Utah Grizzlies vs Idaho Steelheads: Let it Snow

On a snowy Wednesday night after a lengthy road trip, the Grizzlies got a number of reinforcements from Colorado to bolster a very injury depleted roster. Forward Grayson Downing and defenseman Sergei Boikov made their Utah debuts, while Julien Nantel returned as well. Kevin Carr made the start against the Idaho Steelheads.

First Period

  • Downing looks like he’s gonna be fun to have around.
  • Nantel wastes no time at all getting back on the board! 1-0 Utah 2:09 in from Turner Ottenbreit and Josh Dickinson!
  • Getting two penalties together is not ideal. Good kill though.
  • The beginning of that power play started well. It did not end that way though.
  • Well, we get a redo!
  • Jake Marchment did not miss that tip in by much.
  • Teigan Zahn to the box with about six to go. Utah did a good job giving the Steelheads trouble getting out of the zone.
  • Idaho ties it up and Zahn and Keegan Kanzig drop the gloves.
  • Josh Anderson has had a couple of nice defensive moves this period.
  • Shots are 12-6 for Utah, but we’re tied 1-1.

Second Period

  • Power play Utah 17 seconds in.
  • Liking Boikov’s play. Very calm and polished.
  • Not a great power play so far. Not a lot of urgency, and Idaho has two shots to Utah’s one thus far.
  • Very nice move by Richart to take away the puck just above the blue paint.
  • Another pair of nice plays by Anderson. He’s looking very good.
  • Not wild about how much defensive zone time there has been in the first five minutes.
  • Yeesh, that was close.
  • The second half of this period has been much better for Utah.
  • THAT’S TWO FOR NANTEL!! Walters with the pass from the boards to give the Grizzlies a 2-1 lead on the power play! Dickinson gets the second assist!

  • Both 11s run afoul of each other. Looked like Richart might have gotten clipped in the face by Dahl’s skate.
  • Kanzig looks like he’s trying to take on Ottenbreit and Anderson at the same time there.
  • Good penalty kill there. Not even a shot allowed!

Third Period

  • HOW DID THAT GO IN?? Away, WHO CARES. GOAL ECONOMOS.
  • Walters did not miss that net by very much short-handed.
  • Back to the power play Utah goes.
  • Nantel’s hat trick bid didn’t miss by much.
  • Anderson and Moroz tangle.
  • Anderson with a big hit, Nantel with a nice rush up the ice, and the crowd appreciates both.
  • The Grizzlies have had a couple of really long delayed power plays this game.
  • WALTERS CAPITALIZES ON SOME BEAUTIFUL PASSING FROM HENKE AND NANTEL.
  • Grizzlies win 4-1!!

Anderson had a very good game defensively, and was named defenseman of the game, while Nantel (2G, 1A), Dickinson (2A), and Economos (1G) were the game’s three stars, though Ryan Walters (1G, 1A) could easily have be named one of the stars as well.

Additionally as mentioned, Downing and Boikov are both going to be great additions to the Grizzlies for however long they’re here. Downing is a very good two-way forward, and as mentioned, Boikov is polished and quite defensively sound. Carr went 19/20 for his 15th win of the year, and the Grizzlies are now tied with Idaho for first in the Mountain.

These two teams will face off two more times this weekend on Friday and Saturday in the continued battle for divisional supremacy.

Photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography.

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 @ 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 Tulsa Oilers: Dialed In

With Friday night’s game a step forward from Wednesday’s, the Grizzlies looked to build on that and get in the win column in front of a big Guns ‘N Hoses crowd. Joe Cannata looked to have a bounce back night in net, while Josh Anderson returned to the lineup, and Tim McGauley served his one game suspension.

First Period

  • Things looking pretty scramble-y early on.
  • This is a very nice looking power play. Clean passes, great movement, shots, everything you could want except a goal.
  • Ausmus takes a slashing call, but the Grizzlies kill it off nicely thanks to Cannata, some timely off-side calls, and overall good defense.
  • ZAHN WITH THE BOOM.
  • Richart and Cannata just gave everyone a heart-attack as they threw themselves through the blue paint to snatch the puck from the goal line.
  • Cannata is ON tonight.
  • The shots are not ideal, 13-5 for Tulsa, but otherwise, it’s been pretty good so far.
  • Turns out when you try to fight someone and they don’t oblige, you get a double minor for roughing.
  • That was a HUGE kill.
  • And the Grizzlies end the period on the power play!
  • Shots are 15-11 for Tulsa, but we’re still tied 0-0.

Second Period

  • Not allowing shots, but spending way too much time in the defensive zone…
  • MARCHMENT ON THE BREAKAWAY.
  • He was in so alone that he got to slow down and absolutely pick his spot for his tenth of the year. He’s been scoring some super pretty goals lately.
  • FRESCHI WITH THE PASS, WALKER WITH THE WHEELS AND THE FINISH!!
  • Marchment almost had a second goal there on the power play.
  • Richy gets run over (why is it always Richy?) and Austin Carroll takes exception. There’s a bit of a kerfuffle, and Utah gets a power play on the boarding call!
  • Freschi seems to have settled in nicely, and is making his presence felt this period!
  • Anderson also looking confident at the point.
  • Herbert with a penalty with one minute to go, and Cannata makes the save.
  • 2-0 GOOD GUYS AFTER 40!! Shots 24-20 for Tulsa.

Third Period

  • Austin Carroll. Causing confusion wherever he goes. In this particular instance, in the Tulsa end while killing a penalty.
  • The Grizzlies doing a very good job tying up ever Tulsa stick there.
  • Anderson there with a good move to keep the Oilers to the outside.
  • WALKER dropping the gloves??? Either way, here we are, and the 10,000+ crowd is LOVING it.
  • It would be very good if we could get a shot this period.
  • Stupid stanchion.
  • Both 21s get cranky in front of the Tulsa net and are sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • Richart had two very nice looks at the net on this four-on-four.
  • MIKE ECONOMOS PUTS UTAH UP 3-0! Ausmus and De Jong get the assists!
  • SO of course Herbert gets a double minor, and the Oilers score on it.
  • There’s an honest to goodness chili chant going on here!
  • Tulsa’s net is empty!
  • EMPTY NET GOAL. MARCHMENT AGAIN.
  • EVERYONE GETS CHILI.
  • GRIZZLIES WINNNNNNNN 4-1!!!

The three stars of the game went to Cannata (32/33 saves), Marchment (two goals), and Economos (one goal).

If Coach Branham was pleased with Friday’s effort, he was even more pleased with Saturday’s consistency. “If you look at these last two games, we didn’t play very well the previous three, so just cause we played well yesterday doesn’t mean that you deserve to get a win,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve got to battle through it and get some consistency before the hockey gods reward you. Tonight Joe Cannata was outstanding, our penalty kill did a good job, which a lot of it is Joe Cannata, we capitalized on our chances. I thought we played very similar to yesterday, and when you play consistent you deserve a better fate. Tonight was good, tonight was a great response. Obviously, the crowd was unreal, I know there was extra motivation there for the boys, it’s always good to get the win.”

Cannata’s play was a big part of the winning effort, and was night and day from his disastrous first period last game. “That’s what’s gonna happen,” Said Branham. “Look at playoffs last year. You’re going to go through adversity in your career and throughout the season. The professionals, like Joe, they respond. He’s been there before, he’s won a championship, so he knows what it takes. We’re not worried about him in the least, he wants to do well every night and wants to win for this team. He takes a lot of pride in it, and tonight he was outstanding.”

Economos picked up his third goal with the Grizzlies, and has seemed to flourish in the larger role he’s found himself in with the number of forwards out of the line up–certainly proving himself to be a better addition than many perhaps expected. “I would agree with that.” Branham said of the assessment. “From day one he’s been a fabulous addition. He belongs in this league, he belongs in every opportunity we give him that he gets, and that was a big goal, that was a big goal for him. He’s got a great attitude, protects his teammates, a great kid. He deserves this.”

In the past couple games, multiple surprising members of the Grizzlies have stepped up and dropped the gloves. Friday it was Tim McGauley, and Saturday it was Jack Walker “That’s a team effort. No one wants to fight Zahn right? So Walker and McGauley are next in line!” Brahnham joked. “That’s what it takes,” He added more seriously. “Our tough guys protect those guys, and those guys repay the favour by dropping the gloves so it’s not always our tough guys. Good on Walks. He’s a good kid.”

After the game, the jersey auction raised over $16,000 for charity, so all in all, it was a great way to end the week.

However, there’s no rest for the victorious, and Utah will take on Idaho on Monday at 1 PM.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Jess Fleming and staff.