Utah Grizzlies @ Kansas City Mavericks: Keeping Things Close

On the front edge of a marathon road trip (six games in three cities in eight days), the Grizzlies looked to repeat last night’s strong game. Kevin Carr once again got the start, while Mike Economos drew in, and Kevin Davis was absent due to his recall to Colorado.

First Period

  • Mavs appear to have a little bit more intensity to their start tonight, which is to be expected, considering their excellent home record, and the game last night.
  • It’s also a much more physical game from the get go.
  • That looked like a guaranteed goal into an empty net. And then suddenly Kevin Carr.
  • Mason McDonald, not to be out done, stops Josh Dickinson all alone on the breakaway.
  • Consecutive penalties to both #7s. Hopefully KC’s power play is as quiet as ours was.
  • Welp, so much for that. Kansas City strikes first.
  • Present captain ran over former captain, and now we’ve got a fight!
  • Even better than that, we’ve got a power play.
  • Taylor Richart scores the best way he knows how, with a rocket!
  • A pretty even first period comes to an end, 12-8 are the shots for the Mavericks, game tied 1-1.

Second Period

  • Caleb Herbert wastes absolutely no time giving Utah the lead! He’s definitely hit his stride again.
  • Aaaand KC comes right back to make it 2-2 two minutes into the second. That’s a lot of twos.
  • That was a nice shot from Anderson!
  • Jack Walker with the battle to keep the puck in the offensive zone.
  • Carr with the save as KC steams in short-handed.
  • Not sure how Walker held onto that for as long as he did! That was quite impressive.
  • Some serious run and gun hockey here, both teams getting looks, the crossbar and Carr keeping an odd-man rush from turning into a KC lead.
  • Turner Ottenbreit takes a puck to the face, and KC scores in the aftermath. Hopefully he’s back for the third…
  • J.T. HENKE TIES IT AGAIN.
  • 3-3 after two, shots now 22-20 for Utah!

Third Period

  • Oh good. Turner’s back.
  • That was a nice, long opening offensive zone shift.
  • Jake Marchment making friends with the Kansas City bench, lol.
  • That was some seriously scrambly defense, but it did get the job done. Barely.
  • That was not ideal. 4-3 for KC, Carroll back to the box for his second slashing penalty this period.
  • And now we’re four-on-three. Oh dear.
  • Everyone out of the box with no change in score.
  • Empty net for the Grizzlies.
  • No empty netter, but no last minute goal for Utah either.
  • It was a very close game though.
  • 4-3 for KC, shots 27-24 for Utah.

The game was a good one, closely contested throughout in front of a sell-out crowd on the Mavs’ Military Appreciation night. Henke’s goal and assist earned him second star honors and he now has 25 points in 25 games, including points in four straight. Eric Freschi picked up two assists, and Herbert now has four goals in three games, and is only one point out of first place in the scoring race, despite eight fewer games.

The Grizzlies continue on their road trip, heading to Tulsa, where they will play two games against the Oilers on Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

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.