Utah Grizzlies vs Kansas City: The Moose is Loose

With Caleb Herbert, Tim McGauley, Travis Barron, Julien Nantel, and Kevin Davis all up in the AHL, and J.T. Henke, Nolan De Jong, Cole Ully, Jack Walker, Austin Carroll and R.T. Rice all out with various injuries, Will Smith and Joseph Mizzi made their Grizzlies debuts, Joey Raats dressed as a forward, and Josh Anderson also returned to the lineup from Colorado. Joe Cannata got the start against Cliff Watson, C.J. Eick, and the Kansas City Mavericks.

First Period

  • That was a ROUGH first shift.
  • Neither team is looking particularly crisp at the moment.
  • What a sprawling poke-check from Cannata to negate any chance on the one-on-none.
  • Mike Economos gets leveled, and Turner Ottenbreit drops the gloves with Neal Goff as a result! Both get five, Goff gets the extra two for the initial interference call.
  • Half-way through the first, shots are still 4-3 for KC. Neither team has recorded n official shot in quite a while.
  • Birthday boy Taylor Richart playing soccer with the puck to some effect over there!
  • One thing the Grizzlies are doing quite well is make it difficult for KC to make passes/shots, whether it’s through tying up sticks or getting in shot lanes.
  • Cannata seems to be seeing the puck really well.
  • Oooh, new guy Mizzi with a really nice move, followed by a nicer shot! Unfortunately, Mason McDonald flashes the leather.
  • Teigan Zahn with a gorgeous defensive move there.
  • That’s the second good chance that Mizzi’s been a part of.
  • Taylor Richart doing Taylor Richart things. (Aka, blocking all of the shots.)
  • Suddenly, shots are 10-5 for Utah!
  • Kansas City is gonna score on this power play with two seconds left.
  • Kansas City scores on the power play with four seconds left. I HATE being right.
  • I honestly thought Cannata had that one.
  • Utah trails 1-0 after 20, despite out-shooting KC 10-6

Second Period

  • That’s the second penalty Economos has drawn against Goff!
  • I know it’s really bad form to yell for someone to shoot, but several of you should have shot that puck…
  • Mizzi continues to impress through the second period.
  • Utah is getting a lot more chances as the period approaches the half-way point.
  • Turner Ottenbreit slides the puck past McDonald! Josh Dickinson gets the assist, and just like that, we’re all tied up!
  • The period is already half gone, and the Grizzlies have only allowed one shot!
  • Economos with the WHEELS???? Seriously. He’s gotten so speedy lately.
  • Taylor My-middle-name-is-blocked-shot Richart.
  • Ah. That’s not ideal. 2-1 for KC on their third shot of the period…
  • Sometime or other, Grayson Downing is gonna score. He’s just too good not to.
  • Why is it ALWAYS Richy? And on his birthday too. That’s just rude.
  • Snipe and celly! I SAID it was only a matter of time!!!! Downing ties it up, Richart and Dickinson with the assists!

 

 

 

  • Well. The shot situation is great, the goal situation is great, two goals on eleven shots is not great.

Third Period

  • Playing on the other end of the ice would be really great right about now.
  • On the other hand, KC’s wired a couple of shots on Cannata, and he’s been rock solid this period.
  • Great shift from the Grizzlies there. Economos almost had one from the doorstep.
  • As the game has progressed, both teams have definitely settled down and cleaned up the passing issues from earlier.
  • Ottenbreit has looked quite good this game, even without his goal.
  • Cannata with a good save.
  • KC up 3-2. Sorry Joe. I jinxed you.
  • WALLY ON THE POWER PLAY. TIE GAME.
  • …HOW did Dickinson settle that puck down and not lose possession?
  • Downing with a beautiful move to elude a defender and get a shot off. Unfortunately, McDonald is a pretty good goalie.
  • That Cannata save could prove to be very, very important with three minutes left in this tie game…
  • 1:22 to go…
  • Another big Cannata save with 55 seconds to go…
  • Oh boy, Utah did not miss taking the game in the last twenty seconds by much there.
  • Welp. One point down. Let’s get that second one.

OT

  • With the second point on the line, Cannata is making some very important saves.
  • OT power play, thanks to Cliff Watson!
  • Richart with a HUGE shot that looks like it might have stung Marchment.
  • Oh Josh nearly had one.
  • THE MOOSE. IS. LOOSE.
  • Kansas City is NOT pleased.
  • (I can’t believe that counted, but I sure as H-e-double-hockey-sticks don’t mind being on this side of a call like that for a change!)
  • GRIZZLIES WIN 4-3 IN OT. 

 

 

Ausmus’ OT game winner earned him first star of the night, while Dickinson’s two assist night was good for second star, and Downing’s goal, assist, and seven shots saw him take third star honors. In the end, Cannata saved 22/25 for his 14th win of the year. Turner Ottenbreit also had a very strong game, as did Mizzi, who together with Walters and Dickinson, had five shots in his debut. Walters now has seven goals in his last six games and, with all the call-ups and injuries, is once again the Grizzlies’ leading scorer.

One of the most impressive things about the Grizzlies in this stretch that started at the end of January is the consistency with which they’ve managed to keep the wins and goals coming, despite the injuries, call-ups, and new players they’ve had to bring in.

“It feels good coming to the rink for practice, game days, there’s just a good mood in there, and everyone feels good.” Ausmus said about what’s been allowing the Grizzlies to be so consistent, despite the constant turnover of personnel. “Obviously you’re gonna play better hockey when you have that mindset and it’s fun to come to the rink. That’s the biggest part about this group is that we all have a good time, we all get along, and we have fun when we come to the rink.”

Downing’s thoughts on the subject were very similar to Ausmus’. “We definitely are short-handed” he said, “But the guys who are playing are doing a good job. Doesn’t matter who’s in or who’s out, I think everyone has to fill a role, and tonight we kind of showed that. A lot of adversity coming through in overtime, I think Moosie’s goal was huge, don’t really know what happened in front of the net there, but a goal’s a goal and like I said, winning is fun.”

Downing himself is one of the new additions in the merry-go-round that has been the Grizzlies roster, but he’s by no means the newest. Mizzi and Smith both played in their first games with the team, and Tim Branham was pleased with their outing.

“We had seven forwards all week at practice, so it’s not like you can get a whole lot accomplished in practice, you’re just trying to keep your wind up and stay confident.” Branham said. “Mizzi is a young kid who was recommended by his agent, Pat Curcio, he’s a 20-year-old kid playing tier two junior hockey, this is a big jump for him. He had five shots through the second period, could have had three goals. Really good job by him. Smitty, he came from Adirondack, started in the SPHL, played in the Quebec Major Junior League, another young kid, but he’s got experience in this league. I thought he did a really good job tonight.”

Overall, Branham was pleased with how the team came together.

“I thought that was a really good game by the team, a complete team effort. We’re playing pretty short-handed. Good help getting Cannata down, that’s for sure, and Anderson, but at the end of the day, no matter who’s in our lineup, we pull through and find a way to have success. I thought that third period they kind of took it to us, but other than that, the majority of the game, I think we did pretty good. Hopefully we can clean up a few things for tomorrow, and find another two points.”

He reserved his greatest praise for Downing, however, and deservedly so.

“He’s been tremendous. Definitely one of the smartest players I’ve ever coached. He’s got all the tools, that’s for sure, and it was only a matter of time before those flood gates opened. He’s been doing a lot, he’s been creating a lot, playing a lot of hockey. He’s never played with three lines before in his life, since like…mites. College hockey you have four lines, in the American League you have four lines, so this is a lot of hockey for him, and I think he’s adjusting really well — which he should, he’s a top notch player — and we’re definitely lucky to have him.”

“I think [Dickinson] made a great play on the boards and kinda found me.” Downing said of his goal. “It’s one of those things this year that I haven’t been shooting enough, so I kinda decided just to close my eyes and put it on net. Luckily it was a pretty good shot, and it’s always nice getting that first one out of the way. I felt like they all could have went in tonight. I think their goalie played well. Any time you can win, it’s huge, and it’s more fun. We’ve got a great group of guys since I’ve been down here, I don’t know what’s in the water, but winning is a lot of fun, so it’s nice to be in that atmosphere.”

Utah looks to keep the wins coming as they continue to host Kansas City tonight (Saturday) and Monday, especially since there’s bound to be a great crowd for Grizzlies Fight Cancer night.

 

 

Goals

  • First Period: None
  • Second Period: Ottenbreit (Dickinson), Downing (Richart, Dickinson)
  • Third Period: Walters (Marchment, Downing) PP
  • OT: Ausmus (Economos, Zahn)

 

Photo courtesy of Josh Pinnau.


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Utah Grizzlies vs Idaho Steelheads: Fending Off the Steel

On a much less snowy night, the Grizzlies looked to give a repeat of Wednesday’s performance. With Sergei Boikov recalled to Colorado, Joey Raats drew back in, while Kevin Carr once again got the start.

First Period

  • Josh Dickinson and Kyle Schempp getting into it early along the boards.
  • Shots are 1-1 after the first four minutes, but it’d definitely be good if the play spent more time in the offensive zone…
  • Anderson and Moroz drop the gloves, and Moroz gets an extra two for instigating!
  • That was a silky, silky move by Herbert. And THAT was a very nice look by Henke.
  • Caleb Herbert is SO much fun to watch.
  • Marchment and his face-off wins. So reliable.
  • The Nantel-Downing-Herbert line has been so close to finding the back of the net so many times this period. Starting to get the feeling that it’s only a matter of time before they capitalize.
  • Idaho strikes iron on the power play, and there is a collective gasp from the crowd. But we’re back at full strength!
  • I don’t entirely understand how that Zahn shot didn’t go in.
  • THAT ONE’S IN FOR SURE. J.T. Henke makes it 1-0 on a rebound from Gage Ausmus and Dickinson!!

  • The back half of this period has been much better than the front. Everyone looks more engaged.

Second Period

  • Puck support and active sticks. Gotta love it.
  • So naturally, Idaho sores.
  • Carr’s had to make some extra athletic moves in the past couple minutes!
  • Some nifty mitts from Grayson Downing, and Herbert didn’t miss the net by much to finish it off.
  • Sholl with a CRAZY scramble there, and somehow no one beat him on the power play.
  • Herbert splits the D, but rings it off the cross-bar. He does draw a power play though!
  • THAT’S TWO FOR J.T.!!! Ottenbreit and Walters with the assists!
  • Walters with the stealth attack there.
  • 1:32 of 4-on-4 coming up now.
  • Dear Idaho, please stop flying into the Grizzlies’ net. You’re making making us all very nervous on Carr’s behalf.
  • OH GEEZ TAYLOR. Richart plays the role of Superman, saving the day by diving behind Carr and batting the puck out of danger!!!
  • OTTENBREIT.
  • 3-1 Utah after 40!!!
  • Even more impressive, they only allowed four shots!

Third Period

  • Richart is having himself a NIGHT. Big defensive move there to tie up the Idaho player in front of Carr.
  • Seriously, one of these days the incredibly close calls the first line is having will end up in the back of the net. That latest look by Nantel was crazy.
  • Matching minors now…Idaho is pressing…
  • Nantel absolutely flies in, but still can’t beat Sholl.
  • Carr’s stick work has been so strong this game.
  • Nantel with an amazing look short-handed. He’s got the trifecta of beautiful looks this game. Or, if you will, the hat trick of frustration.
  • Oh great. 5-on-3 for 33 seconds…
  • Idaho draws within one on the power play.
  • Well, they certainly had the right idea on that shift. Some really good passing to keep Idaho moving.
  • Four minutes is too much time with a one goal lead, and the notoriously good-in-the-third-period Steelheads…
  • Two minutes…
  • HERBERT INTO THE EMPTY NET.
  • We get chili, we get chili!!
  • Matching penalties…
  • …and a goal for Idaho…
  • GRIZZLIES HOLD ON FOR THE 4-3 WIN. 

Henke (2 goals), Ottenbreit (1 goal, 1 assist), and Ausmus (1 assist) were named the three stars of the game.

“It’s nothing fancy, just getting shots on net and getting lucky” said Henke about his penchant for finding the score board twice.”

He waxed far more eloquent about the team’s overall effort.

“We played great, holding a team like that to only 23 shots is pretty good, Carrsy stood on his head. They only had 23 shots, but they were all hard, Grade A shots, especially there at the end, and he came through huge.”

He wasn’t the only one to praise Carr’s play. When asked about his diving save in the second period, Taylor Richart was also quick to refer to the play which has helped the Grizzlies to points or wins in all three of his last stars.

“I was kind of boxing a guy out,” said Richart, “And I saw the shot come, and at the last second I saw it trickling through, so I knew I had to do something, cause I don’t think Carrsy saw it. But either way, I though he played really well. He’s been playing really well lately. All in all, I think it was a good defensive team effort.”

Head Coach Tim Branham was also pleased with the team’s efforts against a tough opponent.

“Our game plan is just keeping it simple. We’ve got so much talent and skill that we don’t need to cheat to make plays. When you keep things simple and you get pucks in, it keeps them back on their feet. It forces them to come 200 feet and we end up getting turnovers and scoring goals from it. We’ve just got to stick to that game plan. They’re able to score a couple of goals, five-on-three and whatnot, so really proud of how the boys battled through that adversity.”

He also praised the first line, who came agonizingly close to quite a number of goals throughout the game.

“Downing, Herbert, and Nantel, they’ve got everything. They have experience, they’ve got skill, they’ve got goal scoring, they should be dominating every single shift. I thought they were really close to scoring four goals themselves. I thought they had a really good game.”

“It’s been great.” He concluded, summing up the games against Idaho so far, “We got the four points. Tomorrow will be the biggest game of the series. We need to enjoy this one, rest up, and be ready to battle. It’s going to take everybody.”

That would be putting it lightly, as Idaho hasn’t lost two games in a row since November, and will no doubt be looking for some payback in today’s final game of the week.

Goals

  • Henke (Ausmus, Dickinson)
  • Henke (Ottenbreit, Walters) PP
  • Ottenbreit
  • Herbert (Zahn) EN

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography

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.

Utah Grizzlies Game Recap: Lackluster

Coming off a 6-5 shoot out loss with Joe Cannata in net, and a 5-4 SO win with Kevin Carr in net, the Grizzlies looked to close out the Rapid City road trip with a winning record. With Kevin Davis and Josh Anderson both called up to the Eagles Utah played short-handed with just five defensemen, but J.T. Henke drew in, so the Grizzlies also dressed ten forwards for the first time in quite a while.

The game got off to a pretty good start, Utah picking up six shots to the Rush’s three in the first ten minutes or so. At 9:59, Michael Turner took a tripping call, and Utah headed off to the power play. Josh Dickinson got the only official shot on the advantage, and Cannata made a big save on Turner who came flying down the ice fresh out of the box.

Despite the shot advantage, it was the Rush who struck first, Riley Weslowski making it rain stuffed animals, as it was teddy bear toss night, as well as Guns ‘n Hoses night in Rapid City.

Cannata looked a little shaky at times through the first, but the Grizzlies continued to out-shoot the Rush, even after Turner Ottenbreit headed to the box at 14:18, then again at 17:27. Twenty seconds later, Teigan Zahn laid a big hit, Weslowski took exception, and the two dropped the gloves. With Zahn sent to the locker room and Ottenbreit in the box, the Grizzlies played with three defensemen for all but the last thirty seconds or so of the frame.

After the first, Rapid City led 1-0, out-shooting the Grizzlies 11-10.

Turner took a hooking call on Nolan De Jong at 1:05, sending Utah to an early, and ultimately futile power play. After Zahn, Weselowski, and Turner all left the box, De Jong took a slashing call, and Saquille Merasty scored on the ensuing power play.

Rapid City iced the puck twice in a row at about the seven minute mark, and Utah pressured, cycling well though picking up no shots.

Just around the half-way point, first Jake Marchment and then Matt Berry got nice looks, but Adam Carlson remained strong. The foot-speed of Cole Ully drew a slashing call at 11:34. It was, probably, their best up until that point, but once again they came up empty.

Utah drew a power play, though probably one they would have preferred to go without, as Ottenbreit went down very hard behind the Utah net and had to be helped off the ice at 15:19.

The Grizzlies looked pretty good following the power play, cycling the puck and getting a couple of looks, eventually leading to a hooking call against Weselowski. Unfortunately, Ully took a high-sticking call with forty seconds to go.

After a period that didn’t go particularly well, Utah continued to trail 2-0, shots 20-18 for the Rush.

Matt Berry came flying out of the gate off the opening face-off, and Ottenbreit returned to the ice a few shifts in. Ottenbreit took another penalty, tripping this time, at 4:25. Utah killed it off.

By the time there was only seven minutes left, Utah had tied up the shots 25-25, but still remained unable to put one past Carlson.

Ully drew another power play with just about five to go. They rang iron on the advantage but came up empty once again. The Grizzlies pulled Cannata for the extra attacker right as the power play came to an end, and the Rush scored into the empty net.

Garrett Klotz tried to goad Ottenbreit into a fight for reasons unknown with just under two minutes left, and shortly thereafter, chaos descended. Weirdly, since they were up 3-0, the Rush got a little nasty at the end of what had been largely a reasonable game. A scrum ensued with less than 20 seconds left, that resulted in Quintin Lisoway getting a roughing call, while Austin Carroll was sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct.

At the final buzzer, the Rush had done an unfortunately perfect job of shutting down the most potent offense in the league for the 3-0 victory, handing the Grizzlies their first regulation loss against a Mountain Division opponent all year.

While it obviously wasn’t Utah’s best night, it certainly wasn’t their worst either. They team returns home with three of six possible points and a 13-3-3-1 record before they head back on the road to play Idaho next weekend.

Photo courtesy of Tim Broussard, Jess Fleming 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.