October 29: Blog Entry: Game Day
10/29/2011 8:57 AM - Adam Turner
The winner of tonight’s game finishes the month of October atop the Mountain Division, the Western Conference and the ECHL.
Utah’s current five-game winning streak ties Alaska’s five-game winning streak that was snapped last night as the longest winning streaks this year in the ECHL. At 5-1, Utah is also off to their best start since 1996-97 when they started 8-0. This is the Grizzlies second-best start to a season since moving to Utah in 1995.
Last night’s game was definitely a good one. Alaska led for 13:44, Utah for 4:45. The game was tied for 41:46 of the 60 minutes.
The Grizzlies also look to build on their strong play as of late on home ice. The Grizzlies have won three-straight games at home; which ties their longest home winning streak of last year when they won three-straight December 29-31. Utah has won all three home games by one goal and outshot their opponents 113-71 overall and 42-10 in the first periods in the stretch. Mitch Fadden leads Utah with two goals and two assists during the home winning streak.
No one in the ECHL is hotter now than Mitch Wahl who has four goals in the last three games and has scored four of Utah’s last seven goals. Wahl also has scored Utah’s last three game-winning goals and the 21-year-old Calgary rookie has multiple-points in three of four games with Utah.
October 28: Blog Entry: Game Day
10/28/2011 7:27 AM - Adam Turner
As deep as the Grizzlies seem right now and as well as they’ve been pulling out wins, it is hard to believe that they are without six skaters who are battling injuries.
Bryan Cameron, Tysen Dowzak, Trevor Glass, C.J. Severyn, Matt Sorteberg and Podge Turnbull who all arrived in Utah healthy have undergone some type of injury. That’s one whole forward line and three good defensemen who are out of commission at least for now.
Utah’s 4-1 start is their best five-game start since joining the ECHL. They were 3-1-1-0 last year at this time for their second best start and 3-2 in 09-10 and 08-09. Kevin Colley’s teams have definitely been strong out of the gate and ready to go when the season starts.
The Grizzlies next win will be Kevin’s 100th regular season win as the Grizzlies Head Coach. His record, currently stands at 99-90-31. Kevin is second all-time on the Grizzlies all-time list behind Butch Goring who had 231 wins in five seasons when the Grizzlies were playing 80-82 games a year in the IHL opposed to the ECHL’s 72.
The first period will be interesting with Utah and Alaska combining to outscore their opposition 17-1 in the first periods this year.
October 25: Blog Entry: Game Day
10/25/2011 9:13 AM - Adam Turner
What were you doing six years ago today? The Grizzlies were preparing for a Tuesday night game on October 25, 2005 against Las Vegas much like they’re doing today.
Utah lost that game 2-1 in the Wranglers home opener with Justin Eddy in goal and Chris Leinweber scoring Utah’s lone goal in the third period as they tried to rally back from a 2-0 deficit. Wally Lacroix who is one of tonight’s linesman, also “lined” that game.
Coming into tonight’s game, both team’s are playing well. The Wranglers have won two-straight contests and the Grizzlies have won three in a row.
Utah has had success in Las Vegas under Kevin Colley. Including two playoff games, Kevin is 10-5-1-0 playing at the Orleans Arena as a Head Coach. Utah went 3-0-0-1 here last year with their last game being a 3-2 win on February 10.
Both teams return a top goaltender from last year in Joe Fallon and Andrew Engelage. Engelage won 19 for Utah last year, Fallon won 18 and both are off to strong starts again this season.
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October 21: Blog Entry: Game Day
10/21/2011 8:15 AM - Adam Turner
The Grizzlies look for their third-straight win tonight after falling 4-1 in their first game of the year a week ago tonight as they meet Bakersfield for the 2nd of 12 meetings this evening.
The teams will next meet December 30 and 31. Utah doesn’t go to Bakersfield until February 28. Tomorrow, the Grizzlies take their only Saturday of the season off, besides Christmas Eve, while the Condors head to Las Vegas after the game.
For the Grizzlies, in all three games so far this season, getting off to a good start has been a strong point. Utah has taken a 1-0 first period lead in their first three games. Four of Utah’s seven goals this season have been scored in the first period and Utah has outscored the opposition 4-0 in the opening frame this year.
The Grizzlies have also established themselves even-strength by allowing just two five-on-five goals in three games this year.
Wednesday night the team put up a season-high 46 shots, including outshooting Bakersfield 14-2 in the first and registering a season-high of 17 shots in the third period. The Grizzlies continue to outshoot the opposition, now by a total of 106-80 this year.
Utah is second in the ECHL averaging 35.33 shots per-game. Nick Tuzzolino led Utah with seven shots Wednesday, Jeff LoVecchio had six, Matt Reber had five. 10 players had at least three shots.
Offensively, Utah has five players with two-game scoring streaks coming into tonight with John Negrin (one goal, two assists), Matt Reber (two goals), Podge Turnbull (one goal, one assist), Jeff LoVecchio (two assists) and Justin Dowling (one goal, one assist) all scoring in two-straight games. Nick Tuzzolino and Ryan Turek, each with one goal and one assist have scored in both home games thus far.
The power-plays kept coming Wednesday as the Grizzlies added eight more to their league-high total of 25 power-play situations drawn.
October 19 Blog Entry: Game Day
10/19/2011 7:55 AM - Adam Turner
Now that they’ve been together as a team for over two weeks, the Grizzlies look to get rolling as they open a stretch tonight of four of the next five games at home.
Time together as a group is very beneficial, especially as the Grizzlies added three new faces less than 48 hours from their season opener last week.
The third period in Idaho Saturday was a good indication that this team understands what it takes to win. Five-on-five, Idaho was getting nothing in the Utah end as the Grizzlies held a 3-2 lead. As Utah killed two third period penalties, players were lining up to block shots and get the puck out of their own end. It also goes without saying that the goaltending from Andrew Engelage should not be overlooked in one-goal games.
It’s a Utah team that unfortunately has also battled several injuries. However, early season depth, has just about covered that up to the casual eye as the Grizzlies opened the year without top forwards Bryan Cameron and Mitch Fadden along with a cast of defensemen.
Finaly, the Calgary Flames organization has recalled John Armstrong and assigned forward Mitch Wahl to Utah. Wahl was drafted by Calgary in the second round and 48th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Utah currently has 10 NHL draft picks on their roster.
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October 15: Blog Entry: Game Day
10/15/2011 9:56 AM - Adam Turner
In any sport, conclusion can’t be drawn by one game. Obviously Kevin Colley wasn’t happy with Friday night whatsoever.
The Grizzlies talent wise are thought to be one of the top three teams in the Western Conference. So is Stockton, they lost 5-2 last night at home.
Last year on opening weekend, Stockton dropped two-straight in strange fashion to Ontario who ended up having the worst record in the league and worst in the conference for the second-straight year. Stockton ended up as the three seed. Every team develops at their own time.
In 2005, Utah opened at home with a bad 4-2 loss to Phoenix who ended up having the worst record in the conference. The Grizzlies rebounded for two easy wins the next two nights against the RoadRunners.
On a Friday, Saturday back-to-back in November of 2009, Utah played their worst game of the season, losing 7-2 to Idaho The next night in Boise they shutout the Steelheads 3-0.
Hopefully, tomorrow at this time, we can make a 180-degree comparison to tonight’s game.
October 14: Blog Entry: Game Day
10/14/2011 8:16 AM - Adam Turner
The Grizzlies enter the season with a lot of depth and a lot of fluid activity as the ECHL affiliate for the Calgary Flames.
On the opening day roster, five players are under contract with the Flames organization and five players under ECHL contracts with Utah attended training camp with Calgary’s AHL affiliate in Abbotsford, British Columbia.
While the Grizzlies haven’t opened at home since 2005, they have played some thrilling games the last three years while battling from behind in all three to start the year. Two of their last three opening night games have gone past regulation.
It’s quite the opening night in the ECHL’s Western Conference. Colorado makes their ECHL debut after six successful CHL seasons when they visit Stockton. Alaska plays their first home game since winning the Kelly Cup last year in five games at Kalamazoo. And former Utah Head Coach Jason Christie makes his debut as the Head Coach of the Ontario Reign by hosting Bakersfield.
11 of Utah’s active 18 skaters will play their first ever game tonight at Maverik Center while seven have either played in this building for Utah or as an opponent.