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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Grizzlies vs Mariners: Finding Their Bearings

With Jake Marchment and Grayson Downing still out, the Grizzlies remained short-handed for game two against the Maine Mariners, while Joe Cannata once again got the start.

First Period

  • Couple of pretty good shifts to start us off tonight. Teigan  Zahn appears to be back on defense, and Will Smith has already had his first shift of the game after playing little/no time on Wednesday.
  • Zahn takes the first penalty of the game, but it’s killed off, and now we’re on the advantage. Unfortunately, Maine’s PK is looking as effective as the Grizzlies’.
  • Turner Ottenbreit and Taylor Richart (I think?) both just had amazing plays to keep the puck onside and in play.
  • Eric Freschi had absolutely NO space to make that play, and yet he still found a way to go backhand, forehand, clear. Nice.
  • Going pretty back and fort as the period progresses to the final five.
  • Now Josh Anderson is headed off to the box with 3:39 to go.
  • Zahn to the box for crosschecking with 28 seconds to go in Anderson’s penalty and 2:06 to go in the period.
  • Gage Ausmus with a great move to kill time carrying the puck up the ice, then racing back to get back and cut off a passing lane. It led to an Ottenbreit clear.
  • THAT’S THE CANNATA WE REMEMBER. The puck slips past Joe, but he leaps backwards and freezes it! There’s absolute chaos around the net now.
  • 0-0 after 20, shots 15-13 for Utah.

Second Period

  • The period begins with 1:02 of power play time.
  • Oh. Oh no. It almost seemed like Zahn was so worried about screening Cannata that he didn’t do anything on that one-on-one…
  • Well, Ully says trailing is dumb and scores on the very next shift!!
  • Fox is the beneficiary a heart-breaking deflection and it’s 2-1. Boo.
  • Walters goes FLYING into the offensive zone…and then flying into the goalie. You can imagine how well that went over. Which is to say badly.
  • Walters gets two and is pitched from the game. A HUGE penalty kill coming up here…
  • Josh Dickinson with a gorgeous takeaway, but his stick breaks on the shot.
  • Caleb Herbert and Michael McNicholas get matching slashing calls, so now we’re four-on-three for two minutes.
  • Well, they pretty much killed it off, but not all the way. 3-1 Maine.
  • Now Utah’s got a 49 second five-on-three.
  • Nolan De Jong rings iron as one of Maine’s players exits the box.
  • Richart with a couple of cannons, but De Jong’s remains the best look on the advantage.
  • Oh geez. Not Economos.
  • Soooo Zahn gets two at the buzzer.
  •  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Third Period

  • They’re playing better than last night, but this is starting to look awfully familiar…
  • Herbert and Ully go flying in shorthanded, but Herbert takes a penalty to get there.
  • POWER PLAY GOAL CALEB HERBERT. (Are you surprised that Ully got the assist?)
  • Oh geez. A one-on-none, that’s gonna end badly. WAIT IT DIDN’T!
  • Depending on whether or not you consider Herbert getting two penalties on the play going badly or not…
  • Dickinson beats out a puck into the offensive zone, and draws a penalty! The remainder of Herbert’s penalty is now a four-on-four situation.
  • Economos with a big shot at the end there.
  • Richart gets held up in the offensive zone with no call, and when he complains, he’s sent to the box.
  • OH SWEET REVENGE. Josh Dickinson with a flawless short-handed goal to tie it up.

  • Someone wearing four (Herbert? Economos? Ottenbereit?) had a crazy scoring chance that no one can believe didn’t go in.
  • So of course Anderson gets a penalty, and Richy blocks a shot that looks like it hurt.
  • He’s back to play on the power play though, so he’s at least mostly ok.
  • Dickinson scoring short-handed goals, blocking shots, and just generally doing it all.
  • Might just be my imagination, but it feels like Ausmus has played a lot more as the game has progressed.
  • TO OT WE GO.

OT

  • Good stick from Ottenbreit.
  • Another good stick from Ottenbreit.
  • Herbert and Ully have had a couple of glorious near misses.
  • Oh Josh. That hurts. Dickinson, that is, not Anderson. I realize I probably shouldn’t just say Josh and expect people to know which one I mean…
  • Big save from Cannata.

SO

  • Have I mentioned how much I hate shoot outs? (I mean, as skills competitions, they’re great. As the means to win a hockey game…)
  • Maine wins it with the only goal in the shoot out. Of course it was Fox.

Ully and Herbert earned first and second stars of the game with their goal and assist performances, and Dillan Fox, who scored two of Maine’s goals, plus the SO winner (and probably should have been named first star) was third. Ottenbreit, Ully, and Dickinson all had three shots. Joe Cannata saved 35/38, and despite being scored on (just once), was excellent in the shoot out.

“It’s huge.” Tim Branham said about having Ully and Herbert back together. “Those guys are world class players at this level, so as much as I can play them, I’m gonna play them. I think they’re doing a great job leading the way.”

Despite the loss, this was an encouraging game after the last couple. Yes they went down three goals in the second again, but this time they were able to battle back in spite of twelve penalties. And speaking of penalties, they went a perfect 12 for 12 on the penalty kill, killing off a seven minute penalty to Walters (and a five-on-three during that time when Zahn took a call), and of course, scoring short-handed on the penalty to Richart later in the game. All this, despite still being down the equivalent of two lines and the tenth skater of some of their best forwards. Even better than that, Ully and Herbert appear to be working their magic again, which could, if guys like Dickinson and Freschi play like they have been, be enough to tide the Grizzlies over until they get guys like Jake Marchment and Grayson Downing back in the lineup.

Summing up the game, Branham said, “Really proud of the boys’ effort, of battling back, a we had 12 penalty kills against, I’ve never seen that before in my life, what can you say. It is what it is. I thought we had a great job on the penalty kill, great job of fighting back, earning a point in the standings with an extremely short lineup once again, we’re just trying to tread water here until we get some guys back and really proud of the way we battled.”

It’s just a theory on my part, but I also think having Zahn back on defense full time helped stabilise the back end as well — or perhaps everyone just played harder and Zahn’s return to the blue line was coincidental to that. But either way, the defense had a better night than they did on Wednesday.

The final piece of good news is that despite the continued losses, Utah has two games in hand on Idaho, and one on Tulsa who are only three points and one point ahead in the standings respectively, while though Kansas City has two games in hand on the Grizzlies, they trail by nine points.

After losing in regulation and losing in the shoot out, the Grizzlies look to get back in the win column tonight against Maine with a little extra help from Captain America.

 

Goals

  • First: None
  • Second: Ully (Freschi, Herbert)
  • Third: Herbert (Ully, Freschi) (PP), Dickinson (SH)

UTA: 1/7 (36 PIM)
MNE: 0/12 (20 PIM)

Photo courtesy of Josh Pinnau.

 


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Utah Grizzlies @ Allen Americans: Missed Opportunities

After last night’s whacky affair, the Grizzlies looked to erase their loss. The roster remained the same, although Kevin Carr got the start.

First Period

  • Grizzlies once again take an early penalty. Shots are far improved from last night already though!
  • Someone in the crease with a really great active stick to bat that puck out of harm’s way.
  • Why haven’t I seen Marchment since the penalty, meanwhile Walters and Herbert are double shifting…
  • OTTENBREIT.
  • That shot made Kevin’s water bottle go flying, but he makes the save!
  • Oh there’s Jake.
  • There was a good couple of seconds there where nobody on either team had any idea where that puck was, lol.
  • DICKINSON FALLS DOWN, SPINS AROUND, AND BEATS MOTTE.
  • All the power plays belong to us.
  • Much better first period. Utah out-shoots Allen 13-6.

Second Period

  • Some nice shots to start the second with that 58 seconds of power play time, but Motte is sharp.
  • Are we gonna have to call Marchy the Gunslinger now?
  • Carr gets shoved away but still makes the save.
  • All sorts of chances there from Walters, Zahn, and Smith.
  • Irritatingly good kill from Allen there.
  • Economos flying short-handed. As he does.
  • Some four-on-four hockey coming up.
  • Now Motte loses his water bottle.
  • Allen with some momentum as the period draws to an end.
  • Ew. Why.
  • Allen plays their replays at the most inconvenient moments.
  • Richart leads the Grizzlies with five shots after two periods.
  • 2-1 after 40.

Third Period

  • Carr with some very nice saves to start the third as Allen controls play.
  • 1:11 of five-on-three for Utah coming up. Scoring on this would be big…
  • Best chances came from Ryan Walters.
  • That started as a really good defensive effort from Anderson and the others, and ended up as a painful goal.
  • Well. Talk about every opportunity to get a goal. Utah here, and nothing doing.
  • And another long five-on three (1:07 this time).
  • Once again, nothing doing. That’s definitely frustrating that they were given two such big chances and came up empty.
  • So of course Allen scores.
  • That’s Utah’s tenth power play of the night. This is definitely a change from last weekend.
  • Except that KC actually scored on their power play opportunities.
  • Well. That was an incredibly frustrating game for the exact opposite reasons from last weekend.
  • Empty net goal for Allen.
  • There’s a big crowd after the buzzer, and Allen gets penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct and roughing at the end of the game.
  • 4-2 Americans.

Ottenbreit now has four goals in his last seven games, and Josh Dickinson continues to tick along at a very nice pace.

Grizzlies look for revenge in the final game of the series tomorrow at 3PM.

Goals

  • First: Ottenbreit (Walters, Freschi), Dickinson (De Jong, Maxwell) (PP)
  • Second: None
  • Third: None

Utah: 1/10 (8 minutes)
Allen: 0/4 (32 minutes)

 

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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Grizzlies @Kansas City: Taming the Mavericks

After getting a bit of a break after playing four games in six days, the Grizzlies headed out on the road to face C.J. Eick and the Kansas City Mavericks. Josh Dickinson and Kevin Davis returned to the lineup, as did Ryan Walters, while Kevin Carr got the start after Joe Cannata was recalled to the Eagles. These additions meant that Mike Economos and Joey Raats both sat, and Carr was backed up by Christian Frey.

First Period

  • Dickinson jumps right in and makes his presence felt!!! 1-0 Utah, barely two minutes in!
  • It’s been a good start overall so far. Shots are 6-2 with less than six gone.
  • Carr looking calm, cool, and collected as per.
  • Good puck possession too.
  • WALKER WITH THE WHEELS! Oh, and nice pass from Dickinson too!
  • Herbert is looking good, and it’s sure nice to have Davis back!
  • Pretty sure it’s clear how everyone should feel about having Dickinson back.
  • It’s been a very quick, clean first period so far. Not a lot of whistles.
  • Big save by Carr there on the three-on-one.
  • First power play of the night goes to us!
  • That was a very good first period. Shots 12-9 for the Grizzlies.

Second Period

  • The speed of C.J. Eick puts the Mavericks offside.
  • HERBERT! Caleb scores his third goal in two games, and we’re up 3-0 3:31 into the second!
  • A little bit of zone time for the Mavs, but it’s not leading to much for them.
  • Freschi almost had one there against his former team.
  • There are sticks and gloves all over the Grizzlies’ zone, and Carr makes some big saves.
  • Mavericks are definitely pushing back. They have four shots to Utah’s two since Herbert’s goal.
  • Oooh McGauley did not miss by much there.
  • De Jong goes down hard, but despite the crowd that gathers, no penalties.
  • And then Marchment draws a power play! Four shots for the Grizzlies, but no goals on the advantage yet tonight.
  • Another Utah power play! Why do I have the horrible feeling that all these power plays going our way are going to come back to haunt us at some point in the very near future…
  • FRESCHI ON THE POWER PLAY! Gotta love that he scored his first goal with Utah against his former team.
  • Carr with a very big save at the end of the period.
  • It’s been a really good 40 minutes. Here’s to an even better final 20.

Third Period

  • Tyson acknowledging those of us who get really cagy if you mention the thing that goalies can get before the game is over…which might be just as bad as saying the word…
  • CARROLL!!! Ooh it was a pretty one too. Marchment gets his second assist.
  • No babies in the refrigerator this time. 🤣
  • If they play all the rest of this game in the other end, they can’t ruin Carr’s…accomplishment-that-must-not-be-named, right?
  • There is a LOT of time left in this game…
  • Tempers fraying just a little bit. Not much though. It’s been a surprisingly penalty free game.
  • And the Mavs are spending more time in our zone… (Not that they’re doing much with it at the moment, but still.)
  • Of COURSE it’s Eick who ruins Carr’s shutout. Of course it is.
  • I’m definitely blaming this on Tyson, and not the defensemen who were nowhere to be seen.
  • This is what I call the Harry Potter scenario. Eick scores, but the Grizzlies win.
  • Walters takes the first penalty of the night for Utah with 4:21 to go.
  • Grizzlies definitely in turtle mode. Shots are 10-3 for KC on the period.
  • Doesn’t matter though!!
  • GRIZZLIES WIN 5-1!! 
  • Definitely a stylish beginning to the road trip.

Kevin Carr went 25/26 and was named first star of the game, while Josh Dickinson (1G, 1A) and Jack Walker (1G, 1A) were also outstanding, and Austin Carroll picked up his fourth point in two games, also collecting a goal and an assist. Marchment picked up two assists, and Caleb Herbert now has six points in the last four games, and scored his 22nd goal in 30 games.

The Grizzlies will look to continue this success in tonight’s rematch against the Mavericks.

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard, Jess Fleming and staff.