  • Freschi’s got a couple of pretty good looks tonight as well.

Third Period

  • Walker with those WHEELS almost ties it up. Except Carlson. Again.
  • That Herb Brooks speech, except about Carlson.
  • Carr with a couple more nice saves.
  • Walker with a bad giveaway, and a great and immediate takeaway.
  • Herbert with a nearly nifty play there.
  • Hero block by Richy leads directly to a great chance from Ryan Walters.
  • That’s the offensive zone pressure the Grizzlies have needed this game.
  • Shots are 6-1 for Utah through the first six minutes.
  • Josh Anderson has improved so much from the start of the season.
  • Very few whistles this period. Shots are now 8-2 for Utah with 8:40 to go
  • They’re getting more shots, but it feels like fewer dangerous chances.
  • And then, of course, Carlson.
  • That’s the third minor Taylor Crunk has taken this game.
  • Ottenbreit’s reach is seriously impressive when he extends himself all the way.
  • Grizz pull Carr for the extra skater, but no dice, despite hitting 43 shots, and limiting the Rush to just three shots in the third.
  • Utah falls 2-1.

“We gotta work, we gotta work like we did in the third period.” Tim Branham said after the game. “I thought we played a really good first ten minutes and then a good last 20. SO we took thirty minutes off there in between, and when you play half a game, you leave it to chance, so we’ve got to make sure we play a full sixty minutes, and play motivated hockey.”

There might have been some lapses throughout the game, but several players definitely stood out. One of them was obviously Carr, and another was Will Smith. “He’s getting better and better every day, that’s for sure,” said Branham of the lone goal scorer. “We talk about it with him all the time, he’s getting more and more confidence and doing what he needs to do, and he scored our goal tonight. We need our best players to be our best players, but it’s nice to get the scoring from our depth guys.”

Josh Anderson’s play has been more and more noticeable as he’s gotten more ice time through the back half of the season, and last night was no exception. “That’s what he needs to do, he needs to play. He’s a young D-man, not even old enough to drink! He’s here to play hockey and to learn, and to get better, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.”

So they’ve been playing better against Carlson, but the Grizzlies are going to have to do something about him in the next two games. “It seems like he’s got our number right now” Smith said about Carlson. “It’s pretty tough to get pucks by him, he’s a really good goalie. I think what we talked about is getting more traffic in front of him so he can’t see it. Just keeping it really simple, just throwing pucks at him, at his feet, whatever we can do, having guys there. Coach said it in between periods today. It may not necessarily be the first shot that goes in, but it might be the second or third or even fourth rebound that might go in. So we’ve just gotta get in front of him and cause havoc there.” That is, in fact, exactly what Smith himself did on his third goal of the season.

When asked about the noticeable uptick in the quality of his play, he said, “I think the first few games I was here I was a little bit tentative. Any time you get to a new team you try to fit in where you fit in, just in the locker room. It was actually nice coming here cause I played with Economos last year and he really helped smooth things over for me, but first couple of weekends, I just didn’t feel like I was playing to my full potential, I was a little bit nervous. Then in the last little while here, I feel like I’m fitting in a bit more with the guys on the team and that just changes everything — it changes the way you play on the ice, and feeling more comfortable for sure.”

This is the first time in quite a while that the Grizzlies have dressed six defensemen and ten actual forwards thanks to the return of Henke and Walker, and while they didn’t score, you could definitely notice the increase in offensive opportunities that their return brought all the way through the lineup. Of their return, Smith said, “That’s huge, cause we’ve got a lot of really talented guys who have been out. Since I’ve been here I haven’t really seen them, to be honest. But Henke, I’m living with him, and I checked his stats, and he’s got over a point per game, 30 in 30 or whatever it is, so he’s a guy who would obviously help our offence, and when you don’t have a guy like that in the lineup it definitely affects the outcome for sure, and guys playing out of position, playing with a limited number of guys, it just adds a little bit of adversity to what we’re trying to do. Those guys are coming back and you see them in practice and they’re getting better, it’s exciting for our team.”

Utah’s got two more meetings against Rapid City on Saturday and Monday, and from the post-game comments, it’s clear they know what they need to do. It’ll just be a matter of execution.

 

Goals

First Period: Will Smith (Verpaelst, Marchment)

UTA: 0/4 (6 MIN)
RC: 1/2 (10 MIN)

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography.


If you like the work I do on the blog, please consider supporting me by buying me a coffee by clicking the button below, or consider becoming a patron!

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

 

Utah Grizzlies vs Kansas City: Frustration

After last night’s game, the lines saw some shuffling, though the roster itself remained the same.

First Period

  • Teigan Zahn crushes a guy, and Joe Cannata flashes the leather. Getting the crowd into it right off the bat!
  • Joseph Mizzi to the box with a double minor for high-sticking.
  • Cannata looking particularly sharp. He’s made a couple of nearly identical pad saves followed by a quick stick to bat the puck out of danger.
  • Grayson Downing with a big block there.
  • Downing showing off the physical side of his game with 13:00 to go.
  • Pretty good looking defense tonight. On the other hand, it’d be really nice to get some shots of our own…
  • Eric Freschi with a tremendous takeaway in the offensive zone with half a period to go.
  • Haha that’s what happens when you hit a Moose. The moose is fine, you fall over.
  • KC strikes first on a late power play…where have I heard that one before…
  • McDonald is far too good a goalie only get one shot on and expect good things to happen.
  • End of 20, shots 7-2 for KC, who leads 1-0.

Second Period

  • That’s more like it. The Grizzlies have already doubled their shot count, and we’re not even two minutes in.
  • Ausmus rings iron, shots are now 8-4 in a much better second.
  • Nice crisp breakout from the Downing line.
  • Mizzi is robbed on a point blank chance, and just like that, shots are an even 8-8.
  • Aaaand Greg Betzold beats Cannata on the rebound.
  • Cannata bobbles a seemingly routine save, and it’s 3-0.
  • Ottenbreit with a huge shot, and Zahn lays a big hit, which the fans appreciate.
  • Oooh some animosity brewing.
  • Maxwell didn’t miss by much…
  • After evening up the shots, KC is once again out-shooting Utah 18-9.
  • Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout  Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout Shutout
  • Freschi’s stick goes flying up in the air, and he catches it, to the crowd’s great delight. Wonder if he’s good at juggling…
  • Dickinson didn’t miss the net by very much there. He’s so sneaky good.
  • Well. Marchment takes a penalty.
  • AND NOW THERE’S A CRAZY SHIFT, AND WATSON TO THE BOX.
  • Well. That was not ideal.
  • 3-0 for KC after two.

Third Period

  • Pretty good shift here from Marchment and company now that all the penalties are killed off.
  • It didn’t pan out, but what a crafty move from Downing.
  • Downing playing with some passion there. He’s definitely not entertained.
  • Every other sentence seems to be about him tonight, but he’s been good.
  • Anderson absolutely wails on a guy, and gets five and a game.
  • Really nice short-handed shift from the boys.
  • Ah great. We just go from bad to worse.
  • Walters to the box and Richart as well, because reasons.
  • …As bad as Richart getting a 10 minute misconduct is…that’s 10 minutes in which he can’t get hurt as this game goes nowhere good in a hurry…if you want to look at it from the very, very, very faint bright side…
  • What a shift from Walters as he flew out of the box!
  • Obviously, penalties aren’t the reason the Grizzlies are currently losing. But KC definitely hasn’t played as clean a game as the score sheet would indicate…
  • And the fans are not happy about it.
  • Hate to sound like a broken record, but…as AD used to say…I don’t know about that…
  • Zahn’s penalty is killed, and Ottenbreit throws a thunderous hit!
  • Well. If you can’t score a ton in front of a big crowd, at least entertain them with big hits, and a surprising fight from Mitch Maxwell!
  • As bad as this game has been, and as many penalties as Utah’s taken, they’ve only got one power play goal against them. That’s pretty impressive.
  • That is the second short-handed dash from Walters and Downing that SOMEHOW didn’t beat McDonald.
  • Welp. I guess that winning streak had to come to an end sometime.
  • Utah falls 3-0.

 

“First off, they played hard.” said Tim Branham after the game. “They came at us hard, we tried weathering the storm, obviously got behind the eight ball early with penalties. Definitely a lopsided affair on the referee’s part. You have the linesmen out there calling penalties, the reason it gets out of hand is because they don’t call the penalties, and they don’t keep it under control. Hockey players handle it themselves. Unfortunately, we face that a lot here with our part-time linesmen, they always seem to have it out for us, but it is what it is.

“I thought there were times where we could have played better,” he added. “I thought we played extremely hard, it’s tough when the power plays were eight to one, the one power play we had was 37 seconds. I definitely saw some penalties out there that could have been called. But it is what it is. I thought the boys played really hard, I was really proud of them, and we gotta regroup here and come back on Monday.”

Despite the lopsided penalties, the Grizzlies only allowed one power play goal — a testament to their defensive abilities.

“I thought our PK was good,” Branham said. “The one that they scored was off of a face-off, and just got a quick shot, nothing structurally or anything like that. It is what it is, those bounces happen, kind of like their one yesterday. I thought we played really well, they had what, three five-on-threes tonight, an extended one for over a minute, and then two shorter ones, the effort is there. We’ve got an unreal team, unreal character, and definitely proud of the way they played. We got the short end of the stick, 100% in front of 8,500 fans and the commissioner here. They couldn’t find one penalty on them. It’s pretty sad.”

The Grizzlies’ eight game point streak and five game winning streak came to an end, as all good things must, but there were valuable things that came from it that will continue to stand the team in good stead going forward.

“We came together as a team, no matter who was in our lineup. Guys are understanding what it takes to win games, I think. Playing short-handed a lot with new guys who aren’t used to playing in this league, it’ll take a toll on you. So when you’re killing that many penalties, you’re really relying on your veteran core guys as well, so they’re getting a lot of ice time as well. It was a good streak, that’s for sure. We’ve got to make sure we put this one behind us and start a new streak.”

Monday’s matinee game against the Mavericks is gonna be a big one.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography and staff.


 

If you like the work I do on the blog, please consider supporting me by buying me a coffee! (Or, if we’re being quite honest, a tea!)

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Utah Grizzlies vs Idaho Steelheads: Let it Snow

On a snowy Wednesday night after a lengthy road trip, the Grizzlies got a number of reinforcements from Colorado to bolster a very injury depleted roster. Forward Grayson Downing and defenseman Sergei Boikov made their Utah debuts, while Julien Nantel returned as well. Kevin Carr made the start against the Idaho Steelheads.

First Period

  • Downing looks like he’s gonna be fun to have around.
  • Nantel wastes no time at all getting back on the board! 1-0 Utah 2:09 in from Turner Ottenbreit and Josh Dickinson!
  • Getting two penalties together is not ideal. Good kill though.
  • The beginning of that power play started well. It did not end that way though.
  • Well, we get a redo!
  • Jake Marchment did not miss that tip in by much.
  • Teigan Zahn to the box with about six to go. Utah did a good job giving the Steelheads trouble getting out of the zone.
  • Idaho ties it up and Zahn and Keegan Kanzig drop the gloves.
  • Josh Anderson has had a couple of nice defensive moves this period.
  • Shots are 12-6 for Utah, but we’re tied 1-1.

Second Period

  • Power play Utah 17 seconds in.
  • Liking Boikov’s play. Very calm and polished.
  • Not a great power play so far. Not a lot of urgency, and Idaho has two shots to Utah’s one thus far.
  • Very nice move by Richart to take away the puck just above the blue paint.
  • Another pair of nice plays by Anderson. He’s looking very good.
  • Not wild about how much defensive zone time there has been in the first five minutes.
  • Yeesh, that was close.
  • The second half of this period has been much better for Utah.
  • THAT’S TWO FOR NANTEL!! Walters with the pass from the boards to give the Grizzlies a 2-1 lead on the power play! Dickinson gets the second assist!

  • Both 11s run afoul of each other. Looked like Richart might have gotten clipped in the face by Dahl’s skate.
  • Kanzig looks like he’s trying to take on Ottenbreit and Anderson at the same time there.
  • Good penalty kill there. Not even a shot allowed!

Third Period

  • HOW DID THAT GO IN?? Away, WHO CARES. GOAL ECONOMOS.
  • Walters did not miss that net by very much short-handed.
  • Back to the power play Utah goes.
  • Nantel’s hat trick bid didn’t miss by much.
  • Anderson and Moroz tangle.
  • Anderson with a big hit, Nantel with a nice rush up the ice, and the crowd appreciates both.
  • The Grizzlies have had a couple of really long delayed power plays this game.
  • WALTERS CAPITALIZES ON SOME BEAUTIFUL PASSING FROM HENKE AND NANTEL.
  • Grizzlies win 4-1!!

Anderson had a very good game defensively, and was named defenseman of the game, while Nantel (2G, 1A), Dickinson (2A), and Economos (1G) were the game’s three stars, though Ryan Walters (1G, 1A) could easily have be named one of the stars as well.

Additionally as mentioned, Downing and Boikov are both going to be great additions to the Grizzlies for however long they’re here. Downing is a very good two-way forward, and as mentioned, Boikov is polished and quite defensively sound. Carr went 19/20 for his 15th win of the year, and the Grizzlies are now tied with Idaho for first in the Mountain.

These two teams will face off two more times this weekend on Friday and Saturday in the continued battle for divisional supremacy.

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography.

Utah Grizzlies @ Tulsa Oilers: Holding the Fort

With the returns of Kevin Davis and Joe Cannata, the blue line got a bit crowded, and possibly as a result, Nolan De Jong sat this one out.

First Period

  • Good start for Utah, equally good start for Evan Fitzpatrick, unfortunately.
  • Fortunately, Cannata is looking good too.
  • Breakaway for Herbert, Fitzpatrick makes the save. Again.
  • That was a very nice move by Carroll to keep the puck in the offensive zone.
  • Tim Mcgauley clearly has some beef against Tulsa! His second fight of the season comes against Alex Kromm! He had not yet begun to fight, but the refs break it up.
  • The play is quite physical already.
  • Tulsa has put their foot down, and has doubled up on shots in the back half of this period.
  • MARCHY ON THE POWER PLAY.
  • Good first period for Utah, despite getting outshot 12-5. Cannata definitely has had to be sharp.

Second Period

  • Good kill to open the period. McGauley, especially, was strong.
  • …Well…that’s not a great goal.
  • 15-5 are the shots for Tulsa, that’s not ideal either.
  • Between Walker’s wheels, and some saves by Cannata, we’ve got another good kill.
  • Shots are now 20-8 for Tulsa…They’ve been able to set up in Utah’s zone for long stretches throughout the game.
  • Cannata is still looking strong, which is probably why this game is still tied.
  • Taylor, the puck is supposed to go into the net, not you!
  • Another good penalty kill to end a period.

Third Period

  • Cannata turns aside a short-handed odd-man rush.
  • That’s the second power play Ottenbreit has drawn this game.
  • Josh Anderson scores his first pro goal to put the Grizzlies up 2-1!!
  • Marchment is a fight away from a Gordie Howe hat trick, and McGauley just needs a goal for one.
  • Everyone from both sides is falling over in the Utah end. Turns out ice is super slippery! XD
  • Oilers’ net is empty…
  • Oh Richart did NOT miss the empty net by much.
  • GRIZZLIES WIN 2-1!!!

Jake Marchment and Joe Cannata were named first and second star of the game. Utah looks to complete the visit with a sweep before heading to Wichita.

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.