March 30 Blog Entry: Game Day
03/30/2011 9:19 AM - Adam Turner
Andrew Engelage returns to Boise where he is 4-1 this year with a 2.40 goals-against-average and a .937 save percentage.
The Grizzlies look to finish the season strong. Two of the last three years they have finished by winning two out of their last three games.
There has been no other place this year that Utah has visited more than Boise and the Qwest Arena. This is their fourth trip of the year to Boise and they will play their ninth game here this evening. They have spent 12 evenings at the Grove Hotel, which is attached to the arena.
Brian Kilburg will return to the Grizzlies lineup tonight as he will be activated off of IR in time for face-off as Utah begins to get pieces to the lineup back one at a time.
While Alaska has the largest ice surface in the ECHL, Idaho’s arena is the smallest in the conference and the stacked format of the building makes the ice sheet seem smaller visually. Hopefully that gets the Grizzlies back and rolling tonight as they still soldier on without five key players who remain injured.
March 27 Blog Entry: Game Day
03/27/2011 10:38 AM - Adam Turner
The Grizzlies play their earliest start of the year today in Anchorage, with face-off scheduled for 2:05 p.m. Alaska time (4:05 p.m. Utah time.)
Utah looks for their 20th road win, the most since 1999-2000 and a 20th road win for just the fourth time in team history.
A win also guarantees Utah a winning season for the first Grizzlies ECHL team that hasn’t been below .500 at any point during the season.
Utah will look to make sure that any goals by Alaska today don’t turn into three. The Aces scored three goals in 4:03 Saturday night to take a 1-0 Utah lead and make it 3-1 Alaska. Friday, they scored three goals in 7:27. In both games they tallied back to back goals in less than 1:43. All momentum turns took place early in the second period. So in the last 120 minutes, Alaska has scored six of their eight goals in this series in 11:28. That’s pretty disheartening, with the score being 2-1 Alaska in the other 148:32.
March 26 Blog Entry: Game Day
03/26/2011 11:01 AM - Adam Turner
Friday evening, everything in the playoff race stayed static. Utah still holds down the five and Las Vegas the four, in what currently would be a repeat of last year’s first round with one week left to go.
Last night the effort and passion was there for the Grizzlies. It’s just a matter that right now every mistake they make after doing something good is leading to goals by the opposition.
It was the first time that the Grizzlies have been shutout since November. Utah is 2-0 this year after being shutout.
Andrew Engelage last night was relieved by Tyler Sims after the third Alaska goal, in a move by Head Coach Kevin Colley to make sure that Utah’s MVP was fresh and ready for games Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Utah also is missing three big names on this trip as Tom May, Paul McIlveen and Chris Donovan recover from injuries sustained Wednesday and get ready for the playoffs.
It’s all about seeding right now as Victoria clinched the final playoff spot last night as the same seven teams qualified for the post-season this year, leaving Ontario and their league leading attendance figures on the outside looking in for the second-straight season .
March 25 Blog Entry: Game Day
03/25/2011 11:01 AM - Adam Turner
The Grizzlies open their final road trip of the year where they opened their first road trip of the year: the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska.
Utah’s sixth ECHL season got off to a positive start as the Grizzlies took three of four points from Alaska to open the campaign October 15 and 16. The Grizzlies are looking for their first-ever three-game unbeaten streak in Anchorage where their only winning season here came in 2007-2008, when they went 2-1 on a single trip.
On the other hand, Utah will be looking to continue the road team control of this series. This year between the Grizzlies and Aces, the road team has won five-straight contests and is unbeaten in six games.
Tonight figures to be a matchup of arguably the two best goaltenders in the league. Gerald Coleman leads the ECHL with 27 wins and a 2.31 goals-against-average, while Andrew Engelage ranks tied for second with a .922 save percentage and fifth with a 2.57 goals-against-average. Both stand tall at six-foot-five and won Memorial Cups during their junior careers.
March 23 Blog Entry: Game Day
03/23/2011 10:05 AM - Adam Turner
Utah looks to add one more win against Las Vegas tonight, the team that they have had the most success against the last two years in the ECHL.
Andrew Engelage has also had success against Las Vegas as he prepares to make his first home start since February 16. He is 6-0-0-1 against Las Vegas with a 1.83 goals-against-average and a .941 save percentage. Engelage stopped 19-straight shots as Utah came back for the 3-2 overtime win against Victoria on Saturday.
Hugo Carpentier and Paul McIlveen both carry four-game scoring streaks into tonight’s game, while Simon Ferguson has three goals in his last two games.
Keep an eye out for special teams tonight as over the last four games that’s the only way Las Vegas has been able to score against the Grizzlies. Eight of their last 10 goals against Utah have come with seven on the power-play and one shorthanded.
Utah beat Las Vegas 5-0 February 2 the other time this year that Las Vegas came to Utah after a home game the night before.
March 19 Blog Entry: Gameday
03/19/2011 10:46 AM - Adam Turner
Paul McIlveen has joined Utah and instantly become a point-a-game guy. He has three assists in his last three games and one goal and four assists in six games with Utah.
Three of his four assists have come on the resurgent Utah power-play, which has scored in three-straight games for the first time since December and is over 20-percent in their last three games at four for the last 19.
Speaking of scoring, Hugo Carpentier continues to roll along for Utah, especially in Victoria. He has two goals and two assists in his last three games in Canada and has one goal and three assists in his last five games overall.
If the first two games of this series are any indication, special teams will once again be the key for the Utah Grizzlies.
Last night, Utah outscored the Salmon Kings 1-0 five-on-five and the game would have been scoreless minus special teams after 40 minutes of play despite Utah having only six shots.
The Grizzlies, at this point, need three wins in their last eight games to earn a winning season and their fifth ECHL season in the last six of .500 or better.
March 18 Blog Entry: Game Day
03/18/2011 10:03 AM - Adam Turner
Andrew Engelage arrived in Victoria last night at 5:24 p.m. and is looking forward to playing in some games. He hasn’t appeared in a game since February 21 when he beat San Antonio 5-4 with the Toronto Marlies.
Him and Brent Gauvreau were the first two players to arrive at the arena this morning, just before 9:20 a.m. as they both anxiously await a return to the Utah lineup. Also returning for Utah tonight will be Captain and leading goal scorer Simon Ferguson who hasn’t played since March 5. However, during his absence, Brett Parnham did tie him atop the team’s goal lead with 17.
Historically, Utah has been a pretty good bounce back team when playing in Victoria after a loss. Utah hasn’t lost two-straight in Victoria in the same series since March 19-21 of 2008. Last year after also oddly losing a 9-2 game, they rebounded the next night to win the final game of the season here 5-2 on April 3.
Riley Emmerson, who was sent back to Salt Lake Wednesday by Bridgeport will not join Utah this week in Victoria.
March 16 Blog Entry: Game Day
03/16/2011 8:50 AM - Adam Turner
Utah hits the road for seven of the next eight games and tied for the league lead with 18 road wins.
The Grizzlies early schedule was road heavy and Utah dominated, now they look to do the same as they leave Utah for a rare time. Since the all-star break in January, the Grizzlies have played just five games away from Maverik Center.
Not only is Utah in a four-way tie for road wins, they also have the sole lead for fewest road losses with eight. They have only played two games in Victoria, but ironically it is the only place in the west that Utah hasn’t won this year, playing in Canada in late February and going 0-1-0-1 as they looked to piece together goaltending.
It’s a busy final month for Utah. 15 of the next 19 days are either game days or travel days.
Shorthanded all last week due to injuries, etc., Utah definitely has the bodies on this trip. Today they expect to dress 15 of 16 with a full lineup expected for Friday and Saturday.
March 13 Blog Entry: Game Day
03/13/2011 11:22 AM - Adam Turner
Sunday has been a day kind to the Utah Grizzlies over the last four years. Utah is unbeaten in their last six Sunday games at home.
Overall, Utah is 7-4-0-1 on Sundays going back to 2007-2008 and 5-1-0-1 at home during that stretch. Utah’s last three Sunday games against the same opponent to wrap up a three-game-in-three-night set have resulted with the contest going past regulation.
The Grizzlies are 1-0 this year on Sunday as they beat Ontario 7-3 on November 28 to also complete three-games-in-three-nights and four games in five nights.
As Stockton and Utah meet for the 11th time this year, the numbers are coming in. These two teams have combined for 704 penalty minutes, including a season high 149 combined PIMS on January 17. The least contentious game was played on February 4 in Stockton with just 22 penalty minutes.
The first period has been a huge deciding factor for Utah this season. In their last seven wins, they haven’t allowed a first period goal.
March 12 Blog Entry: Game Day
03/12/2011 10:29 AM - Adam Turner
The Grizzlies are starting to get back on track in several categories as they have won two of their last three games.
They have scored four or more goals in three of their last five games after going eight-straight contests with three goals or less. They have also scored the first goal in three of four games on this home stand and as we mentioned yesterday, have now won six of the last seven when scoring first at home.
In his second game with Utah, Paul McIlveen totaled a goal and an assist and really started to show what excited the Grizzlies so much about bringing him here. Kevin Colley has told us that he makes everyone around him better and he’s definitely taken over as the quarterback of the Utah power-play.
Not that it comes as a surprise, but Stockton leads the ECHL with 101 major penalties. Meanwhile, the ever-popular Garet Hunt leads the ECHL with 190 penalty minutes and 22 major penalties. Four players on Stockton have 80 or more penalty minutes this year.
Tonight, Utah looks for two-straight wins against Stockton for the first time this year as they look to clinch a playoff berth with a win and not have to worry about what happens tonight in Ontario.
March 11 Blog Entry: Game Day
03/11/2011 10:14 AM - Adam Turner
The Grizzlies look for an early goal(s) tonight. Utah has won five of their last six games when scoring first and is 8-2-0-1 when scoring two goals in a first period.
Utah is also 14-0-1-1 this year when scoring four goals or more. Utah could clinch a playoff berth as early as tomorrow with a couple of wins and a regulation loss by Ontario to Las Vegas tonight or tomorrow.
For the first time all year after tonight’s action, Utah will have played more home games than road games.
Utah’s weekend crowds to Maverik Center as of late have been very strong, with the team averaging 6,662 fans for Friday, Saturday games since the all-star break.
The Grizzlies new goaltending duo in Tyler Sims and Shane Connelly have stayed steady, now stopping 83 of 92 shots for a .902 save percentage and a 3.00 goals-against-average since taking over last week.
March 9 Blog Entry: Game Day
03/09/2011 10:16 AM - Adam Turner
Paul McIlveen, acquired last week from Cincinnati is scheduled to make his Grizzlies debut tonight and wear #76. Utah adds him as another player who can create goals and offense.
While Utah and Stockton have built kind of a reputation for rough and tough games, the last three contests between the two teams have had a combined total of just 106 penalty minutes after they went three-straight games with a total of 356 pims from December 12-January 15. In fact, in three of the seven games this year between Utah and Stockton, there have been less than 30 penalty minutes combined.
Utah looks to build on last week’s performances against Ontario, in which they outshot the Reign 91-45 and 70-19 in the final two periods combined.
With the exception of the three games played here in January, the games have been pretty tight and low scoring with the winning team having three goals or less in four of seven games this year with both Utah and Stockton winning two of those.
March 5 Blog Entry: Game Day
03/05/2011 10:02 AM - Adam Turner
After outshooting Ontario 43-25, including 35-10 over the final two periods, the Grizzlies were hopeful things would turn out better than they did last night.
Chris Donovan, Giffen Nyren and Kevin Deeth all had five shots. Simon Ferguson and Tom May had four shots in the 3-2 regulation loss.
Tonight is the final of 11 meetings on the season between Utah and Ontario. The Grizzlies are 6-2-2-0 against the Reign this year, with the only losses being two one-goal Friday night decisions at home.
The Grizzlies allowed just one goal too many last night. Utah’s last nine wins at home have come when allowing two goals or less and they are 9-0 this year in such situations at Maverik Center.
Utah has a battle going for the team’s leading goal scorer at home with Brett Parnham and Hugo Carpentier all tallying seven goals in West Valley City this season. Matt Clarke, Tom May and Kevin Deeth have all scored six goals at home.
Kevin Deeth, who leads Utah with ten multiple-point games is rolling again. The five-foot-seven rookie out of Notre Dame tallied his second-straight multiple-point game last night with two assists. He is tied for the rookie league lead with 33 assists and ranks fifth overall in rookie scoring.
Defenseman Josh Meyers was recalled to Abbotsford prior to yesterday's game.
March 4 Blog Entry: Game Day
03/04/2011 10:14 AM - Adam Turner
It’s been a battle for not only Utah, but the rest of the Western Conference in reloading on goaltenders. In the last week, every team but Ontario has had at least one goalie from their roster in the AHL.
Utah, Stockton, Las Vegas and Idaho have had two different goaltenders called-up this year as well. Tonight, Utah rolls out Tyler Sims and Shane Connelly. Sims has practiced with Utah the last two days while Connelly arrived in Utah last night.
Sims last year in his only meeting against Ontario and in his Bakersfield debut, shutout the Reign 7-0 on February 14 as he stopped all 26 shots that he saw.
When Connelly gets the nod, keep in mind that he was tied for the ECHL lead with four shutouts last year in South Carolina and also collected league goaltender of the week honors February 15-21.
Simon Ferguson has scored seven of his seventeen goals this year against the Reign and looks for more as Utah opens a season-high six-game home stand tonight.