January 31 Blog Entry: Game Day
01/31/2011 9:20 AM - Adrian Denny
A win tonight gives Utah their fourth-straight winning month for the second time since joining the ECHL. Utah had four-straight winning months from November, 2007-February, 2008.
Speaking of four, the Grizzlies also now have four shutouts on the year which ties them with 2005-2006 when Alfie Michaud had four. Jason Bacashihua, Mike Smith and Dan Ellis combined for seven in 2003-2004. Two of four shutouts this year have been against Ontario.
Saturday’s shutout moved Andrew Engelage to second in the ECHL with .923 save percentage and just above J.P. Lamoureux (2.58) for sixth in the ECHL with a 2.52 goals-against-average.
Utah has scored six-straight goals against Ontario after falling behind 2-0 in the second period Friday and hasn’t allowed the Reign to score in the last 88:17. The Grizzlies still have a ways to go for their season-long shutout streak which was 179:18 from December 29-January 4.
It’s never easy to beat a team three-straight games, Utah has done it just once since 2005-2006 and failed in their only opportunity this year in Idaho at a three-game sweep.
January 29 Blog Entry: Game Day
01/29/2011 10:36 AM - Adrian Denny
Saying the Grizzlies team this year is balanced is an understatement. Last night, Marcus Carroll’s 11th goal of the year tied him with Simon Ferguson, Tim Crowder and Brett Parnham for the team lead in goals.
The balanced scoring doesn’t stop there. Eight other Grizzlies skaters have between four and seven goals this season.
While Marcus Carroll hadn’t scored in seven-straight games until last night, he has still managed to be an even or better in seven-straight games. Brock Wilson has had a great January, scoring seven of his 14 points this year during the first month of 2011.
Last night’s crowd of 8,530 was the largest crowd home or away that the Grizzlies have played before this season. The home team finally won a game as well between Utah and Ontario in the seventh meeting of the year between the two clubs.
The standings last night in the Mountain Division stayed the same with Utah, Idaho and Alaska, all winning by a single goal and the Grizzlies and Steelheads needing more than 60 minutes to earn the two points. Utah leads Idaho by three points and the Aces by four points entering tonight.
January 28 Blog Entry: Game Day
01/28/2011 11:14 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies add two former rivals to the lineup tonight in Brendan Milnamow and Maxime Tanguay as both have joined Utah from fellow division rivals.
Utah got their first taste of Milnamow last year as he scored all three of his goals on the season against Utah and eight of his 25 points overall against the Grizzlies. He also totaled a plus-three.
Tanguay had two assists in three games for Alaska against Utah this year.
The Grizzlies will also happily welcome captain Jake Gannon back to the lineup tonight after a successful all-star appearance. Gannon has had the ability to come up big in his return to the Grizzlies lineup over the last couple of seasons. He tallied two assists and a plus-three as Utah came from behind for a dramatic 4-3 shootout win against Idaho last Wednesday. Gannon returned to Utah last year in the playoffs from Bridgeport and totaled two assists, four assists and a plus-two as the Grizzlies beat Las Vegas 5-1 to advance to the second round before being recalled again.
Tom May has been pretty big in January over the last couple of years. He had three goals and three assists in six games last January and six goals and one assist in January of 2009 as he started his team record ten-game goal scoring streak. Back to this year, he has a three-game goal scoring streak and a four-game scoring streak overall along with three goals and two assists in his last six games.
January 22 Blog Entry: Game Day
01/22/2011 10:04 AM - Adrian Denny
Coming off of an emotional win, the Grizzlies brought absolutely everything and everyone to the table last night as they completely controlled 55 minutes of the game easily as they skated shorthanded without two defensemen and goaltender Andrew Engelage.
The fact that Utah did all of that and allowed just 10 shots on goal in the final two periods without Brian Kilburg, on a one-game suspension and the recalled Jake Gannon makes it even more impressive as they skated with just five defensemen.
On the offensive side, Utah recorded 40 shots on goal, including 19 in the second period, which was their second-highest period shot total all year. Utah now has 39 shots on goal or more in three-straight games against Idaho. It ended a string of 28 shots or less in three-straight games as they struggled to generate chances.
The Alaska Aces lost their sixth-straight game last night 4-1 to Victoria as they returned home. Utah still holds a six-point division lead on Alaska, but now leads the Steelheads by five points as they moved into second place last night.
The Steelheads have battled consistency all season and haven’t won back-to-back games since November 26 and 27.
January 21 Blog Entry: Game Day
01/21/2011 9:53 AM - Adrian Denny
Sustaining momentum was one of the biggest problems for Utah during that four-game losing streak that was 18 seconds away from being extended to five Wednesday.
Now with that late tie-breaking goal and a dramatic shootout win, Utah looks to get back on track after getting their 50th standings point Wednesday. For Utah to get to 100 points on the season, their lofty goal is to essentially go 25-6 from here on out.
Utah acquired Maxime Tanguay yesterday, who apparently needed a change of scenery from Alaska, but is excited to come to Utah as he talked to Kevin Colley yesterday. A third-party in the ECHL told me last night that they think he is without question the fastest player in the ECHL and that it’s a great trade for Utah.
The return of captain Jake Gannon Wednesday yielded a plus-three and assists on two of Utah’s three goals. That says he was on the ice for all three of Utah’s goals and wasn’t on the ice for the only five-on-five goal Idaho scored in the game. Not to mention, in his return, Utah earned two points for the first time in five games.
January 19 Blog Entry: Game Day
01/19/2011 10:44 AM - Adrian Denny
A familiar face was on the bus with the Grizzlies yesterday when they left for Boise in captain Jake Gannon. The Utah captain is now day-to-day after not playing since December 11 and could return at some point this weekend.
It would be the perfect time for a team going through their toughest time of the year to get their captain back and one of their big emotional leaders back in the lineup and in the locker room 100-percent of the time. Despite being only 23 and turning 24 next week, Gannon who is in his second year pro, seems like a veteran and is such a valuable presence. That is leadership that Kevin Colley saw when he named Gannon captain in August. Some people are just born leaders and can take charge of any situation and have the people below them latch on for the ride.
For Utah, it’s now 0-0 going into the all-star break. They were 7-1 since Christmas before this current four-game losing streak. They still lead Alaska by four points in the standings as the Aces just finished and 0-5 road trip after last night’s 4-0 loss in Las Vegas as the Wranglers finished the three-game series sweep. Like Utah, Alaska was also hot at 10-0-1-0 before this current slide.
The Grizzlies have added Marc-Alexandre Rinfret on a tryout agreement. Rinfret was with Utah in training camp and stopped 26 of 28 shots against Idaho in preseason action. However, continue to see Andrew Engelage starting every game.
January 17 Blog Entry: Game Day
01/17/2011 10:39 AM - Adrian Denny
Despite three tough losses last week, Andrew Engelage still had a save percentage of over .900 and a save percentage of .914 against the Thunder as he faced around 40 shots each evening Friday and Saturday.
Friday and Saturday each, Utah and Stockton each dropped the gloves five official times. The fun and frivolity with these two teams isn’t done yet, in fact it’s not even halfway over. Utah and Stockton will meet six total times the rest of the year, with the next time up after tonight, being February 4 and 5.
All of the penalty minutes, haven’t necessarily translated to an influx of power-play goals, as the two teams went 0-13 on the power-play Saturday. These cranky fight fests between Utah and Stockton, haven’t exactly led to a lot of goals overall either. Through four games, the Grizzlies and Stockton don’t have a player averaging more than a point a game against each other.
Brett Parnham led Utah with five shots Saturday, was Utah’s only plus-player with a plus-one and scored Utah’s lone goal of the game.
Dave Schulz carries a two-game scoring streak into tonight with two assists, his first of the year.
Again, it’s unfortunate, whenever fans are more concerned about who’s officiating than anything else entering a game. But given, the last three games with Rick Looker, my most asked question the last two days has been, “who is reffing Monday?”. The answer is not Rick Looker, who had a quick turnaround and did Las Vegas and Alaska yesterday. Tonight, TJ Luxmore, 25, and of Kitchner, Ontario steps in.
January 15 Blog Entry: Game Day
01/15/2011 10:20 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies and Stockton have been dead even this season with the two teams essentially playing three-straight 3-2 games, minus last night’s late empty-netter.
Both teams play hard, have size, are well coached and have solid goaltending.
While Utah has dropped two-straight games, they haven’t lost any ground in the conference standings. Alaska has also dropped two-straight games by one goal as they have finally gone back on the road. Meanwhile, out east in South Carolina, Greenville has lost four of five and only gained two points on Utah this week as they have split their first two games.
It may be harder to extend a plus-minus streak than a scoring streak and Kevin Deeth has now been an even or better in 19-straight games, besting Nick Tuzzolino’s 14-game scoring streak he had in his first 14 games with Utah.
The Grizzlies are looking for an early first period goal after being shutout on 27 shots in their last two first periods. Utah is 5-2-1-0 at home when scoring first.
January 14 Blog Entry: Game Day
01/14/2011 8:50 AM - Adrian Denny
Since they both joined the ECHL in 2005-2006, the Grizzlies and Stockton have definitely had some more of their physical and unfriendly contests against each other no matter who has been playing or coaching for the respective teams.
In their last meeting on December 11, the two teams combined for a total of 120 penalty minutes with Matt Sorteberg, Dave Schulz and Brian Kilburg all dropping the gloves for the Grizzlies. In their other meeting this year on November 26, Nick Tuzzolino and Jason Gimblett went at it just two seconds into the contest.
Stockton and the Grizzlies last met at Maverik Center on March 14 and totaled 80 penalty minutes. In 2005-2006 and 2006-2007, Utah had their more penalty minutes for and against in games against the Thunder.
In the won/loss column, Utah has had more success against Stockton than any other team since joining the ECHL, in particular at home. Utah is 15-5-0-1 all-time in West Valley against the Thunder and 12-1-1-1 in their last 15 games, with their only loss coming April 4, 2008 on a last minute goal in a 6-5 game. I will never forget a Utah defensemen just giving the puck up in front of the Grizzlies net allowing that goal to be scored. It has to be one of the worst goals allowed in team history as Utah tried to keep Stockton from the playoffs in the last weekend of the season.
January 12 Blog Entry: Game Day
01/12/2011 8:28 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies have seen success this year because of every department and position. While special teams and goaltending have been obvious highlights, this year’s rookies have really been fantastic and continue to progress.
Kevin Deeth, Marcus Carroll and Chris Donovan are all ranked in the top 15 in the league among rookie scorers and Deeth trails Idaho’s Kael Mouillerat by one point for the league lead in assists by rookies.
As we mentioned, the three are continuing to stay hot and increase their offensive production, which is probably the least relevant thing that they bring to the club. Carroll led Utah last week in scoring and has four goals and four assists in his last six games. Donovan has one goal and five assists in his last eight games and Deeth, who leads Utah in scoring has two goals and three assists in his last four games.
Against Idaho, Carroll and Deeth are also leading the way for Utah. Marcus has three goals and five assists in seven games against Idaho, while Kevin leads the way with three goals and six assists.
In addition, Carroll is fifth among rookies in penalty minutes and third in major penalties with six fighting majors. Deeth is third among rookies with a plus-twelve, which also leads the Grizzlies.
January 8 Blog Entry: Game Day
01/08/2011 11:31 AM - Adrian Denny
With 11 of their 15 games in January against Ontario and Idaho, both now under. 500, Utah has gotten off to a two and one road start as they look to set the standard for the month playing these opponents at the frequency that they are.
Tonight, either makes it an average road trip at 2-2 or a good road trip at 3-1. Though 2-2 for a team that has a 14-4-1-1 record on the road doesn’t exactly seem average for Utah standards. The Grizzlies would prefer to just settle for 3-1, which is about their average road winning percentage at this point anyway.
A win tonight gives Utah 15 road wins and will top their total from last year as well as tie them with 2005-2006 for the second-most road wins since joining the ECHL in 2005-2006. Utah won 17 road games in 2007-2008.
The Utah power-play, which was still ranked atop the league entering last night despite being one for their last 21, definitely got things rolling with their three-for-five effort Friday. Utah has had some great power-play nights in Ontario this season, with the best being their five-for-seven effort on November 28.
The Grizzlies got everyone rolling last night with Simon Ferguson, Matt Sorteberg, Brett Parnham, Tim Crowder and Brent Gauvreau all breaking mini scoring draughts with big games. Despite not hearing from those players in a stretch of low-scoring 1-0, 2-0 and 2-1 wins, Utah has still gone 5-1 in their last six games.
January 7 Blog Entry: Game Day
01/07/2011 10:51 AM - Adrian Denny
Wednesday’s game in Boise said a lot about two teams. The conference leading Grizzlies, coming off of their worst road game of the year, bounced back with one of their best and beat Idaho 2-1.
Idaho, straggling around .500 was looking to win two-straight for the first time in a month and came out flat. As the Grizzlies push on in the season and aim to stay there, statements like that only help their case.
Now in Ontario, the Grizzlies look to pick up where they left off in freezing Boise as they come to sunny southern California where temperatures are in the 60s.
It’s been a pretty rough season for Ontario, who comes into tonight at just 2-12-0-1 at home and at the bottom of the conference. They are going to look to get going against the top ranked Grizzlies as they welcome in a new goalie, Alex Petizian, who was acquired earlier this week from Alaska after Kellen Briggs left Ontario for Europe. Petizian’s only game action this year was two games with the AHL’s Portland Pirates.
While Ontario is using the “you have to beat the best” mentality, Kevin Colley’s thought is going to be “no one would ever feel sorry for us if we were losing and we can’t feel sorry for anyone.” That means don't let up one bit from Wednesday's desparate game.
Marcus Carroll and Chris Donovan each carry in four-game scoring streaks tonight for Utah, while Kevin Deeth has multiple-point games in two-straight games as he now leads the team with seven multiple-point games. Colley matched those three players together for Wednesday’s game.
January 5 Blog Entry: Game Day
01/05/2011 9:57 AM - Adrian Denny
Wednesday has been Utah’s best day of the week this season. They are 3-0 on the road and 5-1 overall when playing in the middle of the week.
In the last six games played, Utah has won four and lost two, with both losses coming to the Steelheads, who were looking to break out of a funk each time. On December 22, Idaho beat Utah 3-1 to end a 0-3-0-1 stretch. Last night, the Steelheads ended a two-game losing streak against Utah. Idaho hasn’t won two-straight games in over a month. Utah hasn’t lost two-straight games in over a month.
For the first time in a while, the phrase “playing 60 minutes of hockey” is going to come up after Utah never trailed until about 50 minutes in last night, though even up 2-0, I don’t think Kevin Colley was thrilled with the proceedings.
The shutout streak ended last night as did Utah’s stretch of 24-straight successful situations on the penalty kill. It was just one of those nights where all good things abruptly ended.
It didn’t matter to Kevin Colley that the team had won four-straight games, a loss to him is still the worst most miserable thing in the world no matter when it comes and after any loss, he’ll look to go back to the basics as he shows video just prior to tonight’s game.
January 4 Blog Entry: Game Day
01/04/2011 9:56 AM - Adrian Denny
It’s hard to believe that while being named the league’s Goaltender of the Year in 2008-2009 as a rookie, that J.P. Lamoureux was never named the league’s goaltender of the week or month.
Today, after back-to-back shutouts Friday and Saturday, he finally will be rewarded with the weekly honor.
In honor of last night’s USA and Canada game at the World Junior Classic in Buffalo; which was taken 4-1 by Canada, the Grizzlies yesterday at practice held a USA versus Canada shootout. The Americans led by J.P. Lamoureux, Tom May, Kevin Deeth, Chris Donovan and the U.S. defensemen won 10-9.
Today is Grizzlies Head Coach Kevin Colley’s 32nd birthday and marks the first time since he joined the team in 2007 that the Grizzlies have played on January 4.
The door has opened for 2007-2008 Grizzlies goaltender Nathan Lawson in more ways than one in the last day or so. The Islanders traded Dwayne Roloson to Tampa Bay, which allowed for Nathan to get recalled from Bridgeport. Then last night, he relieved a fallen Rick DiPietro and stopped 28 of 29 shots in New York’s 5-2 win over Calgary. Ironically, Lawson’s second NHL appearance took place in his hometown of Calgary where he had a large group of friends and family in attendance.
January 1 Blog Entry: Game Day
01/01/2011 11:05 AM - Adrian Denny
Grizzlies goaltending has been stellar all season. This week, they may have hit a new high.
The Grizzlies haven’t allowed a goal since 4:55 of the first period Wednesday and have gone 115:05 minutes of hockey since allowing their last goal. Utah has scored five-straight goals in that stretch and Andrew Engelage and J.P. Lamoureux have combined to stop 40-straight shots.
Utah is also riding a streak of holding Victoria off of the board. The Salmon Kings haven’t scored in the last 86:21 at Maverik Center. Speaking of goaltending, Victoria’s David Shantz has stood on his head in both games against Utah, stopping 68 of 72 Utah shots.
It’s a chance for Kevin Colley’s team to go 4-0 for the second holiday week of the year and match their season-long winning streak of four-straight games. Thanksgiving week in California, Utah allowed just eight total goals. This week, they have allowed four goals in three games.
The Grizzlies are finally catching up in the home-road disparity after starting the year with 14 of their first 18 games on the road. Tonight, will be Utah’s 15th home game to 17 road games. Utah is 5-2-0-1 in their last eight home games.