Utah Grizzlies: Heart and Soul

The Grizzlies continued their five game road trip with their first of three games against the Rapid City Rush. Garrett Haar made his first start against one of his former teams, and Jon Puskar returned to the lineup for the first time since his injury. Kevin Boyle started in nets after returning from the AHL with a 10-5-4-1 record, and Ralph Cuddemi sat out for his second of a four game suspension.

With both Alaska and Missouri in action, and all three teams within three points of each other, there was a lot riding on this game.

Rapid City came out flying, but it would be Puskar who scored on his first shift and the Grizzlies’ first shot of the game. Because of course he did.

Unfortunately, after that, things fell apart a little for Utah. Erik Bradford took a hooking penalty, and Rapid City scored, as the puck bounced off the glass and straight onto the waiting stick of Mike Monfredo. Just 27 seconds later, Ryan Misiak made it 2-1 on a defensive breakdown off the faceoff.

Utah got a few chances, including a good one by Zac Larraza from Phil Pietroniro, but after 20, the Grizzlies had been out shot 15-8, and trailed 2-1.

The second period began in much the same fashion as the first, as the Rush jumped out of the gate first, before relinquishing a goal. Zac Larraza continued to be white hot for Utah, making it 2-2 at 1:10 from Bradford.

Utah kept their foot on the pedal after that, and Puskar nearly tipped in what began as a Pietroniro point shot, before getting a second chance, and then finally his second goal of the game at 6:32.

With 10:54 to go, Larraza got a gorgeous breakaway and was pulled off the play. He was awarded a penalty shot with a chance for his second of the game and a 4-1 lead, but unfortunately he missed the net.

Michael Pelech took a hooking call with 10:17 left in the frame, but the Grizzlies killed the penalty off, even getting a few chances of their own from Larraza and Austen Brassard.

There was a tense moment when Erik Higby went down in the offensive zone, but though he appeared to be in some discomfort when he went off, he returned to the game not long afterward.

Utah continued to press, getting terrific shifts from the Pelech and Puskar lines, and after 40, shots were a far closer 24-23, while Utah held onto the 3-2 lead.

Boyle came up huge just seconds into the third to preserve the advantage, and Pietroniro dropped the gloves with Terrence Wallin at 2:35. The Grizzlies got some really good chances on the ensuing 4-on-4, controlling play through out most of the matching majors.

At 10:38, Marc-André Lévesque led the charge on the Rush net, and Colin Martin collared the eventual rebound for a big insurance goal.

The Grizzlies continued to play well through the second half of the third, surpassing Rapid City in shots, and with 2:12 to go, the Rush pulled their goalie.

Gabriel Verpaelst drew a crosschecking call in front of Boyle with 1:28 to play, and Utah got their first power play to close off the game. Rapid City pulled their goalie again to even it out, but Utah held on to win 4-2.

Puskar was, without a doubt, the first star of the game, picking up his 20th and 21st goals of the season,  while Boyle saw his ECHL season high 39 shots, and turned aside 37 of them for second star. Larraza continued to roll, collecting yet another multiple point game with a goal and an assist, earning third star honors.

The Grizzlies goalscorers have heated up at just the right time, given both the playoff race and the lack of Cuddemi. Puskar and Martin now both have 21 goals on the year, giving Utah three 20+ goal scorers, while Bradford continues to be the points leader picking up his 55th point in 52 games with the Grizzlies. Larraza put up his second multi-point game in a row, and has 12 points in 10 games played this season, while C.J. Eick has points in three of the last four games.

There was good news on the playoff front as well.

Fort Wayne coasted to a 5-2 win over Alaska, while Allen routed Missouri 7-2 in Allen, so as it currently stands, Utah leapfrogs Missouri to draw within one point of Alaska and the final playoff spot. Missouri still has a game in hand on both Alaska and Utah, and plays that game on Thursday.

The Grizzlies are next in action against the Rush on Friday at 7 PM.

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Josie Vimahi/Utah Grizzlies

 

Utah Grizzlies: Goalie Duel

With the Missouri Mavericks breathing down their necks in the standings, and the next three games on the road against Colorado, Utah very much wanted to pick up a win in the last of the three-game home stand against Idaho.

Just prior to the game, it was announced that Kevin Boyle had been re-assigned to Utah, and that SPHL defenceman Brandon Lubin had been signed to help shore up the defence. Both were in the lineup, and the only other difference in the roster from previous games was the absence of Brad Navin.

The Grizzlies came out flying to start the period getting the first three shots of the game. They then proceeded to carry the play for the majority of the first, skating hard, defending well, and getting quite a number of nice shots.

The level of play from Utah continued to be at a higher level than we’d seen this weekend, and by the half-way mark in the period, shots were 9-4 for Utah, who had by and large dominated play. Offense and defence worked strongly together, supporting each other on both ends, and the speed and work ethic was definitely superior to what we’d seen previously. They hustled to be first on the puck, and when anything got through the defence, Boyle was there with some terrific saves.

Anthony Luciani got two breakaways and came flying in, but both times Boyle shrugged off the shot like it was nothing. Phil Pietroniro took a slashing penalty on the second breakaway, and the Grizzlies went to the penalty kill with 4:44 left in the period.

The Grizzlies’ penalty kill looked good though, and Idaho took an interference penalty against Ralph Cuddemi. Utah got a few chances on the man advantage, including a few big point shots from Pietroniro once they went to the power play.

Idaho took another penalty with 40 seconds to go as Joe Basaraba took an interference call against Kenton Helgesen, but 20 seconds after that, Cam Reid also went to the box, and the period ended on a 4-on-4.

Both teams killed of their penalties early in the period, but sadly, it was Idaho who drew first blood as a rebound beat Boyle in a scramble around the net.

The Grizzlies kept pressing though, and got two three-on-twos in a row thanks to the speed of Pelech, Cuddemi, and Erik Bradford, and then Pelech, C.J. Eick and, Carlos Amestoy, but though they got off a number of shots, they couldn’t beat Landon Bow.

Idaho looked much more awake as the second period progressed, and the Grizzlies had a little bit of trouble handling them. Utah iced the puck, but won the ensuing faceoff, and proceeded to get quite a number of really good scoring chances, including a number of shots from Pietroniro, and a point blank chance from Reid, but Bow remained a brick wall.

The Grizzlies continued to skate well and by the 14 minute mark, Pietroniro and Pelech had five shots a piece while Bradford was right behind them with four.

Both teams exchanged a few minor penalties in the final minutes of the second, and Idaho got in on yet another breakaway, only to be stonewalled yet again by Boyle.

The Grizzlies got an incredible chance of their own at the other end, but were unable to put the puck past Bow as it pin-balled wildly around the blue paint, and Pelech took a penalty.

At the end of 40, shots were 34-21 for Utah, but they had been unable to erase the 1-0 deficit.

Utah killed off the remaining 30 seconds or so of Pelech’s penalty to start the third, but Idaho pushed hard through the third.

With just over fifteen minutes left to go, Helgesen was stapled to the boards, and left the ice favouring his left leg – and leaving the Grizzlies short-handed on defence once again.

6:17 or so into the third, Erik Higby beat Bow, but the puck hit the post and went out of play in heartbreaking fashion. The good news, however, was that Helgesen returned to the bench not long after.

Utah continued to play well, and to generate chances, but none of the bounces went their way, and Bow remained unbeaten by any of the Grizzlies 39 shots.

With 5:09 left to go in the third, Boyle made another nice save look effortless, as he largely had all game, keeping the team within one.

Despite putting up 43 shots on Landon Bow, and pulling Boyle with one minute left for the extra skater, the Grizzlies were unable to tie the game up and fell in regulation.

It was a disappointing outcome, especially considering how well the entire team played from start to finish. Pietroniro, Bradford, and Pelech all picked up six shots a piece, and Boyle turned in a phenomenal 32 save performance, which earned him first star honours.

“Their goaltender definitely won them three games, there’s no doubt about that.” Branham said of the Steelheads’ second star of the game, and his 43 save performance. “He’s good. When you have a .930 save percentage, that’s a pretty good goaltender.”

Of Boyle’s first star performance, and the Grizzlies’ short-handed defence, he said: “Our goalie stopped five breakaways in the first period, and that’s what happens when you have three regular defencemen in the lineup, you’re going to give up chances like that. You’ve just got to weather the storm, and keep pushing on until we either bring guys in or get guys healthy. I really think our guys are doing a good job of doing that.”

However, the game also emphasized some scoring woes, some of which are simply circumstantial, and some which need to be addressed. “We didn’t score a goal today, scored two yesterday, you don’t win scoring that many goals, you’ve got to put the puck in the net more. But that’s probably due to a depleted blue line, so it’s not just your forwards needing to score goals. I thought we generated a lot of shots today, I thought we could have been a little more tenacious on the rebounds that were there, and drive the net a little bit better, you know, kind of get in his face and bump him a little bit when he’s having that much success. The bounces just didn’t go in our way in that regard.”

Brad Navin’s absence from the game was later explained by the announcement of a trade that sent Navin to Alaska, in return for defenceman Marc-André Lévesque.

“He’s a good defenceman. We’ve seen him last year, and seen him this year a lot. He’s a really good D-man. Unfortunately, I really like Brad Navin. He did a great job here, but in order to get something, you have to give up something. It’s the way this game is, and there was no end in sight. We had to get a D-man, we’ve got guys out injured, and I don’t see any time table for them to be back, so you gotta do something. You can’t continue to play with three or four and forward on the back end at this part of the season, so unfortunately, that’s part of the business, and I wish Brad nothing but the best, and I thank him for all his hard work and success, he did a really good job here, it’s sad that we had to do it.”

In 30 games, Lévesque has two goals and 13 assists, 32 penalty minutes, and a +10 rating, and will help bring further stability to the Grizzlies’ depleted blue line.

Utah plays three games in Colorado Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and it is to be hoped that they can both pick up wins, and avoid any further injuries while they’re there.

 

Utah Grizzlies: War of Attrition

The Grizzlies came into this contest looking to take the third game of the series down Erik Bradford, Tim Daly, and Evan Stoflet, while Kevin Boyle got the start for the second straight night. These absences meant that Utah only dressed four defencemen and ten forwards.

Utah  got an early power play, as Ben Lake boarded Brad Navin 1:45 into the first. Utah got a few chances, but Alaska killed off the penalty.

Colin Martin, Erik Higby, and Michael Pelech all got big scoring chances, but it would be Navin who gave the Grizzlies the 1-0 lead at 9:35.

Utah killed off a holding penalty to Higby, and they continued to swarm, in no way looking like a short-handed team playing their third game in as many nights.

Cam Reid took a late penalty with less than a minute to go, but the Grizzlies headed to the locker room holding the 1-0 lead, outshooting Alaska 17-5.

The Grizzlies killed off the remainder of Reid’s penalty handily, getting the only shot on the Aces’ man advantage, and generally looking like the better rested and hungrier team.

Higby, Cuddemi, and Martin crashed the Aces’ crease, and Martin collared Higby’s rebound, beating Michael Garteig for his twelfth of the year at 3:56.

Half way through the frame, Travis Howe and Garet Hunt dropped the gloves, and after the longest staredown ever, Howe got the edge in the fight, landing quite a number of punches before they were separated.

With just under five minutes left to play, the Grizzlies capitalized on an Aces’ bobble at their blue line. Cuddemi made a spectacular pass, sending the puck behind Garteig to Martin who scored his second of the night into the wide open net.

Utah closed out the second with some great chances, and the period ended in absolute chaos, Tim Wallace tangling with Nemcik and Pietroniro at the buzzer before both teams came flying in.

As the mayhem continued, Pelech and Marc-Andre Levesque dropped the gloves, and it was all the officials could do to break up the fight and get everyone off the ice. Utah went to the room up 3-0, and outshooting the Aces 24-19, but that’s when the tables turned.

As the dust settled, it became clear that despite the 3-0 lead, getting through the third period was going to take a Herculean effort from the Grizzlies. Pelech and Levesque both got five for fighting and a game misconduct, while Nemcik and Laplante were assessed a double minor for roughing, and a ten minute misconduct each. Wallace, who started the whole mess, also got two for roughing.

Alaska, who got three fresh players back for the game, could shrug off the loss of two players. Utah, already down their leading goalscorer and two defenders, would now have to play with only three defencemen for all but six minutes of the third without yet another top six forward.

It didn’t get any better from there.

In the early stages of the third, Cuddemi scared Grizzlies fans everywhere, when he left the ice looking uncomfortable. Fortunately, he appeared to be alright, but that was only the beginning.

A few minutes later, Richart was sent head over heels by a pair of Aces players, and went to the bench before taking a few tentative spins during the break. It appeared that Utah had dodged yet another bullet when he returned to play, only for Pietroniro to take a tripping penalty at 5:46. Unfortunately, Tyler Shattock scored just ten seconds later to make it 3-1.

Although the Aces manhandled Helgesen in the middle of the frame, it was Puskar who went to the box with 11:08. A mere six seconds later, Wallace took a healthy swing at Pietroniro off the faceoff. Pietroniro went down to the ice, and Wallace joined Puskar in the box.

With both Pietroniro and Richart banged up, Nemcik still in the box, and Helgesen the sole healthy defenceman on the bench, the Grizzlies struggled, and at 9:07, Nolan Descoteaux put the Aces within one.

At 10:33 Shattock took a charging penalty on Helgesen, Martin took exception to the hit, and both got two for roughing. Navin also tangled with an Alaska player, but neither were given penalties. Thanks to these infractions, Utah had a brief 5-on-3 situation, before a returning to a 5-on-4 power play.

Each team returned to full strength with no change in score, but Utah got a few really excellent chances on the man advantage. Alaska got a power play of their own as Navin took a slashing call with 5:37 to go in the period. Austen Brassard had a great chance short-handed, and the Grizzlies got Nemcik and Navin back. However, the Aces tied up the game with less than four minutes left to go.

Utah and Alaska both pressed in the remaining minutes, but Boyle and Garteig made some big saves to send the game to overtime.

Just fifteen seconds into OT, Cuddemi was sent to the sin bin for hooking, but the Grizzlies killed the penalty off, even getting a 2-on-1 chance from Helgesen and Nemcik.

In the dying seconds of OT, Martin made a bid for a hat trick and the win with an incredible shift, but it was not to be, and the game went to the shoot out.

Boyle — who has received far too little praise in the recap for being instrumental in helping get Utah this far — allowed a lone goal in the shoot out. Reid and Aubin scored for the Grizzlies, and Utah took the extra point.

Martin and Cuddemi earned the first two stars, but there were no passengers in this game. The performances of Pietroniro, Richart, Helgesen, and Boyle especially were also essential in earning the win.

This was a huge game for the Grizzlies, not only because they won despite being down three to five players for significant stretches of the game, but also because the two points they earned put them three points behind both Alaska and Idaho.

At the end of the day, they’re well within striking distance of a playoff spot, and they have a whole week to recover from what was unquestionably their gutsiest performance of the season.

The Grizzlies are next in action in a three-game home-stand against the Steelheads, where they will hope to take possession of a playoff spot.

Utah Grizzlies: Take Two

After a disappointing loss last time out, the Grizzlies returned to action ready to put Wednesday night’s game behind them. Kevin Boyle got the start, Tim Daly returned to the lineup, while Erik Bradford sat this one out.

Utah looked much better throughout the game than they had in the previous match-up, in that when Alaska came at them, they were not as thoroughly overwhelmed, and counterattacked far more quickly.

Just moments into the period, the Grizzlies tangled with the Aces behind the Alaska net, and as a result, Austen Brassard and Mackenze Stewart were sent off for roughing. Utah picked up the first three shots of the game on the power play, and Stewart and Brassard dropped the gloves properly mere seconds after they returned to the ice. In the ensuing scrap, Brassard decidedly got the best of the exchange, and they were both sent back to the box.

Seconds later, Nolan Descoteaux took a tripping penalty against Travis Howe, and the Grizzlies went to work on their first power play of the night.

At 7:52, Brad Navin took a tripping penalty, but Alaska negated their man advantage as goalie Kevin Carr took an interference penalty. Both teams took two more penalties, first Richart and Puskar, then Tyler Ruegsegger and Tim Coffman, before the period drew to a close. Utah had the 9-7 advantage in shots, and the score remained tied at zero.

The Grizzlies had a brief power play to begin the period, as Coffman’s penalty carried over, and the Aces took yet another penalty, giving the Grizzlies a 19 second 5-on-3.

Though they were unable to capitalize, the Grizzlies’ power play looked pretty good. Phil Pietroniro had a couple of alert plays to keep the puck in the offensive zone, and then a few more on the other end to keep the puck out of the Utah net as the penalty expired.

There was a bit of a scare at 13:25, when Ben Lake went barreling into Kevin Boyle, but he appeared to be no worse for wear.

Colin Martin broke the deadlock at 7:45, picking up the puck, and dancing in all alone to put the puck past Carr to give the Grizzlies the 1-o lead on his eleventh of the year.

Mere moments later, Taylor Richart picked up his seventh goal of the season, and sixth point in the last five games to give the Grizzlies the 2-0 lead. Boyle, in his turn, made some great saves as Alaska fought to get something going.

Alaska took yet another penalty with 8:09 to play, but Utah was unable to capitalize, and Travis Howe took a tripping penalty. The Grizzlies killed off the minor, but no sooner had they done so than the Aces scored with just 2:55 left to go in the second. The Aces pressed back hard after their goal, but the Grizzlies were able to fight them off.

The Grizzlies escaped to the locker room after 40, still holding the 2-1 lead, with Alaska holding the lead in shots by only the slimmest of margins.

The Navin-Puskar-Brassard line continued their strong play to start the period, causing trouble for the Aces in their own end, and less than two minutes in, Howe fought Dax Lauwers after the later laid a big hit on Ralph Cuddemi. Howe got an extra two for instigating, but Alaska quickly negated their power play when Stephen Perfetto tripped up Puskar.

Through the rest of the game, the teams traded chances, the Grizzlies fighting tooth and nail to keep their lead, while Alaska pressed for the tying goal. Carr robbed Cuddemi, and the Grizzlies narrowly missed several other chances to get an insurance goal on the last power play of the game. On the other end, Boyle shut the door with help the really excellent play of Richart, Pietroniro and Nemcik.

With one minute remaining, Idaho pulled their goalie, but the Grizzlies escaped, giving Boyle his second win since returning to the Grizzlies. His 33/34 save performance earned him second star of the game, and Richart – who scored what ended up being the game winning goal – was named third star.

Boyle has saved 74 of the 77 shots he’s seen in the two games since his return from San Diego, which gives him an incredible .962 Save Percentage, and an equally impressive 1.49 GAA. Per Adrian Denny, he will start in tonight’s game as well.

Though Daly returned to the lineup, he played very limited minutes, meaning that once again, Richart, Pietroniro and, to a lesser extent, Nemcik shouldered the lion’s share of the minutes. All three have flourish with the extra ice time, which has allowed the Grizzlies to not only survive but to succeed, in the absence of their best defenceman.

The two teams square off tonight for the third time in as many games, where the Grizzlies will hope to draw within two points of the Aces’ much coveted playoff spot.

 

Image courtesy of Josie Vimahi/Utah Grizzlies

Utah Grizzlies: Weekend Winnings

This weekend, the Grizzlies continued to pick up very much needed points, as they completed the three game sweep of the Steelheads in Boise. The games on Friday and Saturday were both very close contests, each decided by one goal, Saturday’s in overtime.

Friday night’s game was a high-scoring, penalty-filled affair that saw both sides dissatisfied with the calls – or in some cases, the lack of calls – throughout. Troy Redmann got the start, backed by Ryan Faragher, and had a very strong outing overall, while C.J. Eick had the night off in favour of a full complement of defencemen.

Erik Bradford opened the scoring 6:17 into the first, as the Grizzlies crashed the net and the assists went to Tim Daly and Cam Reid, the later of whom picked up his first of what would eventually be three assists.

The rest of the period was more or less a wash, thanks to the ten penalties that were assessed in total, an uncharacteristic three of them on Daly., The teams went to their dressing-rooms with Idaho out-shooting Utah by the slim margin of 9-8.

Bradford scored his second of the game less than five minutes into the second to put the Grizzlies up 2-0, and mere moments later, Phil Pietroniro dropped the gloves with Anthony Luciani. The bout was a spirited one, and both combatants got in several really excellent punches before they were separated and sent to the box. The fight was Pietroniro’s fifth of the season, and third in the last six games.

At 7:13, Daly erased any memory of the three penalty first period with an absolutely gorgeous rocket from the high slot, giving Utah the 3-0 lead. The Grizzlies ran into some penalty trouble in the second half of the period, allowing two power play goals, despite a couple of unbelievable saves from Redmann. However, they responded well both times, and closed out the period still leading 3-2.

The third period did not get off to the most auspicious of starts, despite an Idaho penalty, as Kyle Jean got behind the Grizzlies defence, and tied it up on a short-handed breakaway just under 4:30 into the frame.

However, the game did not stay tied for long, as Colin Martin tipped in Pietroniro’s shot from the blue line. It was not a lead Utah was destined to hold for long, with Corbin Baldwin beating Redmann a few minutes later.

The two teams traded chances and penalties through the later part of the period, with Martin Nemcik and Jefferson Dahl going off for roughing at 16:08.

With just over five minutes to go, the Grizzlies got the upper hand once more, as Kenton Helgesen scored his third of the season with assists from Taylor Richart and Jon Puskar. The Steelheads were irate, feeling that the officials missed a tripping call in the play immediately proceeding the goal, but they argued their case to no avail.

Austen Brassard and Brandon Anselmini took matching roughing calls with two minutes to go, and Utah held on to win 5-4.

Bradford’s two goals earned him third star of the game, extending his point streak to eight games, while Redmann stopped 31 out of 35 shots.

Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, Daly was hit hard along the boards part way through the third period, and played little, if at all after that point, while Idaho ran into troubles of their own when coach Neil Graham, and defenceman Travis Walsh were both given game misconducts at the end of the game. As a result, Walsh was fined, and Graham was suspended for a game, while Daly did not start on Saturday.

 

On Saturday, Kevin Boyle returned to the Grizzlies’ lineup after a lengthy – and largely successful – stint in San Diego, getting the start for Utah. C.J. Eick also suited up for the Grizzlies, as Daly’s absence freed up a spot. Consequently, Utah played eleven forwards and five defencemen, while Faragher backed up Boyle.

The first period was fairly uneventful, though by no means boring, both teams playing well, and fairly evenly. Boyle looked strong early, and Utah had the slight edge in special teams. Travis Howe and Jefferson Dahl went off with matching minors at 7:39, and about thirty seconds later, Brandon Anselmini went off after tripping up Cam Reid. After 20, shots were 12-11 for Idaho, and there was no change in score.

The second period saw a great deal more action, much of it not at all in the Grizzlies’ favour. Michael Pelech took a penalty 3:40 into the frame, and no sooner had Utah killed off that minor, then Erik Bradford also found himself in the box. Boyle made some terrific saves, but it was Idaho that scored first just past the half-way mark.

Utah came back strong, drawing a power play of their own a minute later, but nothing came of it. Shortly thereafter, Howe and Baldwin were sent off, and Travis Ewanyk made it 2-0 with under five minutes to go.

Things continued to go badly for the Grizzlies as Phil Pietroniro was shoved into the boards by Connor Chatham. He was sent to the locker room for repairs, while the ice crew cleaned up the blood, and the officials assessed Chatham five minutes for boarding and a game misconduct. Utah closed off the period on the man advantage, but after 40, they remained down 2-0, outshot  24-23, and missing a defenceman.

Unlike so many early period power plays, the remainder of the Grizzlies’ five minute power play proved lethal. Bradford extended his point streak to nine games, when Cuddemi took his feed from behind the Steelheads’ net and made it 1-o a mere 45 seconds in.

Pietroniro returned to the bench a few minutes later, and took the best kind of revenge, scoring the second goal on the Chatham penalty at 2:01 to tie the game.

Austen Brassard took the only other penalty of the third period at 5:26. Nothing came of it, nor of the nastiness that had been developing all game between Martin Nemcik and various Idaho players. Nor, unfortunately, did anything come of Eick’s glorious up-ice rush that saw him make two Steelheads appear as though they were standing still.

60 minutes was not enough to decide the contest, so the game went to over time. Utah dominated the extra frame, putting up five shots to Idaho’s zero, and Cuddemi gave the Grizzlies the win 1:13 into the extra frame.

In the absence of Daly, both Pietroniro and Richart stepped up in a big way, and were the two defencemen Branham relied upon in OT. Each picked up their third point in as many games, ensuring that Utah did not suffer from the loss of Daly’s production or defencive prowess.

Boyle, who had some struggles earlier in the year, looked very sharp, making 31 of 33 saves, as all three Grizzlies goalies picked up a win in Boise.

Cuddemi continues to display the prolific scoring touch that saw him named rookie of the month, picking up goals 21 and 22 to remain the leader in rookie goal-scoring. His two goal performance earned him third star of the contest. Bradford remains the Grizzlies’ leading scorer with 41 points in 33 games for Utah and 43 points in 38 games overall.

In taking all six points against Idaho, Utah is now only four points back of Alaska (though the Aces still have two games in hand), and five behind Idaho as the quest for a playoff spot continues. Moreover, their seven game win streak is currently the longest active winning streak in the league.

The Grizzlies very much need to keep the goals and wins coming as they travel to Alaska to play three straight against the team directly in front of them in the standings.