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 vs Rapid City: Strong in the Force

With Nolan De Jong joining Kevin Davis, Josh Anderson, Austin Carroll, Matt Berry, Travis Barron, and Josh Dickinson in the AHL after Saturday’s game, and with Tim McGauley and Turner Ottenbreit both sidelined, the Grizzlies were seriously short-handed on Star Wars night. Kevin Carr got the start and Ryan Misiak played defense as the team dressed only 14 skaters. Considering how the other two games had gone, it looked a trifle worrisome.

Utah came out on a mission, flying around the ice, and jumping to a rapid lead when Julian Nantel scored his first at 1:19 from J.T. Henke. The Grizzlies got a 5-1 advantage in shots, then Kevin Carr had to be sharp as the Rush got three straight back. Rapid City got the game’s first power plays, both against Henke but got his own back, making it 2-0 with only 24 seconds to go in the first. The Rush got an unsportsmanlike conduct right after the goal, and Misiak got a tripping call with eight seconds left. After 20, shots were 12-8 for Utah.

The second began with almost two minutes of four-on-four, and the Grizzlies got a power play after that. The Rush poured it on through the middle stages of the second, but between Carr and the active sticks of the players in front of him, they held them off. Utah got into some penalty trouble in the back half of the period, losing Taylor Richart, Gage Ausmus, and Henke to the penalty box in rapid succession.

The penalty killers came up huge, however, and no sooner had Henke and Ausmus left the box then the former scored his fourth of the year. There was quite a scuffle after the goal, and Utah got another power play as Cole Ully, Josh Elmes, and Shaquille Merasty all got roughing calls. Tempers continued to flair as the game progressed, and Jake Marchment faced off against Dylan Quaile in the first of three fights. In the dying seconds of the period, Alec Baer got in all by himself, but Carr stopped him cold to end the period.

The third began with a new goalie for Rapid City, and a power play for the Grizzlies. They didn’t capitalize, but they were absolutely flying. They also racked up a 13-0 shot count through the first half. Henke made a bid for the hat trick on a mid-period power play, and the Grizzlies hit the 40 shot mark with just under eight to go. Then at 14:02 Mike Economos dropped the gloves with Matt Harrington in a furious bout to the great approval of all 7,926 fans in attendance. Not to be out done, R.T. Rice dropped the gloves with Merasty just 38 seconds later. Ausmus joined the combatants in the box for slashing almost immediately afterwards, and no sooner had he left the box, then he and Cedric Montminy were sent to cool their heels after matching roughing calls. Nantel ended the game in the box, but the Grizzlies got the 3-0 victory, out-shooting Rapid City 41-23 overall, and 20-5 in the final period.

Misiak turned out to be a surprisingly good substitution on the blue line, his speed standing him in good stead, and he looked quite comfortable quarterbacking the power play. Economos endeared himself to the home crowd in his first game on Friday, and won them over completely on Saturday. Henke (2G, 1A, 6 shots), Carr (23/23 saves), and Nantel (1G (the game winner), 8 shots) were the three stars of the game, and Carr got a standing ovation at the jersey auction following the game.

“The boys buckled down, and it was a gutsy effort. That’s a good team, that’s a hard working team over there, they’re missing a few players too, but we were able to get to their goaltender finally.” Tim Branham said. “He’s been a rock back there for them, but you can’t say enough about our effort. Carrsy, two short-handed breakaways, a short-handed three-on-one, he was really, really good tonight. Sticking up for teammates, big blocked shot by Zahn at the end, he didn’t even have to do it, there’s six seconds left, just leading by example there. Great effort by everybody, and it was one of our better games of the year.”

With three goals in the last two games, Henke seems to be really hitting his stride after being claimed off waivers from Greenville. “I think it’s just getting comfortable,” he said of his recent performance. “Coming from where I was to here is a little different, getting used to the altitude, and all that kind of stuff, playing with guys, and burying chances when I should.”

“It’s always tough to get guys called up and lose them, especially big scorers, but it’s a part of the game, I think we all had a gut check, I think we played hard today, everyone did a job, the fighters fought, the PK guys did great, Carrsy stood on his head, and good for him getting his first shut out, it all gelled well today.”

It looked like the team finally had regained their equilibrium after losing and replacing so many players in such a short period of time, but the challenge isn’t over yet. Nevertheless, Branham is confident in his group. “We’ve got a week off, we’ve got to put it together next week. I don’t know what our roster’s gonna look like next week, but whatever it is, we know that we can get the job done, and we’ve gotta bring that effort and that passion, and that simplicity every single game.”

The Grizzlies will play two games in Idaho next week, before finishing off the year at home against the Allen Americans.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.