November 26: Blog Entry: Game Day
11/26/2011 9:01 AM - Adrian Denny
Last night was another close game between the Mountain Division’s top two teams.
Utah and Alaska have been tied at one after one period in two of their three games. That score has stood entering the third period in two of those three games. In both instances, the team that has taken a 2-1 third period lead has lost.
Back to last night, each team had a short lived one-goal lead before Alaska scored the game-winning goal with 1:19 left in regulation. The game was tied for 55:17 of the 60 minutes in regulation. Alaska led 1-0 for 1:44; from 2:02 of the first period to the 3:46 mark of the opening frame. Utah led 2-1 for 1:40; from the 2:52 mark of the third period to 4:32 into the third period. Utah outshot Alaska 28-17 in the final two periods after being outshot 13-6 in the opening frame.
-Ryan Turek and Derick Martin both have two assists in the last three games.
A Chance To Win
-Utah has led or been tied in 12 of their 16 games entering the third period.
The Stats Do Lie
-Utah accomplished all three of the below last night, but fell in rare fashion.
-Utah was 9-2 when scoring two goals or more.
-Utah was 3-0 when playing on three days rest.
-Utah was 7-2 when outshooting the opposition.
November 25: Blog Entry Game Day
11/25/2011 10:14 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies look to tie an all-time team-high with their third-straight win over over Alaska.
Utah won three-straight over the Aces December 31, 2007 in Anchorage and January 31 and February 1, 2008 in Utah. This year marks the first time since 2005 and the second time in team history that the Grizzlies have beaten Alaska in two-straight games to start the season series and the third time that they have gone unbeaten in the first two games. Utah beat Alaska 4-1 and 3-2 in overtime November 4 and 5, 2005. Last year to start the year in Alaska, they lost 3-2 in overtime on October 15 and won 5-2 the next night.
The first four meetings of the season series will be played in Utah, with the final six being played in Anchorage. These two teams will be done with their season-series by January 7. Eight of Utah’s next 19 games will be against Alaska. Utah is in a stretch of 16 of 20 games against either Alaska or Colorado and 11-straight against the two.
Last time these team’s met in October, Utah won 3-2 in October 28 and 2-1 on October 29. Andrew Engelage stopped 39 of 42 shots against Alaska that weekend. Utah outshot the Aces 71-42, including 27-11 in the first periods. The series saw only 10 power-plays over the 120 minutes played.
Logan MacMillan has rejoined Calgary’s AHL affiliate in Abbotsford since Monday after three games with Utah. The Grizzlies acquired forward Blair Yaworki from Trenton yesterday. He had three goals and two assists in five games. His top ECHL season came in 2008-2009, when he had 18 goals and 13 assists for 31 points in 41 games with Johnstown, while also playing 18 games with Syracuse in the AHL. Defensemen Pat Cullity returned from Abbotsford Monday after five games and one assist.
-Utah is 9-2 when scoring two goals or more.
-Utah is 3-0 when playing on three days rest.
-Utah is 7-2 when outshooting the opposition.
November 21: Blog Entry: Game Day
11/21/2011 9:44 AM - Adrian Denny
Saturday was a statement game for Utah in several areas and for several players as they entered the third period in a 3-3 tie.
Utah scored a season-high 3:30 into the game to take a 1-0 lead. Two goals in the first 8:26 was the fastest two goals to start a game this year for the Grizzlies. 39 shots was the second-most the Grizzlies have recorded in a game this year. Three goals in the first period was the most that Utah has scored in a period this year. Three points by Paul McIlveen was a season-high for points by an individual player. McIlveen had one goal in his first six games with Utah before Saturday. It was Utah’s first loss of the year when scoring three or more goals. Matt Reber had two assists and has now scored five of his six points this year at home.
Should tonight’s game go down to the wire, both teams have been successful in one-goal contests this year. Utah is 8-1 in one-goal games, the Wrangers are 3-0-1-2.
Las Vegas will return to Utah exactly one month from tonight for the next meeting for what is currently the second and third ranked teams in the ECHL's Western Conference.
November 18: Blog Entry: Game Day
11/18/2011 10:01 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies and Wranglers both enter the week leading their divisions and that’s only where the similarities begin between the two teams.
Utah (2006-2007) and Las Vegas (2004-2005) have both had winning records and made the playoffs in all but one of their seasons in the ECHL. Las Vegas is 5-1-0-2 in their last eight games, Utah is 9-2 in their last 11 contests. Kevin Colley (4th year) and Ryan Mougenel (3rd year) are two of the longest three tenured coaches in the ECHL. They both rank in the top five in the league in penalty-killing and the bottom five on the power-play.
Since last weekend, Jeff LoVecchio (San Antonio) and Justin Dowling (Abbotsford) have gone to the AHL. The two players were both tied for second on Utah in scoring with 11 points. Logan MacMillan has been assigned to Utah from Abbotsford after playing in seven games with the Heat this season. He had five goals and six assists for 11 points in 55 games with the Heat last year. MacMillan was selected 19th overall in the first round by Anaheim in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. The Wranglers have also lost two top players to the AHL this week as well.
Utah had won five-straight games at Maverik Center before Saturday night. They look to avoid their first two-game losing streak or winless streak of the year with a win tonight.
November 12: Blog Entry: Game Day
11/12/2011 9:31 AM - Adrian Denny
While Utah has climbed to an ECHL leading record of 9-2, the common observer probably does not realize all of the roster transition that the team has endured already.
John Armstrong (one goal, one assist, two games), Mitch Wahl (five goals, two assists, seven games), defensemen John Negrin (one goal, five assists, nine games) and Patrick Cullity (+2) have all joined Calgary’s AHL affiliate in Abbotsford since the season started. Wahl, Cullity and Negrin have all departed in the last 10 days as Utah has gone 3-1.
Meanwhile, eight players have already missed games while battling injury or illness, including rookie forward Podge Turnbull, who has missed seven-straight contests after starting his pro career with one goal and two assists.
Last night was not the traditional 2-1, 3-2 Utah win. It was the highest scoring game the Grizzlies have played this year, as they still found a way to win as the recipe changed, though the end result and the final details again looked very familiar.
Not The Usual Recipe, Same Result
-It was only the third time all year that a Grizzlies opponent had scored first.
-Utah allowed more than three goals in a game for the first time in the last ten contests.
-Utah allowed a season-high three five-on-five goals.
-Utah scored in each period for the first time this year and gave up a goal in each frame.
What Stayed Consistent
-Utah went to 8-1 in one-goal games and 2-0 in shootouts.
-Utah improved to 7-1 when leading after a period.
-Utah improved to 6-0 when Jeff LoVecchio scores a goal.
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November 11: Blog Entry: Game Day
11/11/2011 10:04 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies penalty-kill and goaltending has sprung them to a league-leading 8-2 record through nearly the first month of the season.
Since an opening night 4-1 loss to Idaho, the Grizzlies have gone 7-1. Andrew Engelage has stopped 204 of 215 shots, racked up a .949 save percentage, had two shutouts, been five minutes away from two others and has a 1.37 goals-against-average.
Since opening night, the Utah penalty-kill, which already ranks number one in the league overall, has gone 46-52 on the PK, which is 23-24 in the last three games.
The Grizzlies haven’t allowed a five-on-five goal in five of their last six games. Derick Martin has been an even or better in nine-straight games, four other players have streaks of at least four games as an even or better.
Scoring wise, Utah ranks 18th out of 20 teams in goals scored, but the strong defensive play has propelled them to the top.
Jeff LoVecchio has Utah’s game-winning goal in the last three wins. That after Mitch Wahl had Utah’s game-winner in the previous three wins.
November 5: Blog Entry: Game Day
11/05/2011 9:55 AM - Adrian Denny
Andrew Engelage has stopped 96 of the last 99 shots he’s seen and is 1:34 away from having three shutouts in his last four games.
The Utah goaltender leads the ECHL with two shutouts, is tied for the lead with six wins, leads goaltenders with three or more games played with a 1.55 goals-against-average and his .938 save percentage is .01 behind Idaho’s Jimmy Spratt in goaltenders who have played seven games.
Last night’s 1-0 shootout win was all on Engelage, who stopped 14 shots in the first period, came out to stick aside a puck on a Stockton breakaway in the second, denied a penalty shot in overtime and stopped all four Stockton shots in the shootout.
It was a Grizzlies team, that got stronger as the game progressed after being outshot 14-4 in the first period, as Engelage allowed them time to get acclimated and ultimately pull away with two points. Utah outshot Stockton 20-11 to close out the contest in the second period and beyond.
The Grizzlies ability to win close games has been unprecedented. They are now 6-0 in one-goal contests this season and have shown no signs of weakness when a game has been on the line, starting with their goaltender, who carried Utah out with two points again Friday.
As a skater, one person, we’ve talked about all year for his ability to produce off of the score sheet is Chris Donovan. He is tied for fourth in the ECHL with a plus-six rating entering tonight.
Stockton has been a good bounce back team this year. They are 2-0-0-1 on Saturday nights after a loss.
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November 4: Blog Entry: Game Day
11/04/2011 5:08 PM - Adrian Denny
Utah’s six-game winning streak is the longest since they won six-straight November 13-25 of 2009. A win tonight, gives the Grizzlies their longest winning streak, since they won nine-straight games in 2005.
In the ECHL, with the way that rosters shift daily, nothing can be taken for granted and you have to take advantage of games where you have a chance to win. The Grizzlies have definitely done that with their roster thus far and are 5-0 in one-goal games. You never know when call-ups or injuries will reset your roster and all of a sudden one-goal losses with a full roster that didn’t seem so bad at the time will start to hurt.
This weekend, Utah welcomes Matt Sorteberg back to the lineup for the first time this season. In addition, Paul McIlveen will also make his season debut after signing Wednesday. However, their hottest offensive player Mitch Wahl has earned his way back to Calgary’s AHL affiliate in Abbotsford and made his season debut with the Heat last night.
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