Utah Grizzlies vs Idaho Steelheads: An Avalanche of Goals

On a very snowy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Idaho and Utah met for the ninth time this season. Tim McGauley returned from suspension, and Joey Raats joined the forward core in place of Josh Dickinson who was recalled to Colorado after the last game. Joe Cannata got the start, facing down former Grizz goalie Ryan Faragher.

First Period

  • That was a very nice shift from J.T. Henke, Jack Walker, and Eric Freschi! Good traffic in front of Faragher and nice puck movement.
  • Austin Carroll is fun. That spin-o-rama pass was 👌
  • A pretty soft defensive play along the right side, and Idaho strikes first.
  • CALEB HERBERT STRIKES RIGHT BACK ON THE POWER PLAY.
  • And then he and Teigan Zahn both end up in the penalty box. Oh dear.
  • Richart with the hero play on that wide open net.
  • That was a HUGE kill.
  • That Henke/Carroll Walker unit got some SERIOUSLY pretty looks.
  • WAS THAT A GOAL???
  • IT WAS. CARROLL ON THE POWER PLAY.
  • The power play sure has heated up again.
  • Of course Idaho strikes right back. This is the rivalry in a nutshell.
  • Both Zahn and Economos have whiffed on what looked to be lining up for gorgeous shots this period.
  • All this period has missed to be peak Idaho/Utah is a fight. There hasn’t been much by way of antagonism.
  • Shots 11-10 Utah!

Second Period

  • Cannata goes on an adventure, but Idaho can’t handle the puck cleanly, and Joe’s set up again before they can take advantage of the screen and the empty net.
  • Walker with the wheels beats out the icing. Exactly no one is surprised.
  • An aggressive offensive shift leads to a two-on-one going the other way, Idaho makes it 3-2.
  • Ah. There’s the crowd gathering after a whistle.
  • THERE’S the fight.
  • Wait. RICHY dropped the gloves with KING? Well, ok.
  • Oh boy. Idaho doubles the lead on a flawless shot.
  • Apparently it’s totally fine to mug Caleb Herbert at center ice.
  • Two quick goals puts Idaho up 5-2. This is less than ideal.
  • Special teams have been quite good, but the defensive effort five-on-five left a lot to be desired.
  • So I say that, and then they proceed to have a couple of really good shifts.
  • JOEY RAATS SCORES HIS FIRST!!! Freschi and Richart get the assists!
  • Economos and Mitch Moroz drop the gloves!
  • POWER PLAY GOAL FOR CALEB HERBERT. THIS IS NOT A RECORDING.
  • Better put the league on notice. It looks like Herbert may have woken up!
  • 5-4 after 40 is definitely a lot better than 5-2 after 40!!!

Third Period

  • That was a pretty important save from Cannata there.
  • Sigh. And that shift started out so well.
  • It’s been a pretty quiet period other than that goal.
  • EVERY BODY GETS A PENALTY.
  • That was some nice passing on the very end of the five-on-three.
  • Empty net with 2:45 to go…
  • Empty net goal.
  • Idaho wins 7-4 and the grueling home stand comes to an end.

Herbert’s two goals earned him second star of the game, and some praise from Tim Branham. “He wasn’t scoring, but he was able to get a few points there over the weekend,” he said. “Tonight was huge, he’s got a lethal shot, when we can set him up for those chances I like our odds.”

Herbert wasn’t the only player who came in for some praise.

“[Richart]’s done a good job of defending. He blocks a lot of shots, I bet you he and Zahner have probably blocked the most in the league. Those guys do everything that it takes to sacrifice for the team. That’s what it takes if you want to have success, that’s what it takes to win. From here on out the games get hard. It’s the best division in the league, no questions asked, and it’s gonna take everybody every single night to get a W.”

Although a lot of goals once again ended up in the back of the Utah net, they certainly can’t all be blamed on the Utah net minder. “Joe’s our guy.” Branham stressed, “Joe’s our guy, he’s been good for us, and we know what kind of goaltender he is. A lot of those goals, we gotta do a better job defending. He’s a big part of this team. Also, five on five, looks like we’re a little tired, to be honest, we’ve played a lot of hockey lately, and we just made a few mistakes that were costly. Definitely happy with the special teams, the power play moved the puck around really well, we were able to score three goals there, and one five-on-five. That’s positive. Our penalty kill was good, killing off a full two minute five-on-three, so we’re gonna build on that, go on the road here and build on that. Hopefully we can get a couple of guys healthy.”

Obviously, picking up more points would have been ideal, but the Grizzlies played four games in six days, and that’s gonna wear anyone down.

Utah does get some road-trip reinforcements in the form of Josh Dickinson and Kevin Davis, while Kevin Carr takes over the nets with Cannata getting called up to Colorado once again.

The Grizzlies take on the Kansas City Mavericks today at 6 PM MT.

 

Photo courtesy Jess Fleming and staff.

 

Utah Grizzlies @ Fort Wayne: Too Deep A Hole

On the road with the quick turn-around, it was no surprise that while the lines looked similar, Joe Cannata got the start.

First Period

  • Well. That was a bad beginning.
  • After that first shift though, Utah looks pretty good.
  • That was a really nice series of chances on the power play.
  • Yikes. that Komets player must have whiffed big time. The net was wide open.
  • Oh no, Gage, why.
  • Ryan Walters is sneaky fast. Maybe not quite like Misiak or Walker, but faster than you might suspect.
  • Uhhhhgggg. Good screen, FW. Good screen.
  • Post and in. This is not an ideal first period.
  • Ah. Yeah, no. Very not good.
  • Thank goodness that 4-0 disaster is over!

Second Period

  • That was a really nice series of chances from Dzakhov, Walters, and Carroll.
  • The Grizzlies are definitely playing a lot better in their own end this period than they were last.
  • Walker with those wheels gets a gorgeous breakaway, and draws a power play!
  • OH lord. Short-handed. That’s just adding insult to injury.
  • #ROCKETRICHART
  • Anderson drops the gloves with Szydlowski! That’s a bit of a surprising match-up.
  • MCGAULEY GOAL!!!
  • Henke with a breakaway to end the second, and he draws a power play!
  • Much better.

Third Period

  • Ouch. De Jong just went rib-first into the post in the back of the net.
  • Please go play not in your own zone…
  • McGauley has looked strong tonight, even aside from the goal.
  • Alright, anyone wearing white, we could really use a goal.
  • There’s definitely still time…but that time is rapidly beginning to dwindle…
  • WALTERS!!!
  • He’s been having a good game, so it’s very nice to see him rewarded, and it’s even nicer to be within two!!
  • “Grizzlies allegedly onside.” Ha! (That certainly is the charitable way of putting it!)
  • Ottenbreit had a very good shift just there, or perhaps more accurately, another good shift.
  • Well, except for that disastrous four minutes in the first period, this has been –if nothing else — a respectable showing. Unfortunately…that four minute stretch…
  • Empty netter for FW.
  • You win some, you lose some.
  • Still, four of six points is not bad.
  • ECONOMOS!! That was a beautiful shot.
  • This is definitely a far more respectable finish than the early going suggested we might see.
  • Utah falls 6-4.

None of the Grizzlies earned a star, but Walters, Ottenbreit, and McGauley all had noticeably strong nights, and Richart was more or less his usual stalwart self on defense, as well as contributing the big Grizzlies’ opening goal. Cannata had a bad first period, but after that pulled himself together.

Obviously in an ideal world, the Grizzlies would have taken at least a point tonight, but overall, four points of a possible six, including two against the one of the very top teams in the league, in four days makes for a good road trip.

Utah returns home to face the Tulsa Oilers this week.

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard & 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 Idaho Steelheads Recap: The Henke Show

Still short-handed on the blue line, the Grizzlies met the Steelheads in Idaho in a battle for Mountain Division supremacy. Tim Branham went with the hot hand, giving Kevin Carr the start. Tim McGauley also returned to the lineup, and Ryan Misiak remained Utah’s fifth defenseman.

Both teams began well, but Idaho got the first three shots followed by the first goal just before the three-minute mark. A minute later Jake Marchment dropped the gloves with Kale Kessy after the latter hit Caleb Herbert, both getting five for fighting and two for removing their helmets.

Utah remained shot-less, but drew a power play 6:01. Taylor Richart got the only shot of the advantage, and Idaho returned to full strength.

J.T. Henke kept his streak alive tying the game 1-1 at 8:57 on a completely uncontested centering shot from Tim McGauley. Richart got the secondary assist. Kyle Schempp got a boarding penalty at 9:17, and Utah tied up the shot clock 4-4.

Henke struck again at 15:10 slinging the puck easily past Ryan Faragher from Gage Ausmus and Joey Raats.

After 20, the shots were 8-5 in the Grizzlies’ favor, and they led thanks to the two Henke goals.

Misiak took a tripping call at 4:10, but Utah killed it off comfortably and Misiak had a good look on the breakaway coming out of the box. Henke had a bid for the hat trick, but couldn’t beat Faragher, and Carr had to make some big saves as Idaho pressured in the back-half of the period.

Teigan Zahn took an interference call, but Marchment and Jack Walker made things interesting for the Steelheads. The Steelheads got some of their own back, but Carr battled and kept Utah ahead.

Richart extended the lead at 18:19, scoring his third of the season from Mike Economos and Jack Walker. The assist was Economos’ first point for Utah. Brad McClure took a high-sticking call in the dying seconds, and after 40, shots were 17-14 for Utah.

The Grizzlies once again weren’t able to capitalize on the advantage, but Zahn made it 4-1 from Ausmus and Herbert at 2:36. The goals kept coming in and Julien Nantel made it 5-1 at 5:21 from Richart and McGauley.

Utah kept sharp, despite the big lead, continuing to outshoot the Steelheads through the third period, ultimately ending the game outshooting Idaho 29-20 with the commanding win.

Richart (1G, 2A), Henke (2G, including GWG) and Ausmus (2A) were the three stars, though Carr undoubtedly deserved mention for his performance.

 

Without Joe Cannata, Utah once again started Kevin Carr, with Chris Komma as the EBUG.

The first period of Saturday’s game did not begin very well. Utah looked a little flat in the early going once again, but this time they allowed three goals including a power play number in the first ten minutes.

Teigan Zahn and Kale Kessy dropped the gloves at 10:34, and at 14:50, J.T. Henke once again opened the scoring. By the end of the period, shots were 12-10 for Idaho, but the second half of the first was definitely an improvement on the opening.

The second period got off to decent start, then absolute chaos broke out. Economos got boarded, and Zahn, Walters, and Walker all took exception. When the dust settled, Walker got two for roughing, Geoff Crisfield got a ten minute misconduct, Clint Lewis got a roughing penalty, and Tony Calderone got a five minute boarding major.

Fortunately, Economos seemed to be alright, returning to the ice and taking a hooking call at 6:23.

Economos got out of the box, and in less than 20 seconds, first Walters scored from Ully and Misiak, then Henke tied the game from Nantel and Richart.

Kessy took a roughing call, but Idaho scored short-handed, and then after some extreme penalty nonsense, Brad McClure scored on the power play. As Adrian Denny would have said, I don’t know about that…

After two, shots were 29-18 for Utah, but Idaho led 5-3.

Though Utah continued to hold the shot advantage, an offensive zone turn over led to a 6-3 goal in the first five minutes. Things continued to go decidedly Idaho’s way, as they collected one more goal, despite Utah outshooting the Steelheads 36-21. Mitch Moroz and Mike Economos got into a tussle with 1:11 to go, and the game came to a merciful end.

Obviously it wasn’t the second game anyone would have wanted, but J.T. Henke continues to be outstanding–especially considering he was picked up off waivers. He’s now up to eleven points in ten games with the Grizzlies. It was also good to see the power play showing signs of life, going 2/5.

Utah returns home for Christmas still on top of the Mountain Division, and will face the Allen Americans to end the year.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard.

 

 

Utah Grizzlies: Black Friday Winners

After Thanksgiving, the Eagles assigned forward Josh Dickinson to the Grizzlies, and he drew in with Tim McGauley and Matt Berry to start. A white-hot Joe Cannata got the start once again.

Josh Anderson took the game’s first penalty, a cross-checking call at 3:20, and the Grizzlies headed off to what would be the first of many special teams situations. The kill did decently, though at the tail end, Cannata had to make some big saves, including one that looked like it was absolutely going in. When Anderson returned to the ice, Allen had jumped to a 7-0 shot lead.

Berry rectified that, absolutely flying in, taking a pass from McGauley, and getting a very nice look on Jeremy Brodeur.

Allen looked far more organized than they did on Wednesday, and as a result, both teams had trouble setting up in the offensive zone, battling it out in the neutral zone as the period drew towards the half-way point. However, after giving up those initial seven shots, the Grizzlies did much better job getting in the way in their own end.

As is becoming gloriously regular, Caleb Herbert and Cole Ully raced into the offensive zone, passed the puck back and forth en-rout to the net, and Herbert buried and absolute beauty for his 15th goal of the year right around the eight minute mark.

J.T. Henke just missed getting his first as a Grizz, and Cannata made a big save on the other end. Ully set up Taylor Richart for the perfect point shot with just over two to go, but Utah was just unable to snatch possession of the ensuing rebound.

After 20, Utah led 1-0, and had cut down Allen’s shot lead to 13-10.

After a vigorous, but clean first period, the second got off to a cantankerous start. Cannata made a huge save, trapping a perilously loose puck with his legs, and Teigan Zahn and Jacob Doty dropped the gloves as a crowd gathered. At the one minute mark, Josh Thrower took a tripping penalty against Austin Carroll, and then took an unsportsmanlike penalty on top of that, so the Grizzlies headed to a four minute power play.

Utah wasn’t able to get anything going in the early stages, but at 4:46 Ully put the puck on Matt Berry’s stick, and it was off again and in the back of the net before Brodeur could do anything about it.

Spencer Asuchak took a slashing call during the play, so Utah headed right back to the advantage. They were unable to capitalize, but immediately after Allen returned to full strength, Joel Chouinard held up Herbert, leading to another Grizzlies power play.

No sooner had that penalty come to an end then Josh Atkinson took a call, and Austin Carroll made the Americans pay on the delayed penalty. Ully got his fourth assist of the game, while Marchment picked up his ninth point in ten games.

Atkinson finally made it to the box, and Richart made it 4-0 on an absolute bomb less than a minute later. Berry picked up the first assist, and Josh Dickinson got his first point on the secondary.

Less than a minute after Richart’s goal, David Makowski took a clipping call against Carroll in what was dangerously close to knee-on-knee hit. Fortunately, Carroll was back on the ice to start the advantage, but the Grizzlies couldn’t capitalize.

Ryan Walters took a hooking call at 16:01 and Ully nearly added a short-handed goal to his three assists before Utah killed off the rest of the penalty.

Richart and the defenders shut the period down after that, and headed into the locker room up 4-0, shots 24-22 in their favor.

The Grizzlies didn’t take their foot off the gas into the third period, as Herbert scored his second of the game on Ully’s fourth assist. Nolan De Jong got the second assist on Herbert’s 16th.

Zahn returned to the box for holding at 3:13, but Cannata made some big saves on one side, and Berry had a speedy look short-handed on the other.

Utah got their seventh power play of the night at 7:15 when Greg Chase took an unsportsmanlike penalty. Allen killed it off, and Utah killed off the following penalty to Carroll.

Cannata made more and more saves as the end of the game approached, but was there for every one, and the Grizzlies’ defense made sure that even more never even made it to him.

When the final buzzer sounded, Cannata had picked up his third straight shut-out, Grizzlies taking the game 5-0, and out-shooting Allen 39-35.

In three games, nothing has gotten past Cannata, except a sliding Kevin Davis early in the third period. His phenomenal performance earned him the first star of the game, while Ully, who can turn on a dime, stick handle in a phone box, and create space when there simply isn’t any, took second star with four assists. Herbert (he of the league leading 16 goals and 28 points) took third star with the game’s opening and closing goals.

After three straight shutouts from Cannata, everyone is struggling for new words to describe him. “He’s an outstanding goaltender.” Tim Branham said after the game. “I said it all last year, he doesn’t belong at this level. He’s an unbelievable goaltender, an unbelievable person. He’s heating up, so what can you say about him? He’s cool, calm, collected, makes everything look easy, and we’ve just gotta keep going.”

After being a little quiet lately, the power play exploded again, going a lethal 3/7. When asked about the team’s success on the man-advantage, Branham explained, “We’ve got two talented units. On one of the units you’ve got a guy who’s over a goal a game, on the other unit you’ve got a guy who’s got seven points in two games. Those guys are talented, and they want to do well, and they can make plays. They know how to put the puck in the net. We went a little cold there, teams are going to start keying in on it and coming up with schemes to kill it, and we were able to break through tonight.”

Cannata himself was pretty low-key about the whole thing.

“I feel good. I think I’m seeing the puck, a lot of times there’s not too many second chances, so I think guys are doing a good job, whether it’s boxing out or blocking that second shot. Just enjoying being out there helping the guys win, hopefully we can continue tomorrow.”

As Cannata noted, the Utah defense once again had a very strong showing, and Taylor Richart was named defenseman of the game.

Utah and Allen meet for the third and final time in this home stand today (Saturday) when the Grizzlies look to complete the sweep, and the Americans undoubtedly will be looking to even the score.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff