Utah Grizzlies vs Idaho Steelheads: Heartbreaking

After the Grizzlies’ second 3-2 OT loss on Wednesday, the lineup saw some retooling. Jake Marchment sat this one out in the first of a two game suspension, while Jack Walker, Cole Ully, and Grayson Downing all drew back in in the place of the aforementioned Marchment, Gage Ausmus, and Michael Economos. Kevin Carr once again manned the net as Utah looked to even up the series.

First Period

  • Both teams get early power plays.
  • As nice as it would have been to have that goal, that was the right call to waive it off, I think.
  • NOW THAT’S WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT. Tim McGauley on the power play!
  • MUCH better possession from the Grizzlies than in pretty much all of the other playoff games up until this point. Idaho is still outshooting them, but not by much anymore.
  • Ully with a little of the old razzle dazzle there. Also, really good on Walker to stay onside.
  • The Ully, Joey Ratelle, Josh Dickinson line had a RIDICULOUS set of looks on that shift.
  • Grizzlies showing off both their skill and their grit. Everyone is setting up some seriously pretty looks, and throwing some big hits.
  • GREAT first period from the Grizzlies.

Second Period

  • Ew 36 seconds in and Idaho ties it up.
  • DOES NOT STAY TIED LONG. McGauley tips in a blast from Richart for his second of the game!
  • HAT TRICK FOR MCGAULEY AND IT’S NOT EVEN BEEN FIVE MINUTES!!!! The puck took a wild bounce off the boards, off Sholl’s back, and into the net!!! CARR GOT THE SECOND ASSIST.
  • And just about a minute later Downing gets in on the action o the power play!
  • Ah bah. Samuelsson makes it 4-2.
  • Ooh, Ratelle didn’t miss by a whole lot.
  • That’s the second goal that’s been waived off this game, this one for Idaho.
  • After that offensive outpouring from the Grizzlies, things have both settled down and gotten a little more scrappy.
  • Kale Kessy puts Ty Lewis into the boards and is officially public enemy number one in Utah. He gets five and a game. (He was later suspended for it.)
  • Downing to the box with 25 seconds to go…
  • Bah Idaho makes it 4-3.
  • WELL THEN. There’s NEVER a dull moment. Carroll roughs Petryk up on the face-off, and before that can get sorted out, Verpaelst and Kanzig drop the gloves. Carroll gets two for roughing, Petryk 2 for diving, and the combatants get five for fighting.
  • What a period.

Third Period

  • Ully with a pair of beauteous looks.
  • Lewis is back for the third, so that’s good.
  • 5’10” Ratelle drops the gloves with 6’3″ Mitch Moroz.
  • Boy, having McGauley back sure is fun. Having a line that includes McGauley AND Dickinson is even more fun.
  • Carr flashes the leather once more with 10:24 to go.
  • Well, if those speedy little circles Lewis is skating are any indication, his knees seem to be no worse for wear.
  • Barron gets high-sticked, and Richart makes a great defensive play. As he does.
  • Uhhg and Samuelson with that top corner snip to tie the game with less than five to go. That’s practically the identical goal he scored on Wednesday.
  • This game’s going to OT, isn’t it.
  • Some crazy combination of the post, Carr, and some quick moving defensemen kept that puck out of the net. I have no idea how.
  • BIG power play coming up with less than two minutes to go.
  • Aaaaand that’s OT once again. Shots 36-33 for Idaho.

OT

  • Downing had a gorgeous look, followed by a good one from Richart.
  • An uncomfortable amount of Idaho possession here in the last couple of minutes.
  • Walker shows off those wheels, but Sholl stops him.
  • The crowd’s been good all night, and it looks like most stuck around for OT.
  • Aaaaand that’s another soul crushing OT loss.

“It was great at the time for sure,” McGauley said of the hat trick which earned him second star, “We went up 3-1 I think it was, my third goal I was feeling good, the team was feeling good, we got a lot of momentum going our way, so at the time I felt really good, but obviously at the end of the day wasn’t the result we wanted. I would have liked to maybe get another one in over time, would have been nice, but we couldn’t pull it out tonight. The series is not over yet though.”

“If you want the honest to god truth, we played great, the referees allowed them to get back in the game, and then we didn’t play our game,” Tim Branham said, “We stopped doing the little things of winning battles, and keeping a good F3, and keep our foot on the gas and playing offensively. It is what it is, we’ve got to make sure we regroup and come out and play our game tomorrow.”

McGauley’s comments were similar. “Well, we started off really good in the game. Our first periods have been good, I feel like, the last two times I’ve been here, so we’ve gotta maintain that energy we had. Our second and third we just haven’t been keeping up to par with our first periods, and it’s been costing us lately.”

So what’s the message going into tomorrow?

“You gotta believe,” said Branham. “Have faith in every single guy that’s next to you, believe that we’re gonna get this done one game at a time. They beat us in overtime all three games, just like you said, it could easily be the other way. We’ve gotta look at the positives right now and just put our best foot forward.”

“We’re playing for our lives now so that urgency is gonna be there,” McGauley added, “If it’s not there obviously our season is done, so I’m sure that tomorrow you’re gonna see a different team, we’re gonna be 110% right from the get-go, we’re playing for our lives tomorrow, so we’re gonna need everyone.”

The Grizzlies will either go big or go home on Saturday night.

 

Goals

  • First Period: McGauley (Davis, Dickinson) (PP)
  • Second Period: McGauley (Richart, Herbert), McGauley (Verpaelst, Carr), Downing (Carroll, Ully) (PP)
  • Third Period: None
  • OT: None

UTA: 2/6 (20 PIM)
IDH: 0/2 (37 PIM)

 

Photo courtesy of Rob Church.


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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 @ Tulsa Oilers: March-ing Onward

In game two of the Tulsa series, and the battle for second place in the Mountain Division, the roster remained the same, as did the lines.

First Period

  • Eric Freschi getting manhandled in the corner, not sure it’s penalty worthy, but not sure it’s not penalty worthy…
  • Ick. Not sure about that defensive coverage there. 1-0 Tulsa.
  • Good response from Utah though. Strong shift in the offensive zone.
  • Taylor Richart with a nice move to strip the puck from an Oilers player and start a rush up ice.
  • Josh Dickinson draws a power play!
  • MCGAULEY GOAL!! Fitzpatrick bit on Caleb Herbert, and Tim McGauley made good on the cross-crease pass.
  • Teigan Zahn taking his sweeeeeeet time behind the Utah net, haha.
  • Another Utah power play, but it’s negated.
  • Jake Marchment and Ryan Walters counter-punching short-handed is always great to see.
  • Taylor Richart is free with no official shots allowed on the PK!
  • Mike Economos with the hustle.
  • They’ve flipped the script in shots tonight, sort of. After 20 shots are 20-7 for the Grizzlies, score 1-1.

Second Period

  • LOTS OF PENALTIES.
  • Or just one. That’s anticlimactic. On the other hand, we’ll take the power play.
  • Austin Carroll doing what he does best, creating chaos. A little too much chaos there though, and he’s off to the box.
  • Jack Walker to the room. That’s not a good sign. Hopefully he’s back for the third…
  • Carroll drops the gloves with Scott Moldenhauer!
  • Dickinson draws a double minor.
  • Herbert takes a roughing call after a kerfuffle around the Tulsa net.
  • Marchy doing what he does best, scoring on Tulsa. It was a very nice backhand.
  • Utah’s been pretty aggressive overall so far.

Third Period

  • Another power play drawn by Dickinson.
  • Richart falls over, and still makes the play.
  • You get a high-stick, you get a high-stick! EVERYBODY GETS A HIGH-STICK!
  • ECONOMOS WITH A BREAKAWAY. No goal, but he does draw another power play.
  • Oh geez. Short-handed goal for Tulsa ties it up.
  • And the Oilers are pressing.
  • I swear, every game Economos seems to have gotten a step or two faster.
  • ERIC GIVES US A FRESCHI LEAD.

  • (Sorry, so not sorry)
  • Oh god. Cannata…be ok…
  • At the very least, Cannata is hockey ok, so that’s good news.
  • Walters with the latest of a series of good shots he’s had this game.
  • RICHART SCORES.
  • Wait. No he doesn’t. And Zahn is down, and Zahn takes a penalty. WHAT EVEN IS HAPPENING.
  • And now Richart for delay of game.
  • Internal screaming.
  • Empty net for Tulsa…
  • More internal screaming.
  • Marchment with the face-off win, Ausmus with the clear…
  • EMPTY NETTER FOR JAKE.
  • GRIZZLIES WIN 4-2!!!

Freschi (the game winning goal and six shots) and Herbert (two assists, six shots) were named first and second stars of the game, though Marchment certainly could have been a star as well, what with his two goals (granted, one into an empty net), and several crucial late-game face-offs. Cannata also played well, making 25/27 saves. Utah now stands tied with the Oilers for second in the division, though they hold four games in hand on their rival. They trail Idaho by only one point, and have a game in hand on them as well.

Now the Grizzlies head to Wichita for the final two games of the road trip.

Photo courtesy of Josh Pinnau.

Utah Grizzlies @ Tulsa Oilers: Holding the Fort

With the returns of Kevin Davis and Joe Cannata, the blue line got a bit crowded, and possibly as a result, Nolan De Jong sat this one out.

First Period

  • Good start for Utah, equally good start for Evan Fitzpatrick, unfortunately.
  • Fortunately, Cannata is looking good too.
  • Breakaway for Herbert, Fitzpatrick makes the save. Again.
  • That was a very nice move by Carroll to keep the puck in the offensive zone.
  • Tim Mcgauley clearly has some beef against Tulsa! His second fight of the season comes against Alex Kromm! He had not yet begun to fight, but the refs break it up.
  • The play is quite physical already.
  • Tulsa has put their foot down, and has doubled up on shots in the back half of this period.
  • MARCHY ON THE POWER PLAY.
  • Good first period for Utah, despite getting outshot 12-5. Cannata definitely has had to be sharp.

Second Period

  • Good kill to open the period. McGauley, especially, was strong.
  • …Well…that’s not a great goal.
  • 15-5 are the shots for Tulsa, that’s not ideal either.
  • Between Walker’s wheels, and some saves by Cannata, we’ve got another good kill.
  • Shots are now 20-8 for Tulsa…They’ve been able to set up in Utah’s zone for long stretches throughout the game.
  • Cannata is still looking strong, which is probably why this game is still tied.
  • Taylor, the puck is supposed to go into the net, not you!
  • Another good penalty kill to end a period.

Third Period

  • Cannata turns aside a short-handed odd-man rush.
  • That’s the second power play Ottenbreit has drawn this game.
  • Josh Anderson scores his first pro goal to put the Grizzlies up 2-1!!
  • Marchment is a fight away from a Gordie Howe hat trick, and McGauley just needs a goal for one.
  • Everyone from both sides is falling over in the Utah end. Turns out ice is super slippery! XD
  • Oilers’ net is empty…
  • Oh Richart did NOT miss the empty net by much.
  • GRIZZLIES WIN 2-1!!!

Jake Marchment and Joe Cannata were named first and second star of the game. Utah looks to complete the visit with a sweep before heading to Wichita.

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

 

Utah Grizzlies vs Tulsa Oilers: A Better Effort

With Turner Ottenbreit and Caleb Herbert back in the lineup, the Grizzlies once again found themselves dressing a full complement of skaters. Joe Cannata got the start as the Grizzlies looked to avenge Wednesday’s outing. Though the score didn’t reflect it, it was a much better game.

First Period

  • Ausmus starts the game off with a sweet shot! We’re half-way to last game’s first period shot total! *insert copious laughing emoji faces*
  • Two shots and it hasn’t even been two minutes yet! Needless to say, the Grizzlies are already looking much more engaged early.
  • Five minutes gone and this has all the makings of a very good game.
  • You can tell there’s a lot of passion on both sides tonight.
  • OH boy. Dickinson did NOT miss the net by much there.
  • Walker and Dickinson have been SO CLOSE to connecting for a goal twice tonight.
  • I have a bad feeling about this penalty kill…
  • ….O mea culpa, mia maxima culpa.
  • The Grizzlies are hustling to some purpose tonight.
  • Ok, some nights you can chalk up a team trailing 2-0 to lack of effort. That isn’t the case tonight. It wasn’t an ideal bounce though, that’s for sure.
  • Now THAT goal was definitely not good. Carr in net now for the Grizzlies.
  • Oh geez. Herbert gets taken down and is very slow to get up. Just what we need.
  • Mike McKee gets five and a game for slew footing, and Herbert remains on the bench, though not on the power play.
  • Well. The effort was better. Shots 13-8 for Utah though they trail 3-0 after 20.

Second Period

  • This power play is not stellar.
  • I take that back. The beginning was not great, but they had some really crisp passing at the end there, followed up by a big block by Richart to keep the puck from heading into the Utah zone uncontested.
  • Dickinson has been superb so far, and draws a penalty! Really long delayed power play there.
  • The Grizzlies crash the net, and absolute chaos breaks out. Kromm and Carroll to the box with matching minors.
  • Herbert with a glorious look…that goes wide.
  • Grizzlies out-shooting Tulsa 19-10.
  • Haha pretty sure that should have been two each for holding on Walker and that Tulsa player.
  • Speaking of Walker though, it cannot be stated enough how good Walker and Dickinson have looked tonight.
  • Things are starting to get just a little bit nasty…
  • Herbert might not be quite at Ully levels of turning on a dime, but he sure isn’t far off.
  • Oh bah. Tulsa makes it 4-0 just after both teams return to full strength.
  • This game just goes from bad to worse. 5-0 with less than a minute to go in the second. Where did the defense go??
  • This game started out so well, then went down hill, and hasn’t quite found its way back yet.

Third Period

  • Shouldn’t…that have been slashing?
  • Zahn with some snarl in his game to start the period!
  • Carr gets run into and still manages to put the puck out of danger.
  • Herbert to the box, Tulsa scores.
  • Please everyone slow down.
  • EXCEPT YOU, TIM MCGAULEY. 6-1.
  • AND MARCHMENT MAKES IT 6-2.
  • Some how McGauley gets a fight and a game misconduct for being…the aggressor?
  • Tulsa gets a power play for that kerfuffle, and makes it 7-2. Because that’s how tonight is going.
  • BIG hit from Ausmus.
  • Carroll gets thrown out for…reasons. This is fine. Everything is fine.
  • But Tulsa immediately negates the power play with a high-sticking penalty.
  • Richart is arguing Zahn’s case, but no dice. Zahn gets a game as well. Because that’s really just how tonight is going.
  • OTTENBREIT WITH THE SHORTY. 7-3 from Dickinson who has two well deserved points on the night.
  • Well, the score wasn’t great, but there was definitely a great deal more energy, and getting back to the good things in their game tonight than in the past couple of games (puck support, making better plays, etc, etc). So that at least is encouraging. Even if the score…uh. Isn’t.
  • 7-3 Tulsa, shots 39-27 for Utah.

As mentioned, Walker and Dickinson were both very exciting to watch tonight, and as always, it was great to get Herbert back in the lineup, and to have a full complement of defensemen.

“I think we came out hard in the first period than we have in the last handful of games or so, it didn’t show in the score, but I think that was one of the best games that we lost this year, so to speak.” Said Jake Marchment, who scored the Grizzlies’ second power play goal on a very nice backhander. “We worked hard, bounces weren’t there. But we had a five minute power play when it was three-nothing, and we didn’t score, we had a couple more, it could have been a lot closer. If we bring that effort tomorrow and just bear down a little more, we’ll be successful.”

Head Coach Tim Branham also looked on the bright side. “First off, I want to give [Tulsa] credit. They’re a good hockey club. They work hard, they play as a team, they do a good job. Rob does a good job over there. Second thing is you’re exactly right, we came out, we took it to them, we outplayed them, out shot them, out chanced them, they get a power play and we didn’t sacrifice a couple things, and maybe a couple lucky bounces, it ends up in the back of your net and we end up behind the eight ball. I was actually really proud of the way the guys played tonight. Certainly five-on-five, I thought we did ok even penalty kill, but a couple of bad bounces here and there. Power play, it was good we got a couple there at the end, hopefully that’ll kick start us. But definitely, I thought we played a pretty good hockey game. Whether we deserved a different fate, I don’t know. It wasn’t a 7-3 game, we were definitely much better than that.”

As for the games ahead? “You’ve gotta put these two games behind you tomorrow and come out and play, have that start that we had today, and then from there we’ll take it shift by shift, and period by period, and see what happens. I like our odds. It’s a great group of guys, we’ve had a good season so far. We’re in a little bit of a slump, it’s still a good team, and I know we’ll be alright.”

The Grizzlies get one more crack at Tulsa in this series on Saturday, which is also Guns ‘N Hoses night.

 

Photo courtesy of Jess Fleming and staff.