Utah Grizzlies vs Idaho Steelheads: Yet Another Close One

Ahead of game three, the Colorado Eagles assigned Tim McGauley to the Grizzlies while Cole Ully and Grayson Downing both remained out of the lineup. Kevin Carr got the start as Utah looked to take a series lead in front of a home crowd.

 

First Period

  • Good start, at least possession wise in the first minute!
  • McGauley gets his first shot of the game on a very nifty little dangle.
  • Josh Dickinson remains hot, corralling the puck in the defensive zone on the penalty kill, and then flying in to score his third of the series short-handed!
  • Really sweet shot from an absolutely flying Michael Economos, but he rings iron.
  • Turner Ottenbreit is a one man wrecking machine out there tonight. Not only is he making some big plays in his own zone, he’s throwing some monster hits.
  • Big save from Carr to deflect the puck up and over the back of the net.
  • Beautifully nonchalant glove save from Carr short-handed.
  • Nothing particularly glitzy from Travis Barron, just rock solid hockey.
  • Dickinson nearly got number two, but Tomas Sholl snagged it.
  • Dickinson with another nifty move, but Ty Lewis just misses the net. Aaaaand Dickinson is down. Not good.
  • Seems ok though.
  • Idaho ties it up with five seconds to go in the period.
  • Gage Ausmus takes a hit after the buzzer sounds, and the Grizzlies aren’t too pleased.
  • 1-1 after 20, shots 13-12 for Utah.

Second Period

  • Tempers appear to be fraying just a touch five minutes in…
  • Big block and then clear by Taylor Richart on the PK.
  • Both teams are looking far better on the PK than they are on the PP.
  • The net comes off its moorings in a wild scramble, and Carr’s not afraid to defend his own blue paint! A crowd quickly gathers.
  • Shouldn’t even be surprised that it’s Kale Kessy whenever a crowd gathers.
  • Lot of zone time for Idaho, though not a whole lot of counted shots resulting.
  • However, when Idaho IS getting shots, Carr has been rock solid.
  • On the other hand, please go establish some possession in the Steelheads’ zone.
  • Gorgeous, gorgeous passing play between Dickinson, McGauley and Herbert. Alas, Sholl is a good goalie.
  • Yet another great save from Carr. Do we sound like a broken record yet?
  • Idaho definitely getting the better end of this period.
  • OH MAN. Joey Ratelle JUST missed burying the puck right as Kyle Schempp and Austin Carrol got out of the box.
  • Barron to the box for rouging with 2:02 to go. The boos from the crowd are definitely the loudest they’ve been sine the Grizz goal.
  • Kevin Carr is the reason this game is tied.
  • 1-1 after 40, shots 19-30 for Idaho.

Third Period

  • Pretty energetic start to the third. Both teams are throwing their weight around with enthusiasm.
  • Another strong save from Carr.
  • MCGAULEY GOAL!!!! Welcome back Timmy! (And Dickinson has another multi-point game.)
  • Much better period thus far for the Grizz.
  • Uhg. Spoke to soon. Puck bounces off the post and in to tie it up at 5:50.
  • And just like that, the momentum has swung right back to Idaho.
  • Ratelle’s gonna fight someone before this night is over.
  • Or you know, Teigan Zahn is gonna fight someone. He and Keegan Kanzig drop the gloves, but it’s over pretty quickly.
  • Dickinson with another beautiful move.
  • Pretttty sure that should have been tripping as a Grizz player flew in to get a shot.
  • Shots have evened up considerably, 29-34 with ten to go.
  • Hero shift from Richy. Blocks a shot in the defensive zone which leads to an offensive zone rush, then flies back to make a couple more big shot blocks in the defensive zone.
  • We’re seeing some nice hockey now from both sides.
  • That thunderous Utah shot from Davis at the point did not miss by much, ringing iron before it went wide.
  • Utah doing a good job at keeping the shots away from Carr in the past five or so minutes, but Idaho is still getting a lot of chances to get possession in the offensive zone.
  • Ratelle and Carroll get a really good pair of looks that leads to absolute mayhem. Ratelle goes in swinging.
  • Richart continues to be his usual rock solid, 100% dependable self, with a little extra playoff spark.
  • The crowd always appreciative of the Captain laying the boom.
  • Not entirely sure what sparked off that newest series of ref you suck chants. Pretty sure that was a clean hit on Herbert.
  • Travis Barron draws a crowd with 15 seconds to go after an offside call.
  • Power play Utah with 8 seconds to go. Shots are 40-35 Idaho.

OT

  • Sooooo…Marchment got roughed over, Herbert jumped to his defense…and HERBERT got a penalty…ok then. Needless to say, that wasn’t exactly a popular call here.
  • Didn’t matter in the end, because they killed it off.
  • Pretty quiet OT, though Utah’s outshot Idaho 3-1 in it.
  • It’s been pretty even, but Idaho is starting to show bits and pieces of that offensive zone time they had before.
  • Lewis and an Idaho player barrel into Utah’s net, but they and Carr all appear to be more or less fine.
  • Ahh bugger. The slowest of slow trickling pucks slides over the line, and Idaho wins game three.

Kyle Schempp’s game winner earned him the first star, while Josh Dickinson got second star with his team-leading goal and assist, and Tim McGauley took third star in his return. Carr also had an excellent game.

“He’s been good.” Tim Branham said about his leading scorer these playoffs, “Obviously his skill set is high for this level, he’s a determined player and plays in every situation for us. He’s done extremely well these playoffs.”

“[McGauley] was a good player for us for many months there, and deserved a call up, that’s for sure,” He continued. “He was buzzing coming down here and playing again, so for as long as we have him we’ll use him.”

“We knew it would be a tight series,” he said, of the team in general, “We were able to get on top of them in Game 1, last two games went to over time, anything can happen. We have to pay attention to smaller details, gotta be willing to pay the price. Idaho works hard for their goals and we’ve got to work harder to stop them from scoring.”

“You’ve got to want it more than them,” he said when asked what needs to change for games four and five. “You know it’s gonna be a crap bounce that goes in, or a hard working play, you’ve gotta work hard for those. I thought we deserved this game to be honest, it is what it is, we’re down 2-1 in the series, only thing we control is Friday. We’ve got to make sure we come out with the same start that we had, clean up a few things in our own end, I’m not liking the goals that are going in. I’m not talking about Kevin Carr, I’m talking about our team. Dumb plays are leading to goals against, and we’ve got to make sure that we clean those things up.”

“Kevin gives us a chance to win every night. He’s done extremely well, made some big saves for us, kept us in it at times. That’s what you need out of your goaltender this time of year.”

“I thought we came out hard, I thought we took it to them. We hit two posts, had some odd man rush situations, and those are the bounces that we didn’t get. We’ve got to work harder for them next time and make sure we bear down in those opportunities, and hopefully our luck will change.”

The Grizzlies get a chance to change their luck tonight.

Goals

  • First Period: Dickinson (SH)
  • Second Period: McGauley (Dickinson)
  • Third Period: None
  • OT: None

UTA: 0/5 (15 PIM)
IDH: 0/4 (17 PIM)

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography


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Utah Grizzlies @ Idaho Steelheads: Chaos is a Ladder

Coming out of a terrific first game of the playoffs, the Grizzlies look to hold off what is no doubt going to be a cranky and determined Idaho team. The roster remained the same, as did the starting lineup and the goaltender–after all, why mess with success?

First Period

  • Couple of quick saves for Kevin Carr in the first two minutes. And by a couple, we mean six.
  • Teigan Zahn looks to be playing forward so far, and there appears to be no Grayson Downing, though he’s listed in the lineup.
  • Grizzlies get their first shot short-handed. Because of course they do!
  • Idaho strikes first on the power play with just four seconds left.
  • Shots are 10-1 for Idaho, which isn’t ideal, but certainly has been something of a normal thing lately.
  • MICHAEL ECONOMOS TIES IT UP!
  • App says Josh Dickinson, but everyone is pretty sure it was Economos…
  • Herbert to the box.
  • Herbert’s penalty killed.
  • Oh lord, Austin Carroll is down, and really slow to get up. Think he’s fine though.
  • Travis Barron and Robbie Payne drop the gloves with five seconds to go.
  • After 20 we’re once again tied 1-1, shots 13-6 for Idaho.

Second Period

  • Ty Lewis draws a power play!
  • …Definitely not accustomed to seeing Jake Marchment absolutely dwarfed by an opponent…But that would be Keegan Kanzig for you!
  • Carr with a big save on a short-handed breakaway.
  • And that right there is why Caleb Herbert was on the All-ECHL First Team. 2-1 Utah on the power play!

  • Elgin Pearce gets another chance short-handed. That’s not at all concerning or anything.
  • There was SO much traffic, but somehow Carr saw the shot!
  • Pearce and Gage Ausmus to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct, even though the two of them were among the least involved of anyone in that crowd! 😂
  • Pearce AGAIN short-handed. But Carr’s been there to meet him every time.
  • Haha Henrik Samuelsson was looking at the play, and missed the door being open for a second or two there!
  • The best chance on the Utah power play went to Idaho, the best chance on the Idaho power play went to Utah.
  • OH MY STARS. kEVIN. What. A. Save.
  • Oh god, let Carr be ok let Carr be ok…
  • panic
  • Ok. He seems to be alright…We can stop freaking out now…
  • Pearce gets a five minute charging major, Ottenbreit and Kanzig get two minutes each for unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • 2-1 Utah after 40, shots 26-23 for Idaho.

Third Period

  • 3:31 of power play time to begin.
  • Nothing doing on the man-advantage. Carr made some good saves right off the face-off.
  • Oh great. Zahn is skating off holding his face. Not good.
  • That was a very pretty toe-drag from Carroll. Unfortunately, Brady Norrish got a piece of it.
  • Zahn’s back. Not sure if he even missed a shift!
  • Really physical game. Guys are taking a beating entirely separate from all the shots they’re diving in front of.
  • Carr with another BIG save.
  • This is definitely far more the kind of game expected from these two teams. Close, and ferocious.
  • Uhg. Samuelsson ties it up with 9:30 ish to go.
  • Tomas Sholl with a big save on Barron.
  • Josh Anderson and Carroll with a flurry of chances around the net.
  • Speaking of Anderson, he appears to be playing forward now while Zahn’s back on defense.
  • After a wild second period, the third was far quieter.
  • Wouldn’t be playoff hockey if there wasn’t OT, I guess!
  • Shots 40-34 for Idaho, tied 2-2.

OT

  • Nice takeaway from Anderson in the offensive zone there.
  • Good zone time in general in the first minute.
  • Make that the first three minutes. Which probably means that Idaho will win. Because the hockey gods are fickle.
  • Three minutes later and shots are now 3-3.
  • That was quite the wild bounce off the glass!
  • Kessy wins it 7:56 into OT. (Seriously, why is it always Kessy??)
  • The Grizz return home with the series tied 1-1.

Whether it was Dickinson or Economos who scored the first goal, both had strong games, Dickinson adding at yet more points to his collection as well as six shots. Lewis was also continually in the thick of things also putting up six shots. Carr also had a strong game, making 42/45 saves. As fun as the 7-1 thrashing was,  this is far more the kind of game this rivalry series promised, what with the tight score, the general dislike, and everything that comes with a meeting between these two bitter foes.

Game 3 takes place on Wednesday night when playoff hockey arrives at the Maverik Center.

 

Goals

  • First Period: Dickinson (Richart)
  • Second Period: Herbert (Davis, Dickinson)
  • Third Period: None

UTA: 1/6 (19 PIM)
IDH: 1/6 (24 PIM)

 

 

Photo courtesy of Rob Church.


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Utah Grizzlies vs Idaho Steelheads: Best for Last

Well, it’s here. Game 72 of the regular season, and what a season it’s been. Injuries, win streaks, losing streaks, the most prolific goalscorer in nine years, fighters, point-per-game waiver pickups, speed demons, more injuries (have we mentioned the injuries?) all leading to a spot in the playoffs against these same Idaho Steelheads.

The lineup remained the same with Taylor Richart and Captain Teigan Zahn both playing in game 72/72, while Kevin Carr once again manned the net, facing down Ryan Faragher and the Steelheads.

First Period

  • First three shots go to Idaho.
  • Power play Utah! Good start!
  • ….Short handed goal Idaho two-on-one, beats Carr clean. Less good start.
  • They keep getting into the zone, and then either turning over the puck, bobbling passes, or otherwise not getting anything going.
  • 8-1 shots for Idaho after eight minutes. That’s not ideal, to say the least!
  • Good speed and hustle though.
  • Carr with some nice saves as well.
  • Gabriel Verpaelst and Mitch Moroz drop the gloves! Verpaelst got in way more punches, but Moroz gets the take-down. Both cool their heels for five.
  • Much better second half of the period.
  • Turnovers not so much though.
  • We were at a hockey game, then a rugby scrum broke out! That was a really lengthy puck battle along the boards.
  • Ondrej Vala and Austin Carroll tangle at center ice. They both get slashing minors, though it looked more like roughing than slashing. They’re both shown the door as there’s only 1:19 to go.
  • Utah draws a power play!
  • After 20 Utah trails 1-0, out-shot 15-4. However, they’ve got a power play coming up to start the second.

Second Period

  • Faragher with an unfortunately familiar glove save on that shot.
  • POWER PLAY GOAL.
  • Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but Ty Lewis makes it 1-1 from Kevin Davis and Caleb Herbert as the puck trickles through Faragher 43 seconds into the period!
  • That’s the…uh…fourth slashing call this game.
  • Idaho scores. Of course it’s Kale Kessy.
  • Power play for Utah, HUGE save from Carr on a short-handed breakaway!
  • WALKER WITH THE POWER PLAY GOAL! Really sweet pass from Michael Economos too.

  • Josh Dickinson with a nice shot to beat Faragher five-on-five!.
  • The Grizzlies have taken the bit between their teeth this period.
  • Spoke too soon. Idaho ties it riiiiight back up. Puck took a bounce off the Utah defenders in front of Carr and went in.
  • Ooof. Definitely spoke too soon. Idaho takes the lead seven seconds into the power play.
  • Caleb Herbert is sent sprawling, and we’ve got another power play opportunity for Utah…
  • Furious defensive play from Kevin Davis there. Kept a the Idaho player from getting a shot.
  • ROCKET RICHART.
  • And another slashing penalty this game! That’s number five!
  • Utah takes over the shot lead with five to go.
  • Four shots for Utah in the first, 21 for them in the second!
  • 25-24 for Utah are the shots after 40, and we’re tied 4-4!!

Third Period

  • TAYLOR WASTES NO TIME! That’s goal number eight for Mr. Richart, scored just 18 seconds in!
  • VERBEAUTY! What a snipe on a tight angle shot from the bottom of the face-off circle! And just like that, it’s 6-4!
  • Slashing penalty number six.
  • Idaho now with some determined offensive zone time.
  • Pretty back and forth now.
  • Walker lays the boom!
  • Idaho takes a penalty, and then Utah takes a penalty with 4:19 to go.
  • GORGEOUS short-handed look from Economos. With those wheels, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was Walker, if he wasn’t sitting in the box!
  • Walker takes the puck up ice out of the box, and after a lengthy battle around the net, Mitch Maxwell makes it 7-4!
  • And that’s all she wrote!!

Richart scored goals number seven and eight, earning first star of the game for the game winner, while Lewis took second star with his continued scoring bonanza (1G, 3A on Sunday, 5G, 8A in seven games), and Walker was named third star with a goal and two assists. Carroll picked up three assists, Herbert picked up two, Economos led the team in shots with six, and Carr stopped 33/37 for his 20th win of the season.

It was definitely a team win from goal-tending on out, and it was pretty much everything you could hope for from a final game. “Obviously we want to get wins,” Tim Branham said afterwards, “But more importantly we want to be playing the right way going into playoffs, so for all the reasons that we talked about yesterday, adding new players and whatnot, really proud of the way this group battled these last two games, just gaining confidence and understanding the way you have to play in order to have success in the playoffs.”

There may have been a few little hiccups in the first half of the game, but some of them were just down to the Steelheads being a very good team. “You’ve got to give Idaho credit, they lost a heartbreaker last night and they wanted to probably come out and have something to prove so they had a little jump in their step. We had to weather the storm, and then it was our turn to play our game. Special teams battle tonight, our power play did a great job, and at the end of the day we found a way to win.”

Importantly, the Grizzlies got goals from players all through the lineup, both on offense and defense. “It’s huge,” said Branham, “You can’t just have contributions from one line or one player, it’s gotta be throughout your lineup if you want to have success, so back end, as well scoring goals, it’s a big help.”

“It’s always good to play 72 games,” said Richart, “It means obviously you’re not in and out of the lineup, you’re not having major injuries, a few bumps and bruises, but I think the whole year I just wanted to focus on playing good, solid two-way hockey, good defensively, good offensively. We had a lot of power up front, so I kind of focused a little bit more on the defensive side, and the offense would come, just getting pucks in like tonight, and they happened to go in.”

“We did have a hot start,” Richart continued, “Which obviously really helped us when that slump kind of kicked in, but it was nice, obviously injuries are part of the game, so we kind of had to battle a little bit there, just kind of shows what we have in that locker room right now, just battling night in and night out. Getting ready for playoffs we knew we had to settle everything down these past couple of weekends, kind of getting in the playoff mode, it’s been playoff hockey the past three weeks, and teams are playing playoff hockey as well, so we just had to keep it together.”

Richart and Zahn both finished the season without missing a single game, despite playing big minutes, and throwing themselves in front of everything, whether it be pucks, or punches–something that Branham praised highly. “[Richart] and Teigan Zahn, both playing every game, they both just eat pucks. We talked about those guys a little bit yesterday, what they mean to this team, as a coach you know what they’re gonna bring every single game, and that’s easy to coach. The leadership that those guys bring is tremendous, it’s invaluable, can’t put a price tag on it, and we’ve got sixteen more wins.”

“Every game you gotta bring it. It’s win or go home now.” Richart concluded. “It’s a new season now, so every day you’ve gotta be ready to go, can’t take any games for granted.”

The Grizzlies will begin the first round of the playoffs against the Steelheads in Idaho on Friday night.

 

Goals

  • First Period: None
  • Second Period: Lewis (Davis, Herbert) (PP), Walker (Economos, Lewis) (PP), Dickinson (Carroll, Anderson), Richart (Walker, Carroll) (PP)
  • Third Period: Richart (Carroll, Herbert), Verpaelst (Lewis, Ausmus), Maxwell (Walker, Lewis)

UTA: 3/6 (17 PIM)
IHD: 2/5 (19 PIM)

 

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography.


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Utah Grizzlies @ Allen Americans: X Marks the Spot

In the first game of the lengthy and final road trip of the regular season, the Grizzlies faced off against the Allen Americans. Kevin Carr got the start, while Ryan Galt made his Utah debut. J.T. Henke and Will Smith sat this one out, while Jake Marchment, Grayson Downing, Joey Raats, and Josh Winquist all remained out of the lineup as well.

First Period

  • Both teams trade penalties in the first six minutes or so.
  • A lot of twos on that particular penalty kill, 21-12, 20-27.
  • Half a period to go, shots 6-3 for Allen.
  • Carr’s made some nice saves.
  • Tentative is the word I would use to describe this game so far.
  • Also, uneventful. Though that was a nice shift from Austin Carroll, Ryan Walters, and Cole Ully.
  • Huh. I thought Tanner Nagel beat out that icing.
  • It’s been a pretty quite game, but boy it sure is nice to be watching them play someone other than the Rush…
  • Allen with a lot of possession here with under four to go. Not that they’re doing much with said possession, but they’ve had it.
  • Fourth best power play, second best PK in the league? Nice.
  • Goal light went off behind Carr, but the puck appears to have hit the post and gone out. The ref was pretty adamant in waiving it off immediately.
  • That was a really, really nice back-check from Josh Anderson with two to go.
  • Carroll splits the D, gets a shot, and draws a power play.
  • Turner Ottenbreit with the BLAST just seven seconds into the advantage!
  • After 20 Utah leads 1-0, shots 10-7 for Allen.

Second Period

  • Allen getting all the shots in the first three minutes. Not ideal.
  • Carr’s been seeing them comfortably though.
  • Jack Walker to Michael Economos from behind the net and it’s 2-0 for Utah!
  • And on the very next shift, Allen makes it 2-1.
  • Economos and Ottenbreit both looking to get goal number two on this advantage.
  • A bit of a crowd gathers as Allen returns to full strength. Would seem like the feeling out process is over.
  • Nifty mitts from Eco there.
  • Ully draws a power play, Ottenbreit and Taylor Richart with a couple of cannons. Good movement from the Grizzlies in general, really.
  • The pace in the second period has been far quicker, both teams having to scramble in spots.
  • Zach Pochiro and Nagel collide, and Pochiro is pretty mad that nothing was called.
  • They’ve been calling offsides really tightly tonight. Not sure Allen was actually offside there though.
  • RATELLE SCORES HIS FIRST!! The puck somehow trickled past C.J. Motte. Not sure exactly how, but WHO CARES!
  • Walters racking up the points again.
  • Carrsy tells Pochiro YOU SHALL NOT PASS.
  • Allen pressuring with about two to go.
  • Some big shot blocking, and after 40, Utah leads 3-1, shots 24-19 for Allen.

Third Period

  • SECOND GOAL FOR RATELLE!!! Nagel gets his first pro point on that!
  • Adam Miller gets a penalty shot, and Kevin shuts him down.
  • It’s been an eventful two minutes!
  • Really nice shift from Richart, followed by a really nice stretch from Carr.
  • Utah, please go play on the other side of the ice for a while…
  • First pro game, first pro goal for Galt!! Walker has HIS second point of the game, and Gage Ausmus picks up the secondary. Looks like Verpaelst may have grabbed the puck for Galt as well!
  • Atkinson goes after Herbert, Ratelle responds, and there are lots of penalties coming.
  • Ok, after all that, Teigan Zahn and Curt Gogol get thrown out, Pochiro, Economos, and Ratelle all get two, so it is a power play for Allen.
  • That was the saddest celebration on that Allen power play goal.
  • This is probably the longest final two minutes I’ve ever witnessed.
  • One final penalty for Allen.
  • GAME WON, PLAYOFF SPOT CLINCHED.
  • 5-2 Utah.

Ratelle’s two goals earned him first star, while Carr took second star with 37/39 saves, and Ottenbreit snagged third star with a goal and an assist. Walker and Walters both picked up two assists each.

This was exactly the kind of win the Grizzlies needed to kick off the road trip, now they just need to keep their foot on the gas and keep going.

Goals

  • First Period: Ottenbreit (Richart, Walters) (PP)
  • Second Period: Economos (Walker, Maxwell), Ratelle (Walters, Carroll)
  • Third Period: Ratelle (Nagel, Ottenbreit), Galt (Walker)

UTA: 1/6 (23 PIM)
ALN: 1/3 (34 PIM)

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography.


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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.


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