Utah Grizzlies @ Wheeling Nailers: Hammer Time

With the exception of Kevin Carr in net, the roster in Wheeling remained as they had in the Grizzlies’ win in Cincinnati, though Joey Raats took some shifts at forward.

First Period

  • Both teams exchanging power plays in the first five minutes. Sort of hard to tell how anyone looks when all we’ve got is a black screen… XD
  • Nailers out-shooting Utah 8-3, but sounds like the Sweet Carroll Line is off to a very hot start.
  • Henke strikes first!! He seems to be making quite the habit of that! McGauley and Barron get the assists.
  • Huzzah! We have video! And a power play!
  • Marchment and Walker created a very nice chance there.
  • Aaaaand now we’re five-on-four as Henke, Carroll, and Titcomb are all sent to the box.

Second Period

  • I still can’t believe the Grizzlies got J.T. Henke off waivers.
  • Lots of shots for Wheeling, would really appreciate it if Utah would go play in the offensive zone a little bit more than they are…
  • Oh that was a nice shot. Barron from Walters and Henke on the power play. 2-0 with half the period to go.
  • Carr bobbled there, but still got back in time to make the save.
  • Barron to the box.
  • Yes, you did hear right. Carr is 11-2-1 this season.

Third Period

  • Wheeling with four of the first five shots in the first 2:30, but fortunately, Carr is sharp.
  • Now six shots…though McGauley, Henke, and Economos had nice opportunities (which did not count as shots).
  • Ah that shift was more like it, and it draws a power play!
  • That is not a good power play.
  • Carr continues to be very, very good right now.
  • Tyson keeps mentioning the goalie thing that you don’t mention until they complete it, and it’s making me nervous.
  • It’s been a pretty uneventful period, but considering the score, that’s probably a good thing.
  • Uneventful, but Wheeling is still racking up shots.
  • Empty net for Wheeling…
  • If the Nailers ruin this in the last 40 seconds, I’m never gonna forgive them…
  • Marchment with the empty netter!!
  • With his second SHUT-OUT of the year, Carr improves to 12-2-1 this season, and the Grizzlies remain undefeated in 2019!!
  • Babies don’t belong in refrigerators, just saying.
  • 3-0 Utah!

Kevin Carr’s 30/30 saves easily earned him first star of the game, while Henke and Barron (both with a goal and an assist) got the second and third stars. It’s a very quick turnaround for the team, as they get on the bus tonight to head to Fort Wayne, where they will finish off the road trip tomorrow (Saturday).

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

Utah Grizzlies vs Wichita Thunder: Home Sweep Home

With Nolan De Jong loaned to the AHL San Jose Barracuda, the Grizzlies went into this game back down to nine forwards and five defensemen, counting Ryan Misiak as a defenseman. Even though Joe Cannata returned from Colorado, the Grizzlies went with the hot hand in Kevin Carr.

First Period

  • That seemed like a really fast first five minutes. Shots 3-1 for Utah, not much by way of whistles, just good, quick hockey.
  • Henke, Barron, and Richart all just barely missed the net in a very short period of time.
  • And now Walters and Dzakhov with a pair.
  • Kevin Carr is in the zone again.
  • All your second chances belong to the Grizzlies.
  • The more he plays, the more I like Dzakhov.
  • This has been a very businesslike first period. Already half-way through, and there hasn’t been a penalty or many whistles.
  • So I say that and Utah gets a power play.
  • The puck support has been really good the past two games especially. As demonstrated there by Zahn and Raats.
  • Carr makes a crazy series of saves, and the crowd is loving it.
  • Walters gets held down in front of the net with, and we all resent that.
  • Zahn with the penalty less than a minute before the end of the first.

Second Period

  • McGauley and Barron had a really nice short-handed chance there.
  • That was almost very bad…fortunately, Carr wasn’t going to let that one-on-none get past him.
  • Well, we’re certainly not scoreless from lack of effort from the boys!
  • JUST CALL HIM ROCKET RICHART!! 1-0 Utah!!
  • And just to keep everyone excited, Economos and Crevier-Morin drop the gloves! It’s been a busy first five minutes!
  • With Economos in the box for five minutes, Misiak appears to be taking shifts at forward.
  • OH MAN, if Jack Walker had been facing the other way, that would have been a goal for sure.
  • Uhg. After all that, Wichita ties it up.
  • Cam Reid levels Joey Raats, and we’re off to the power play.

Third Period

  • Walters gets hauled down on a breakaway, and somehow it’s Dzakhov going to the box for interference. That seems…not right. As Adrian Denny used to say, I don’t know about that.
  • Economos to the box for high-sticking. And of course it’s Cam Reid who makes it 2-1.
  • Walters has had some serious chances lately, but he’s just been so snake bitten.
  • Power play time!
  • THE SWEET CARROLL LINE MAKES IT 2-2!!
  • Richart with a really sweet move, but Stuart Skinner is up for the challenge.
  • A series of unfortunate events puts the puck right on Larkin’s stick. 3-2 for Wichita.
  • Henke sure didn’t miss by much on that shot.
  • Pretty sure Ausmus should have gotten a penalty there, but I guess we can call this even for that time where we should have gotten a call earlier!
  • CARROLL SCORES AGAIN TO TIE IT AGAIN. Walters and Raats get the assists!
  • Penalty for the Thunder!
  • To OT we go!!

OT

  • Good possession to open OT on the power play, but nothing doing.
  • JACK WALKER IN OT!!!!!
  • GRIZZLIES WIN 4-3!!

Walker’s OT game winner and assist on Carroll’s first goal earned him the first star of the game, Austin Carroll got second star with his two third period goals, and Taylor Richart, who started the scoring, earned third star honors. Kevin Carr also could have earned one of the stars, especially with his play in the first two periods before the team started scoring. Additionally, both Walker and McGauley had two assists each and were also stand-outs.

“I didn’t even know I scored, really,” Walker said when asked about his goal, “I just came around the net and was actually looking for a pass back-door, and it just kind of happened to find it’s way in, but I’ll take it, and it’s a good two points for the team!”

With just a couple of exceptions, Branham was pleased with his team’s effort. “I thought those first two periods we played pretty well, pretty hockey,” he said, “Bad break there at the end of the second, there was four or five mistakes that led to that goal, we can’t allow that to happen in the last two minutes of the period. And then the third period,  Wichita’s a good team. They are. They’re a good team, they have a good goaltender, we probably could have had five or six goals. The goalie played well, so did ours. Kevin made some big stops there. What can you say? The boys’ resiliency, they never stopped working, there was no panic on the bench. Austin Carroll, big game for him.”

Branham had further words of praise for all three stars of the game. “[Carroll’s] a good player, spent three years in the American League, he knows how to play the game the right way, plays hard, plays physical, he can score goals, he’s got good hands for a big man. Another player I thought played really well today was Taylor Richart. He just had a solid game all around, offensively, defensively, he was really good. And then Jack Walker, he’s really picking it up. He’s becoming a really big part of this team and he’s doing a good job.”

“That was a huge third period.” Carroll himself said, “More than anything, the boys just came together huge. Being down a goal once, coming back, being down a goal again, and coming back, and then Walker there in overtime just to finish it off, it’s a big character win and I know we’re all happy and coaches are happy as well, so it’s a good feeling.”

The Grizzlies will look to carry the momentum from these three wins into their upcoming road trip, where they hope that playing hard and keeping things simple will serve them as well in Cincinnati, Wheeling, and Fort Wayne as it has this week.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

 

 

 

 

Utah Grizzlies vs Wichita Thunder: Finding a Way

With the exception of a newly activated Christian Frey, the roster remained the same as it had been on Wednesday.

First Period

  • Much sharper start from the Grizzlies tonight, they’ve picked up the first two shots in the first couple of minutes.
  • Make that first three. Gage Ausmus takes the puck around the back of the net and puts it right on J.T. Henke’s stick. Unfortunately Stuart Skinner was there to meet it.
  • MIKE ECONOMOS KNOCKS OUR SOCKS OFF. (With some help from the Ryans!)
  • Shots are 6-3 for Utah with just under nine minutes to go, so definitely a better first period effort.
  • Kevin Carr is very sharp tonight.
  • Travis Barron and Pierre-Cedric Labrie had words after that whistle. No penalties thus far.
  • Austin Carroll and Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin definitely building up some ill-will on that shift!
  • Labrie spends almost a whole shift blatantly trying to goad Zahn into a fight. Zahn eventually gets fed up, and both get roughing calls.
  • Now Barron and Dyson Stevenson exchange words.
  • Preeettty sure Stan Dzakhov should have drawn a tripping call there…
  • Well, that was a very fun first period!!

Second Period

  • YIKES! That’s one way to start the second! A series of bobbled pucks by Wichita and saves by Carr eventually leads to a slashing call on Barron.
  • That was a pretty nice shift by the Grizzlies after the penalty was killed off!
  • That looked bad. J.T. Henke gets hit by the net as it flies off its moorings…He stays on the bench, however, and seems none-the-worse for wear.
  • Well, that’s not what you want. Jesse Gabrielle gets behind the Utah defensemen and beats Carr.
  • Ausmus with a thunderous hit that sure got the crowd going!
  • That Ryan Misiak-Barron chance was almost a fantastic short-handed goal. Sadly, the key word is almost.
  • Wichita has definitely played a lot harder this game in general, and this period in particular.
  • That was a really good shift from Misiak and company, and it leads to a power play!
  • You know that thing that we just said about Carr? It’s relevant again.
  • What a nice power play goal from Tim McGauley. (<–to be read the way Tyson calls it, of course.)

  • What a nice almost goal number two from McGauley.

Third Period

  • That McGauley, Henke, Barron line is looking strong tonight.
  • Watching Carr when he’s on his game like this is always such a treat. He’s so cool and collected, even when there’s a crowd around the net and rebounds are coming in from every direction.
  • Misiak can’t believe that was off-sides, and neither can the fans.
  • That was not one of their better power plays.
  • Ausmus and Misiak have had strong nights tonight.
  • The later in the game we go the more nerve-racking these icings are.
  • Empty net Wichita, talk about nerve-racking.
  • Shots are now 31-20 for the Thunder…
  • JACK WALKER WITH THE EMPTY NETTER!!! Those wheels.
  • Grizzlies win 3-1!!!

Tim McGauley’s tenth of the season, and the eventual game winner, got him first star honors, while Carr’s 30/31 saves earned him second star, and Walters’ two assists and over-all strong play saw him named third star.

“I think Wichita out played us the majority of the game,” said Coach Branham said of the match. “You know what though, we were opportunistic, probably could have scored three or four goals there in the second even though we didn’t play well. Power play once again got us one, that was huge, the game winner, but at the end of the day, we were able to keep them to the outside, we were able to close off rebounds and clear the rebounds. At no point did I think we were in trouble. I think in the second period they had a few chances and we just kind of stopped playing a little bit, we just had to get our battle and our compete level back. But for the most part we found a way to get two points, it was good, good teams do that, we’ve gotta make sure we have a more consistent effort tomorrow for sure.”

“I thought Carr was good. He was really good. Especially late in that game, in the third when shots were coming in, he was able to steer them to the corner, or in the glass, or out of play, it settles things down for us, that’s for sure. Then his ability to play the puck — gets us out of trouble. He’s a competitor, that’s for sure. I know he’s probably wanted to play a lot more games this year, and right now he’s getting his chance, and getting in a rhythm. There’s a reason we brought him back. He’s a heck of a goaltender.”

When asked about the game, Carr said, “The guys played really well in front of me, helped me see a lot of shots, kept them mostly to the outside, so I think we’ve gotta bring that effort tomorrow night.”

“They’re a good team” he added. “We have to respect them, just like every other team in this league, and I think we’re just playing the right way right now, just gotta keep it going.”

The Grizzlies look close out the home stand with a sweep tomorrow night.

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

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.

Utah Grizzlies: Fuel on the Fire

Back home after taking three out of five games on the road, and picking up points in all but the game against the Indy Fuel, the Grizzlies returned home. Helmed by Teigan Zahn for the first time in front of the Maverik Center crowd, the team got Caleb Herbert back from a stint in the AHL. Kevin Carr got his fifth start as Utah looked to avenge their lone regulation loss.

The Grizzlies hopped up to a 3-1 shot advantage in the first four minutes, thanks in large part to a busy shift by Herbert, Ully, and Berry. On the other end of the ice, Carr made a couple of quick saves. Once past the initial couple of minutes, Indy put their foot down and spent a shift or two in the Grizzlies’ end before the Fuel pushed back. Carr made a couple of big saves, including a nice poke check as a Fuel player got position on the Utah defender and drove the net about seven minutes in.

Utah eventually evened out the shots, both teams getting seven by the mid-way point, though by the time there were seven minutes left, Carr had come up with some more big saves.

The Grizzlies drew the first power play of the night at 15:10 when Kevin Dufour took a slashing call. The Grizzlies’ lethal power play made short work of the advantage, Jake Marchment scoring his fifth of the year from Cole Ully and Herbert.

In the dying minutes of the period, Matt Berry took a slashing call, and Utah ended the period on a very strong kill, out-shooting Indy 17-13.

The Fuel scored in the last two seconds of the penalty kill to start the second, but it didn’t matter, because Tim McGauley made the most of a glorious muddle, putting the home team up 2-1 from Gage Ausmus and Brendan Harms.

Both teams had some serious pep in their step, but the Grizzlies had a step or two more, which resulted in McGauley striking at 7:41 assisted by Austin Carroll.

Turner Ottenbreit joined the fun less than two minutes later, getting his first goal of the year on an authoritative shot. Ully and Herbert got the assists.

After holding the Grizzlies in it in the first, Carr coughed up a puck behind the net, and Connor Moynihan got in on the spate of scoring to cut the lead in half at 11:33.

The game settled down slightly after that, the next notable event being Zach Miskovic tripping up Ully for the power play. Utah definitely went about the advantage with purpose, but the period and the power play came to an end almost simultaneously with no change in score. So, after a wild 20, Utah led 4-2, out-shooting Indy 32-19.

Indy drew within one with another early period goal from Darfour 56 seconds in. Herbert took a slashing call 2:24 into the third and McGauley flew in all alone short-handed. He was awarded a chance to finish the hat trick on a penalty shot, but unfortunately Matt Tomkins was up for the challenge.

Carr once again came up big in an absolutely wild scramble around the Utah net, and Zahn headed to the box for holding an Indy player’s stick at 4:56.

The Grizzlies killed it off, and set up a gorgeous tick-tack-toe bit of passing that put the puck on Ausmus’ stick. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to put the puck over Tomkins.

The Utah got a power play of their own at 8:05, but were unable to capitalize, and the parade to the sin bin continued as Berry went back to the box for high-sticking at 10:34. The Grizzlies killed well though, and by the time the game headed into the final five minutes, they’d racked up 40 shots to Indy’s 27.

With three minutes left in the period, the Fuel pulled Tomkins for an extra attacker, but were unable to muster a single shot.

When the final buzzer sounded, Utah had out-shot their opponent 43-27, and held on to the 4-3 lead, paying back their lone regulation loss of the season.

“We definitely knew coming into this game that they were the only team that had one on us, so we wanted to make sure that we brought our A game tonight and really came out explosive.” McGauley said. “I mean they hung in there for sure. You’ve got to give them credit, they’re a good hockey club over there, but we just stuck with it tonight, and fortunately for us, we got the right outcome.”

McGauley’s explosive two-goal performance got him the game’s first star, and he was one of three Grizzlies players to put up six shots. Ottenbreit’s first goal of the year nabbed him second star, and Herbert, one of the others with six shots, was named third star with two assists. Ully also got two assists, extending his point streak to eight games.

More or less the entire team played well, but there were a couple of other standouts. Carroll is also on an eight-game point streak (extended with an assist in this game), Walters was the third player with six shots, and Marchment has picked up seven points in six games.

When asked about what Marchment brings in his return to the team, Branham said, “His presence on draws, blocking shots on the penalty kill, the way he can control the puck along the wall in the offensive zone, a responsible player. It’s nice to get him back, and a great leader in the dressing room too, so all around a great person and definitely nice to solidify that spot down the middle.”

He also noted how nice it was to pick up a win against the team that handed them their only regulation loss so far before adding, “All around a great team effort tonight. I thought the penalty kill did a really great job. I know they scored a goal there with two seconds left, but I thought we did a pretty good job of killing them. Overall, very happy with it. Definitely a lot of offense, definitely a lot of speed, we can overwhelm teams with it, so that’s the game plan.”

Both McGauley and Branham noted that there are still some things to work on, the later saying, “I think we can work on our structure a little bit, but you know what, with the way that we’re creating offense, you kinda give them a little bit of leeway on that.”

Overall, though, Branham was pleased with the effort. “I thought that the D played a solid game, Carrsy made some big saves there at the end, that’s for sure. I thought it was a complete team effort. We came through when we needed to. That’s a good team over there, they’ve got a lot of offense too, so for us to shut them down like that in the end is good.”

Ully earned himself a call up to the Eagles on Thursday, so presumably the Grizzlies will be without him in the Friday and Saturday rematches. If the way the team has been scoring lately is any indication though, there’ll be no lack of goals this weekend.

 

 

Image courtesy of Action Sports Photography.