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: Finding a Way

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

First Period

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

Second Period

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

  • What a nice almost goal number two from McGauley.

Third Period

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

Utah Grizzlies vs. Wichita Thunder: A Wild, Wild Wednesday

It’s a new year, and I’m going to try something a little different. The Grizzlies always post a game recap on their website, so I’m going to take a leaf out of the Habs Eyes on the Prize book and do a modified version of what we call “Top Six Minutes”, which is very informal in style, and therefore much easier to produce while running around like a mad person during home games.

With the return of Travis Barron, Nolan De Jong, and Jake Marchment, as well as the signing of Stanislav Dzakhov, the Grizzlies played with the closest thing to a full roster that they’d had in weeks. Kevin Carr got the start behind ten forwards and five defensemen, and with Joe Cannata back in the AHL, Jay Stevens made an appearance as the EBUG.

First Period

  • Naturally, former Grizz Ralph Cuddemi gets the first shot of the game. Fortunately, Carr smothers it.
  • Wichita scores first. Not an ideal start, that’s for sure.
  • Really nice defensive move by J.T. Henke there to prevent a one-on-none.
  • Wichita has jumped out to a 5-0 lead in shots…
  • That was a really nifty spin-o-rama from Ryan Walters to hold onto puck possession, and look at that! A power play!
  • Some really quick whistles in a row here…
  • After a rough start, Utah seems to have settled down nicely. Carr with some good saves, and shots are now 5-4.
  • Jack Walker with those wheels.
  • Utah takes over the shot lead with just under five to go in the first!
  • That Sweet Carroll Line picks up right where they left off at the end of last year! Austin Carroll from Walker and De Jong to tie the game!
  • That was NOT a good hit on Dzakhov. He’s down on the ice, and Jakob Stukel gets a match penalty for an illegal check to the head.

Second Period

  • The good news is that Dzakhov is on the bench to start the period.
  • The bad news is that penalties to Marchment and Richart killed off the remainder of that lengthy power play pretty effectively.
  • Of course Cam Reid scores on the power play with an assist from Ralph Cuddemi.
  • Walker ties it up, tapping the puck past Stuart Skinner for his first! Carroll and Marchment get the assists.
  • Barron makes it 3-2 on the power play! Assists to Henke and De Jong.
  • Another power play for Utah, and less than a minute after Barron’s goal, Marchment makes it 4-2 with a sweet move. Carroll and Richart get the assists.
  • PHEW. That was a wild couple of minutes!!
  • Now if they’d stop the insanity for just a few minutes so I can catch my breath…
  • Side note, shots are now 24-10 for Utah!
  • Well, that was a FUN period.

Third Period

  • One of these days that big shot of Gage Ausmus’ is gonna find the back of the net.
  • TIM MCGAULEY GOES BAR DOWN!!
  • Goal number five spells the end of Skinner’s night. Edwin Minney is in net now.
  • Carroll getting up in a Wichita player’s face. Boy is he fun to have back in the lineup. He brings it all: goals, exciting skating, and all that snark!
  • Walters in on a breakaway short-handed gets tied up, but gets an offensive zone draw!
  • McGauley wanted another one, but Minney shuts him down.
  • MacMillan gives Dzakhov a couple of jabs, and when Dzakhov turns around to retaliate, he’s dinged with a penalty.
  • With just under three to go, Iacobellis gets a third, on yet another assist from Reid.
  • 1:30 to go, Wichita’s net is empty…
  • GRIZZLIES WIN 5-3!!! Final shot count 31-22 for Utah.
  • Aaaaand of course there’s nonsense after the buzzer!

The three stars of the game all went to members of the Carroll Line. Carroll himself got first star with a goal and two assists, Walker’s first goal and sixth assist of the year earned him second star (and his five shots led the team), and Marchment got third star, also with a goal and an assist.

“I thought the first ten minutes of that hockey game we were just losing battles, they were beating us to pucks, winning battles, and then as the first period went on I thought we got better” said Tim Branham. “We took control in the second with our power play, for sure, and then in the third I thought we played well too. But there’s still some things we need to clean up to make things a little easier on ourselves, but definitely proud of our effort tonight. We’re short-handed again, and found a way to win.”

When asked what Carroll brings to the lineup, and what his return means to the team Branham said, “American league experience, winning experience, he can make plays, a big part of the early success of our hockey club, it’s definitely nice to have him back for as long as we have him.”

The Grizzlies will face off against the Thunder once again on Friday and Saturday.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff.

Utah Grizzlies: A Clean Sweep

With three straight wins under his belt, Joe Cannata got a well-deserved night off, Kevin Carr in nets being the only change in lineup.

J.T. Henke, and Jeremy Brodeur both ended up in the back of the Allen net 27 seconds in, sending Henke to the box, and Allen to the power play. There was nearly a disaster as the Utah defense left an Allen player wide open with a clear look at a gaping net, but he whiffed on the shot, and Carr dove on the puck. Henke returned to the ice with no further incident, shots 2-2.

The Grizzlies spent far more time in their own zone early than was strictly comfortable, but Carr kept them at bay early. Utah did also get some nice forays into the offensive zone, including one from Tim McGauley that culminated in a shot that ruffled the outside of the netting,

Carr took a delay of game penalty at 6:16, and David Makowski scored Allen’s first of the series five seconds later.

The Americans continued to keep the Grizzlies in their own end following the goal, though Utah held the slight edge in shots.

At 10:38 Cole Ully put the puck straight through Brodeur to tie the game on his sixth of the year. Unsurprisingly, Caleb Herbert got the primary assist, while Turner Ottenbreit got the secondary.

After the Utah goal, the Grizzlies looked more collected, spending more time in the offensive zone than previously. At about 13:36 Taylor Richart got hit and went off just a little bit gingerly. Jake Marchment took exception to this, and dropped the gloves with Jacob Doty. Doty got the edge on the bout, though Marchment gave a good account of himself, and both were sent off to cool their heels.

Richart broke up a play at the offensive zone blue line, but took a tripping call in doing so with 4:30 to go in the period.

The Grizzlies killed that off, and towards the end of the period, things got a little bit snarly. Gage Ausmus got called for holding, and then as Allen crashed the Utah net, Carr was shoved over. That gathered quite a crowd, and Carr wasn’t afraid to take his own revenge. Spencer Asuchak got two for roughing, and the period came to an end, shots 13-10 for Utah, tied 1-1.

The second period began with 1:20 of four-on-four before a very brief Grizzlies’ power play.

Though both teams got shots, the Grizzlies held more zone time in the first five minutes or so, out shooting Allen 17-13.

At 7:38 Josh Dickinson slung the puck past Jeremy Brodeur for his first with the Grizzlies, from Tim McGauley and Henke, who also picked up his first point with the team.

The Grizzlies came on strong after that, and Asuchak hauled Cole Ully down to send Utah back to the power play.

Asuchak and Doty seemed intent on stirring up trouble on the ensuing shift, but the refs kept them in line, and they contented themselves with throwing some big hits. At 12:10 Asuchak took a very weak two minutes for supposed interference against Josh Anderson, and Utah went off to the advantage.

McGauley capitalized in the dying seconds of the power play, scoring his seventh from Henke and Berry.

Austin Carroll struck just about a minute later scoring his sixth of the season from Marchment and Ryan Walters, and Zach Pochiro got thrown out for ten minutes for throwing equipment.

Walters took a tripping call at 17:49, but the Grizzlies killed it off, and the period came to an end.

The Grizzlies came out looking like the better team in the third, and there were plays against Walters and Ully that probably could have been calls. Carr continued to hold down the fort, and the Grizzlies’ defense once again did well, at least for a while.

Braylon Shmyr got a slashing call, followed by a holding call on Berry in the first ten minutes. Makowski got his second of the game at 12:19, cutting the lead in half. Walters took a tripping call at 16:49, Allen pulled Brodeur for the extra, extra attacker, and on the ensuing power play, Alex Breton made it 4-3.

However, Caleb Herbert scored his seventeenth goal of the year into the empty net, dangling around both Allen defenders to put the game out of reach. So Utah won 5-4, though out shot 39-35.

“Total team effort, that’s for sure.” Tim Branham said after the game, “When guys are out of the lineup other guys step up and we’re pretty deep. And now secondary scoring, all around a team effort that’s for sure. It’s really tough to sweep a team three in a row, so it was a good effort to get it done.”

When asked about his first goal with the Grizzlies, Josh Dickinson said, “It’s really nice. Getting the sweep is important, getting the first one out of the way was a lot of fun. It was definitely good to get it out of the way.”

After a number of games dominated by the first line, this game saw some secondary scoring, which didn’t surprise Dickinson. “We’ve got three lines that can go out in every situation so I think we have the confidence with each other to go out and play our best game.”

“We haven’t let in a goal in a little bit,” he added, “But that’s how it goes, there’s some good players on other teams, so we’re gonna let in some goals, and we’re gonna have a couple of mistakes on our end, but we found a way to win, came out with the sweep, so that’s the most important part.”

After a highly successful home stand that saw them improve to 12-2-3-0, which ties them with Tulsa atop the Western conference, the Grizzlies will finish November on the road against Rapid City.

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard and staff

 

Utah Grizzlies: Fuel on the Fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Image courtesy of Action Sports Photography.