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Game Day Blog Archive

November 28: Game Day

11/28/2009 10:25 AM - Adrian Denny
There wasn’t a whole lot of time to “mourn” the Grizzlies 5-2 loss last night before Head Coach Kevin Colley joined Grizzlies Radio to break the news that captain and the team’s all-time leading scorer Ryan Kinasewich was returning from the AHL.

Ryan played in five scoreless games for the Bulldogs before being returned to Utah. So another trip to the AHL which did not pan out and honestly I’ve seen Ryan play enough the last five years that I’m blaming the AHL teams he’s been with for not giving him the opportunity and understanding how to use his talent at that level. There’s not that big of a difference and if you can’t take a player like Ryan and translate it into points and wins then shame on you. That being said, it’s great for the Grizzlies and I know he will be happy to see the faces of the players and staff in that tight-knit locker room and get back to work. Two weeks ago tonight, #9 had three goals and two assists in the Grizzlies 8-3 win over Las Vegas to become the team’s all-time leading scorer.

Without Kinasewich, Utah went 4-1 as Head Coach Kevin Colley quickly reloaded, but you can bet that every ECHL PR Director who saw the press release late last night in their inbox about Kinasewich’s return had something sink in their stomach with the comeback of the league’s most dominating player since 2005.

Despite not playing in a game for two weeks, Kinasewich still leads the league in goals (12) and game-winning goals (5).

He now currently sits at third in the league in scoring with 27 points behind (30, Tyler Donati Elmira; 28, Justin Donati Elmira), tied for third in power-play goals with 5, (6, Matt Pierce Cincinnati and Judd Blackwater Stockton), third in shots with 75 (92, Dan Sexton Bakersfield, 80, Evan Barlow Idaho).

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

November 27: Game Day

11/27/2009 9:02 AM - Adrian Denny
With the loss of Utah’s top two scorers in Ryan Kinasewich and James Sixsmith to the AHL, the Grizzlies have seen AJ Perry and Dylan Hunter take over in dominant fashion.

Since the departure of Kinasewich and Sixsmith, the Grizzlies have gone 4-0 and Perry (seven assists) and Hunter (one goal, five assists.) are fourth and fifth in the league in scoring during that stretch. They have each been involved in seven of the Grizzlies last 14 goals during the current period.

Even before Utah lost Kinasewich and Sixsmith, Perry and Hunter were definitely carrying their weight, it has just been more obvious since last Friday. Hunter, who has 183 games of AHL experience, enters tonight with eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points in 16 games, while Perry has 17 points in 16 games on the year and carries a six-game scoring streak into tonight with four goals and eight assists. A point tonight by Perry overtakes Kinasewich (6 games; 10/24-11/7) for the longest scoring streak this year.

Perry and Hunter both have multiple-points in three of the four games in the post Kinasewich, Sixsmith era and will each tie Kinasewich for the team lead with their next multiple-point games where the tally will stand at eight.

The Grizzlies number-one ranked ECHL power-play can also thank Perry and Hunter for their efforts. Perry has had a hand in five-straight Utah power-play goals, while Hunter has been involved in four of the last five. Three of Perry’s six goals this year have come on the power-play, while Hunter has tallied five of his eight on the one-man advantage.

These two were familiar with each other long before arriving in Utah as they played two years of hockey together for the Ontario Hockley League’s London Knights, including 2005-2006 when the Knights won the prestigious Memorial Cup.

Tom May joined the two Friday and currently has three goals, including two game-winners in the last four games, while totaling 30 shots in his last five games after Wednesday’s career-high of nine.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.

GO GRIZZLIES!!

November 25: Game Day

11/25/2009 9:11 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies welcome in the Alaska Aces this week for the first meetings since last year’s playoffs.

The contests with Alaska mark the first opponent other than Idaho that the Grizzlies will meet in the West Division so far this year. The Grizzlies at 4-0, play the fifth game of a ten-game home stand tonight, outscoring Las Vegas 20-6 in the first four games, while Alaska plays game four of an eight-game road trip, that saw them drop the first three games in Bakersfield being outscored 17-6 last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The road trip for the Aces pits them against the top three teams in the conference so far, in the Condors, Grizzlies and next week in Idaho for a team that has dropped to 3-6 on the road.

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies look to continue their best home stretch since a pair of six-game winning streaks in 2005-2006 after last year’s best home winning streak was two games while they won three-straight games in 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 during their best home runs.

Mitch O’Keefe, who was named goaltender of the week yesterday, was the first Grizzlies goaltender recognized by the league since February of 2006 when Alfie Michaud was named Goaltender of the Month and Goaltender of the Week for a second time during the season February 13-19. Michaud went 8-0-2 in February of 2006 with a 1.76 goals-against-average, three shutouts, and a .964 save percentage. O’Keefe’s November numbers are similar with a 7-0 record, a 1.76 goals-against-average, two shutouts and a .929 save percentage.

So the Grizzlies definitely look to get some goaltender payback against Alaska, a team that shutout the Grizzlies five times in 14 games last year under rookie hotshot J.P. Lamoureux who is currently 5-4 with the AHL’s Portland Pirates.

Utah has had better success though over the years against Alaska at home going 9-8 at the E-Center, but 3-15-1 during the regular season in Alaska.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.

GO GRIZZLIES!!

November 22: Game Day

11/22/2009 9:12 AM - Adrian Denny
Today the Grizzlies look to close out Las Vegas for the sixth time in seven games over 12 days and for the third-straight time on the weekend.

While Utah has seemed to be somewhat dominant over the Wranglers this year, going 7-1 overall and outscoring them 23-13 over the last six contests, including 17-4 in the last three games; winning three-straight games versus an opponent in consecutive games has proven to be more difficult than it would seem. In fact, how about mathematically impossible.

You always hear the sports cliché, "it’s tough to beat a team three-straight games" and it’s definitely been true since the Grizzlies joined the ECHL. In 35 three-game series, since 2005, the Grizzlies have never taken three-straight from an opponent and have only had two previous chances at a three-game sweep entering day three. After defeating Alaska 6-3 and 9-4 January 31 and February 1 of 2008, the Grizzlies fell 4-2 in game three on February 2. Last year after two-straight wins versus Ontario November 5 and 7, the Reign salvaged a game and defeated Utah 6-5 in the third game November 8, 2008. Utah has taken five of six points in a three-game series three times over the last five seasons.

Playing three-games-in-three nights overall has also been a tough challenge. This is the 20th time since the Grizzlies joined the ECHL that they have played three-games-in-three nights and they have emerged with three wins only once. They defeated Fresno 4-1 November 11 then Long Beach 5-1 November 12 and 2-0 November 13.

However, the Grizzlies were able to close out Victoria in three-straight at the E-Center May 1, 3 and 4 of 2008  in the playoffs with a trip back to British Columbia looming for games six and potentially seven before an 8-3 win in game five prevented all of that and sent Utah to the conference finals.

So with that, the Grizzlies (10-4) embark on their first three-game regular season series sweep in the ECHL as they look to match their best-ever ECHL start from 2005-2006 when they started 2-3 but won nine-straight to hit an 11-4 pinnacle.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries to adenny@utahgrizz.com

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

November 21: Game Day

11/21/2009 10:21 AM - Adrian Denny
Kevin Colley will look to continue to ride a hot goaltender tonight on the heels of Mitch O’Keefe’s 21 saves last night in the Grizzlies 4-0 win over Las Vegas.

O’Keefe has won five-straight games and has a 1.67 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage in a span that has seen Utah win eight of their last ten games. The thing that is helping the Grizzlies goaltender is the help he’s getting in front of him both on the penalty-kill and in shots allowed. He has seen just 44 shots over the course of his two shutouts in the last 13 days. Utah has allowed 25 shots or less in four-straight games and 29 or less in six-straight and in 11 of 13 total games this year. The Grizzlies have really picked it up since their 7-2 loss to Idaho at the E-Center on November 6; allowing just 13 goals in their last six games. The Grizzlies are also 9-1 this year when allowing three goals or less.

The Utah penalty-kill has gone 8-9 over the last two games while going a six-for-12 on the power-play. Over the last three games against Las Vegas, the Grizzlies power-play is seven-for-18 (38.8-percent) and 10-for-12 on the PK. Special teams came into play again last night in the Grizzlies 4-0 win; a game that saw zero five-on-five goals.

So far so good for the three new Utah forwards as Bobby Hughes, Jadren Beljo and Brett Parnham each found the box score on the first Utah power-play as they struck just ten seconds into the five-on-four situation. Hughes had four shots, Beljo and Parnham each tallied three. Back on the blueline, Chris Brooks had a solid 09-10 debut for Utah.

While the Grizzlies are 4-1 in back-to-back situations this year, they are 0-3 in the second game of a series, something that Kevin Colley will undoubtedly bring up in today’s 5:30 p.m. pre-game team meeting.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

November 20: Game Day

11/20/2009 8:45 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies weren’t the only team to experience AHL call-ups this week. While Utah had their top two scorers in Ryan Kinasewich and James SIxsmith called-up, Las Vegas had their top two scorers overall and against the Grizzlies; in Robbie Bina and Matt Watkins each sent to San Antonio following last weekend as well.

In the absence of Kinasewich and Sixsmith, the Grizzlies don’t have to look far for offensive presence. AJ Perry has five goals and two assists in his last seven games for Utah. Dylan Hunter continues to average over a point-a-game with seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 12 games. Vlady Nikiforov is also near the point-a-game clip with 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 12 games.

In addition, the Grizzlies will also have three new players in the lineup tonight. 20-year-old Brett Parnham, who finished second in the prestigious OHL last year with 50 goals, is set to make his pro debut along with 22-year-old Bobby Hughes, who will be assigned by the Islanders to Utah today. Hughes was the player acquired by New York for Rob Hennigar in August. In addition, losing two d-men to the AHL in the last two weeks, the Grizzlies have added Chris Brooks who skated in 16 total games last year for Utah after being acquired in the Evan Kotsopoulos trade. Jadran Beljo, acquired from Florida Tuesday, is not expected to play as he waits for his immigration to clear.

It’s been a busy week for Head Coach Kevin Colley, who actually has more players on the roster now than last week at this time and will be more than capable of dressing a full lineup of 10 forwards and six defenseman tonight against Las Vegas.

Las Vegas continues to strive for consistency, saying that small lapses here and there continue to kill them especially against the explosive Grizzlies.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries to adenny@utahgrizz.com.

GO GRIZZLIES!!

November 14: Game Day

11/14/2009 3:47 PM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies and Las Vegas both arrived at the snowy E-Center just after 6 a.m. this morning, 13 hours away from their third meeting in the last three nights and their fourth contest in the last five days. Utah is currently 2-1 in the stretch after last night’s 5-3 win at the Orleans Arena.

Utah has been a good team this year in back-to-back situations, having already gone 2-0 on travel days that includes either an overnight or day-of-game bus ride. The Grizzlies are also 3-1 overall this year in back-to-back situations.

Things thus far have really gone Utah’s way against the Wranglers after the Grizzlies struggles against Las Vegas hit an all-time low around the time they were swept out of the conference finals in May of 2008. Since having a stretch of 0-12-1-2 against Las Vegas from November 3, 2007 to November 21, 2008, the Grizzlies have rebounded to go 8-2-1-0 against them.

It’s interesting how teams can sometimes struggle with an opponent. While Utah is 4-1 against the Wranglers this year, Las Vegas is 6-7 overall, but 5-3 when not playing Utah. The Grizzlies nemesis clearly has been Idaho, as they are 5-1 this year against teams not named the Steelheads, even after taking two of three games from Idaho last week.

Grizzlies fans are gradually being introduced to the rest of the ECHL. After four-straight home games with Idaho, it’s now time for four-straight against the Wranglers as Utah begins a ten-game home stand tonight. However, things will get a little more normal after next weekend when Alaska and Ontario will return to Utah for games before the home stand is ultimately capped off with yes, Idaho.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com

GO GRIZZLIES!!

November 13: Game Day

11/13/2009 10:47 AM - Adrian Denny
When you play a team 14 times in a season, including five times in the first 27 days of the year and a stretch of seven-straight, chances are unless you’re the Harlem Globetrotters, that there is going to be a hiccup somewhere in there. Especially when those games are being played on the road against a workhorse team like Las Vegas who has a great deal of pride starting at the top with Head Coach Ryan Mougenel.

Yesterday, on Grizzlies Radio, we had a chance to talk with Wranglers Director of Player Development and former NHL'er Keith Primeau who has been assisting Mougenel this year. If you missed it, click here to listen.

The Wranglers continued their desperation from the final minute of Tuesday’s game into the first minute yesterday and earned the 4-0 win over Utah as Kevin Colley, still playing for a win in the final two minutes, added an extra-attacker down 3-0.

Give the Wranglers credit, they have rebounded after being outscored 14-5 in the first two games against Utah and giving up six power-play goals in the process; to holding the Grizzlies to three goals and none on the power-play over the last two games.

The Grizzlies have been a team who has shown the ability to quickly rebound and last night, they did definitely outplay Las Vegas after quickly falling behind 2-0. They drew eight power-plays to the Wranglers four and got 37 rejected shots onto goaltender Michael Ouzas, who casually pitched his second shutout in four all-time games against Utah dating back to a single appearance last year when he was in Reading.

While Ryan Kinasewich, was held scoreless for a rare second-straight game as were all Grizzlies, the Utah captain found some spots and was aggressively firing the puck on net, speaking of percentages, those will start to drop again. All starts fresh tonight, there are no point streaks to speak of, the road winning streak (5), Orleans Arena winning streak (5) and the Wranglers unbeaten streak (6-0-1-0) are all history and the Grizzlies will definitely be sharper than last night to start.

Goaltender Mitch O’Keefe is still day-to-day after being held out of last night’s matchup a little banged up.

Send me your comments and own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.

November 12: Game Day

11/12/2009 11:00 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies grinded out two points Tuesday night to improve to 6-3 on the year despite not being as sharp as they had been at times this year. However, the important thing is that they got the win on the road and held off a furious Las Vegas attack in their own end as time ran out.

Utah also showed that they were more than capable of getting the victory without a multiple-point night from Ryan Kinasewich who was held scoreless for just the second time this year.  The line of AJ Perry, James Sixsmith and Tom May accounted for all three goals and their hard work early foreshadowed their evening of success.

In addition, in what Grizzlies Head Coach Kevin Colley called the “best officiated game of the year,” Utah only had two power-plays awarded to them by veteran ECHL referee Shane Warschaw, while they went shorthanded three times; controlling five-on-five play.

Back to Kinasewich, we’ll keep an eye on what Las Vegas did Tuesday by limiting him to three shots after five goals and three assists in the previous two games against the Wranglers. They had Mike Madill and Craig Switzer as the defensive pairing on the Grizzlies line of Kinasewich, Caria and Hunter all night.

While the Grizzlies did get a win, despite not clicking at 100-percent, Wranglers Head Coach Ryan Mougenel was less than happy with his club, who dropped to 0-3 on the year against the Grizzlies as he was quoted in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "It's brutal, our guys have got to wake up or it's going to be a long seven-game series."

However, after three-straight wins here at the Orleans, going into each forthcoming game, Utah continues to expect the best game of the year from Las Vegas who’s axe to grind against the Grizzlies is getting sharper and sharper.

From the Las Vegas Sun yesterday: "I thought for the most part we played decent, but giving up 40 shots is definitely not something we can do consistently, and it is something we have done consistently," said Wranglers Head Coach and General Manager Ryan Mougenel. "If it's not for Michael Ouzas tonight we lose that by a lot more."

"Some of our guys need to step up and they know who they are," Mougenel said. "I don't have to single them out. We need to get better and that's what tomorrow is for."

As you’ve heard during our conversations on Grizzlies Radio, Ryan’s personality comes out in everything he does as the coach of the Wranglers, including this quote from the Sun: "When I try to over-complicate things, it just complicates things," Mougenel said. "So we have to get back to simplicity, and that's what I'm here for."

So expect the toughest game yet against Las Vegas this evening, the Wranglers aren’t happy and overdue, while the Grizzlies are still 5-0 on the road. Something has to give at some point, hopefully though not tonight! Kinasewich and company will definitely be looking to hit the ice sharp and keep things rolling for their sixth win in seven games.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

November 10: Game Day

11/10/2009 10:10 AM - Adrian Denny
Unlike a best-of-seven playoff series, which ends when a team wins four games, the Grizzlies and Wranglers are stuck with each other for seven games in 12 days no matter what, beginning tonight at the Orleans Arena. It even has kind of a playoff format to it with the first three games being played in Las Vegas, while the final four will be played at the E-Center.

It was just one thing in the 09-10 ECHL schedule that led the league’s Board of Governors to reexamine the schedule making process so next year the Grizzlies and Wranglers don’t meet say 14-straight games.

This could be the week that Ryan Kinasewich breaks the Grizzlies all-time scoring record. He’s five away from tying and six away from overtaking Chris Taylor with 279 points. He will accomplish the record much quicker than Taylor who had 278 points in 278 games from 1994-1998. Kinasewich has played in just 187 games with Utah.

Kinasewich has scored six points in a game for Utah once in his career. On January 16, 2008, he tallied one goal and five assists in a 6-3 win over the Phoenix RoadRunners. However, when I reminded Ryan on the bus after the game Saturday night that he had scored six points in a game before and could seal the deal Tuesday, he reminded me that the Phoenix RoadRunners are no longer in the league.

While I thought I had broken down the road to Ryan making Grizzlies history in just about every way, the award winning Jack Carnefix, who handles public relations at the ECHL office, went down a different road just nine games into the 72-game season yesterday in his edition of “ECHL This Week.”

“Kinasewich is averaging 1.63 goals per game and is on pace to score 117 goals. The ECHL record for goals is 85 by Trevor Jobe of Nashville in 1992-93 while the record for goals per game is 1.40 by Bill McDougall of Erie in 1989-90. Kinasewich is averaging 2.5 points per game and is on track to score 180 points. Jobe also set the league record for points (161) and points per game (2.63) in 1992-93.”

The Grizzlies captain will have family in town this week here in Las Vegas. I confirmed his Uncle Alex’s arrival from Union Bay, British Columbia last night and he confirmed that Grandma Kinasewich was up in the hotel room asleep after flying in from Edmonton. And we got late word yesterday that Ryan’s dad Sid would also be in attendance for tonight’s game at the Orleans Arena.

Tonight’s guest list will also include Mark Pavli’s parents who came in from Sarnia, Ontario for the Grizzlies weeklong trip. More players families will also be here as I take it as well.

Like the Grizzlies after Friday’s 7-2 loss to Idaho, Las Vegas will definitely be remembering October 29 here when Utah defeated them 9-2. We saw how the Grizzlies rebounded Saturday and knowing Head Coach Ryan Mougenel, who is cut from the same mold as Kevin Colley, I would expect a similar effort from his club tonight.

Join me for a special edition of “Grizzlies Live” starting at 7 p.m. live from the Orleans before tonight’s 8:05 p.m. face-off on 1230 KJQS and www.utahgrizzlies.com. We will have a Las Vegas style guest list in store for you!

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

November 7: Game Day

11/07/2009 10:38 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies will look to quickly rebound in Boise tonight as they open four-straight games away from the E-Center in a span of seven days after things came crashing down on them in mass last night in a 7-2 loss to Idaho.

In a rare set of circumstances, the Grizzlies are bussing to Boise on the day of game as opposed to leaving after last night’s game like they would usually do. However, in this case, I think it is good that they were able to spread apart for a bit and sleep in their own beds last night as opposed to immediately boarding a bus for an overnight trip to Boise less than an hour after that debacle. It’s funny how things happen sometimes as the organization was at first unhappy about a day of game trip due to a technicality in the ECHL travel policy that determines whether the home team is responsible for in this case putting the Grizzlies up in a hotel.

So for Utah, the day consists of a 10:30 a.m. bus departure, though the bus left at 10:20 a.m., an hour for lunch, probably in Twin Falls and an arrival just before 5 p.m. to the Quest Arena in Boise for a 7:10 p.m. face-off. It’s definitely a complete change from the normal game day routine for Utah, but in this case, it might all go for the best to just overhaul everything.

Generally following a game like last night’s, the plan is just to go back to the basics and start from square one, keeping things as simple as possible, because things were clearly overcomplicated and convoluted in last night’s 60-minute misery.

Kevin Colley is still pondering any lineup changes for tonight and for that, he has brought the entire team on the quick day trip to Idaho.
And remember, a win tonight, gives Utah two of three games this week against the most elite team early in the ECHL who the Grizzlies humiliated similarly on Wednesday night before the Steelheads responded Friday.

Send me your own comments and blog entries to adenny@utahgrizz.com

GO GRIZZLIES!!

November 6: Game Day

11/06/2009 8:48 AM - Adrian Denny
One statistic that cannot be over emphasized through six games this season is how crucial the success of the Utah power-play has been.

The Grizzlies have scored three power-play goals in three of their six games and currently lead the ECHL in power-play percentage at 31.4-percent. 10 different Utah players, which adds up to two extremely solid power-play units, have put up special teams points this year. The team looks so comfortable when working the puck around, as they pick their spots with the confidence that if they go to the right places, their teammates will be there to seal the deal. Last year, when they hung near the bottom of the league for most of the season, the team had no problem working the puck around, but having the confidence to pull the trigger on a shot seemed to be an issue.

Since joining the ECHL in 2005-2006, the Grizzlies are 96-49-22 for a .640 winning percentage when simply scoring at least one power-play goal in a game. At seven for their last 22, the Grizzlies are converting at a 36.8-percentage during their current three-game winning streak and are also at their top three-game power-play clip since completing the 2007-2008 season and beginning the first two games of the playoffs with a 7-22 stretch (31.8-percent), a run that saw them go 10-32 (31.25-percent) over five games. However, their current stretch is not the top three-game power-play conversion percentage in team history. The Grizzlies went 7-14 over three games through California November 24-26 of 2007.

After suffering their first regulation loss of the season Wednesday, Idaho practiced at noon at the E-Center yesterday looking to regroup and probably looking to clean some stuff up on their penalty-kill. Steelheads Head Coach Derek Laxdal is almost obsessive about reviewing video and will undoubtedly have his team recharged for tonight. While Utah will continue to ride their hot goaltender in Parker Van Buskirk (4-1, 2.61 GAA, .905 save percentage), no word yet on who the Steelheads will go with between the pipes. Reigning ECHL goaltender of the week, rookie and Salt Lake City native Richard Bachman has started the Steelheads last four games after Rejean Beauchamin got loaned to Manitoba. But the team also has ECHL veteran Kevin Nastiuk who has yet to play this year. Back to Bachman, while he was born in Salt Lake, I understand he spent a lot of his time growing up in New York and has spent a lot of time in Colorado where he was a two-year teammate of Grizzlies defenseman Jake Gannon at Colorado College.

Wednesday, the Grizzlies put a strong emphasis on getting off to a good start after falling behind in four of their previous five games. They definitely did that, scoring the first goal in each period and never letting Idaho pile up consecutive goals.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

November 4: Game Day

11/04/2009 8:23 AM - Adrian Denny
After putting up 15 goals in two games on their just completed trip to Las Vegas and Bakersfield, the Grizzlies will look to keep the offense going against an Idaho team that they have scored just 17 times against in their last seven games dating back to January 25, 2009 for an average of 2.42 goals-per-game during this stretch.

At 3-2, Utah is on pace with last year, along with 2005-2006, for their best start since joining the ECHL. Both last year and in 05-06, Utah started off 6-2.

The Grizzlies will be up against another reigning ECHL goaltender of the week from the Steelheads, not Rejean Beauchamin like two weeks ago, but now rookie Richard Bachman who went 2-0-0-1 with a  2.25 goals-against-average and a .901 save percentage last week in Anchorage as the Steelheads ran their unbeaten start to the year to 7-0-0-1.

Both games between Utah and Idaho opening weekend at the E-Center, were 3-2 in the third period, and while Utah leads the league now averaging five goals per-game coming into tonight, the Steelheads have scored three goals or fewer in seven of their first eight affairs. However, Idaho has allowed two goals or less in five of their eight games this year while allowing three goals or less in all eight games. While Idaho has done it with strong goaltending and good play in their own end, Utah has shown some firepower tying a team
ECHL high with 18 goals in their last three games. Four goals or more tonight sets a record for a three-game stretch for the Grizzlies.

(1/31/08; 6-3 over Alaska, 2/1/08; 9-5 over Alaska: 2/9/08; 9-3 over Bakersfield, 2/14/09; 6-7 SOL to Bakersfield.)

However, for Utah, they have also been strong in net, allowing three goals or less in four of their first five games.

To pick up two points tonight and for the rest of the three-game in four-night set against the Steelheads, Utah is going to need a strong 60 minutes, especially in the third period. Including two preseason games, the Grizzlies have been outscored 9-0 by Idaho this year in the third period for a Steelheads team that has started the year outscoring the opposition 11-4 in the final frame of regulation.

The Grizzlies will also look to keep up their stellar special teams play. They enter tonight ranked third in the ECHL on the power-play at 29.6-percent and sixth on the penalty-kill at 85.7-percent having not allowed more than one power-play goal in a game this season.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

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