December 31: Blog Entry: Game Day
12/31/2011 10:06 AM - Adrian Denny
Utah plays their third-straight home game on New Year’s Eve. They beat Alaska 1-0 last year and lost 3-2 in a shootout to Victoria the year before.
In the ECHL, Utah is 3-0-0-1 on New Year’s Eve. The Grizzlies look to go 4-0 against Bakersfield this season with a win tonight.
Utah goaltender Shane Owen is 4-1-0-1 at home this year and 2-0 against Bakersfield. The Grizzlies have scored ten combined goals in Owen’s first two starts against the Condors. After allowing five goals on 27 shots last night in the first two periods, he stopped 14-straight in the third period to earn Utah the win.
Nick Tuzzolino has Utah’s game-winning goal in two of their three games against Bakersfield. Both have broken ties in the third period. Utah is 3-0 when Nick Tuzzolino scores a goal this year.
Six goals for Utah last night was a season-high. Paul McIlveen led Utah with seven shots on goal, Logan MacMillan had six and Bryan Cameron and Ryan Watson each had five shots on goal.
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December 30: Blog Entry: Game Day
12/30/2011 9:42 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies will welcome Logan MacMillan back to the lineup tonight as he has been returned from Abbotsford of the AHL.
MacMillan played 30 games for Bakersfield in 2008-2009 and had two goals and four assists.
The difference this season between Utah’s record of 14-12-0-3 and Bakersfield’s of 7-21-3-0 has been one-goal games. Utah is 12-2-0-3 in one-goal games, Bakersfield is 3-8-3-0 and 1-5-1-0 on the road.
Stellar defenseman Derick Martin had a strong offensive series against Bakersfield here in October. He factored in on three of Utah’s seven goals and had three assists.
The Grizzlies will be shorthanded tonight as they look to get their injured players back one at a time. The Condors faced a shorthanded Ontario team Wednesday that had just six forwards and five defensemen taking regular shifts. Bakersfield had an early 3-0 lead, before Ontario stormed back with four-straight and the 4-3 win. Condors coach Matt O’Dette was obviously unhappy with the performance and expects much more from his team moving forward. Ontario used special teams in the third period to pull away.
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December 23: Blog Entry: Game Day
12/23/2011 9:49 AM - Adrian Denny
For the first time in two weeks, the Grizzlies will have the same lineup in back-to-back games with essentially no additions or subtractions.
Utah didn’t allow a five-on-five goal through the first five periods this week, before the third period Wednesday when Las Vegas scored early in the frame as they outscored Las Vegas 4-1 five-on-five in the contest.
Paul McIlveen remains Utah’s hottest active offensive player, with a team leading 11 goals and a four-game scoring streak with two goals and three assists. Since November 19, McIlveen has ten goals and eight assists for 18 points in 15 games. He is tied for fourth in the league in scoring during that stretch. Along with Mitch Fadden, Utah has two of the league’s top eight scorers since November 19. Colorado has five of 11 and six of the league’s top 14 offensive threats since November 19.
Tonight marks the seventh and final December game between the Grizzlies and Eagles and the seventh of Utah’s last 13 games against Colorado. Utah is 2-3-0-1 against Colorado this month and looks for an even split tonight. The Grizzlies are 4-4-0-1 against the Eagles overall this season. The Eagles are 8-0-0-2 in their last ten games and haven’t lost in regulation since December 2 at Utah.
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December 21: Blog Entry: Game Day
12/21/2011 10:49 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies will welcome captain Nick Tuzzolino back to the lineup tonight after he spent the last week in the AHL.
Tuzzolino tallied two assists in three games with Lake Erie, which is Colorado’s AHL affiliate.
Utah will also add Mark Adamek to the lineup tonight. He joins his brother Mike in a Grizzlies uniform. It marks the second time the brothers have played together in the ECHL. They were in training camp in Stockton in 06-07 and Mark played three full seasons with the Thunder from 2006-2009.
In the last two games, LoVecchio, Mitch Fadden and Matt Reber, three of Utah’s four leading scorers have gone down injured. In the meantime, Paul McIlveen, has continue to score. He has two goals and two assists in the last four games. McIlveen also has three goals and two assists for five points in three games this year against Las Vegas to lead Utah.
Las Vegas traveled all night to West Valley after falling behind 5-0 in the first period and losing 6-4 at home last night to Colorado. Last season, Las Vegas came to Utah twice for midweek games after playing in Las Vegas the night before. Utah beat them 5-0 February 2 after they beat Stockton 6-2 on February 1. The Wranglers beat Utah 2-1 in a shootout March 23 after losing 3-2 at home to Alaska on March 22.
December 19: Blog Entry: Game Day
12/19/2011 10:27 AM - Adrian Denny
Tonight with the Grizzlies hosting the Steelheads, it marks the first time, the closest regional rivals have met since opening weekend on October 14, 15. 10 of Utah’s next 29 games will be against Idaho. Utah leads the Steelheads by three points in the Mountain Division.
At last count, Utah has eight players injured, five players in the AHL and one on bereavement leave. Forward Justin Dowling was recalled to Abbotsford prior to Saturday’s game. That being said, Utah is winless in their last six games at 0-5-0-1. Before this stretch, Utah was 3-0-0-1 in their last four games. Utah’s seven-game winning streak from October 14-November 4 is still the longest in the league this year. That winning streak started against Idaho.
Idaho has been outshot 1049-675 this season. The Steelheads are allowing a league-high 3.50 goals-per-game. Utah scores a league-low 2.46 goals-per-game. Idaho records a league-low 25.96 shots-per-game.
Make good Mondays
Utah snapped their previous longest losing streak of the year against Las Vegas with a 5-0 win on November 21.
That snapped a three-game losing streak.
December 17: Blog Entry: 500th Grizzlies Game In ECHL
12/17/2011 3:53 PM - Adrian Denny
Tonight the Grizzlies play their 500th game in the ECHL. In their seventh season, they’ve spent as much time in the ECHL as they did the IHL when you include 1994-95 in Denver.
Ironically, the Grizzlies are back in Colorado for the 500th contest. Over the last seven seasons, the Grizzlies have traveled to: Anchorage, Victoria, Phoenix, Idaho, Las Vegas, Long Beach, San Diego, Fresno, Stockton, Bakersfield, Ontario, Loveland and still hope to make a trip to Reno, which has held an ECHL membership for upwards of a decade but has yet to ice a team.
On this milestone night, I have come up with my top 11 most memorable games in Grizzlies ECHL history, which started October 21, 2005 against Phoenix at home. Tonight during the first intermission, I will rank them 1-11 with audio highlights.
Thanksgiving With The Thunder/Cup
November 24, 2005
With the Stanley Cup making a tour around the ECHL to raise money for Hurricane victims, it stopped in West Valley City on Thanksgiving Day for a 4 p.m. start. The 5-4 Utah win marked the ninth-straight victory for the team; which is still tied for the longest in team history.
Stuck In Traffic
February 24, 2006
Long Beach, California - Commuting up from San Diego, the Grizzlies got tangled up in rush hour traffic on their way to Long Beach for a 7:30 p.m. start. Not a problem, the team bus drove across a strip of grass, in the parking lot, as it pulled up to the arena promptly at 6:45 p.m. and after the doors had already opened to fans at the arena. Despite being outshot 37-18, the Grizzlies and Alfie Michaud pitched a 3-0 shutout and commuted back to San Diego without incident.
First Win In Alaska
January 5, 2007
Anchorage, Alaska - Following a 7-0 loss to Alaska in game one of the series and knee deep with an 8-20-3 record, the Grizzlies found the most unlikely time to win their first-ever game in Alaska by going 5-16 on the power-play, in a game that sent Aces fans into hysteria over Dean Sanborn’s officiating performance. Rookie Andy Sertich had one goal and four assists in the game.
April 14/15, 2008
Fresno, California - Down 3-1 entering the third, the Grizzlies stormed back to tie and settled for a triple-overtime win with Justin Bourne getting the game-winner 6:23 into the period on a breakaway. Tyler Haskins had a chance to end it 3:02 into the first overtime on a penalty-shot, but was denied. In the meantime, Fresno hit a post or two. It was one of the longest games in ECHL history at 4 hours and 32 minutes.
Down 5-1? Let’s Start A Comeback
May 1, 2008
West Valley City, Utah - In game three of the second round against Victoria with the series tied at one, Utah found themselves down 5-1 with 1:26 left in the second period. The Grizzlies erupted for five goals in 8:26 and found themselves up 6-5 in the third before adding a late empty-netter. They easily won the next two games and advanced to the conference finals four games to one. Mike Mole earned the win in relief of Nathan Lawson. Ryan Kinasewich had a hat trick and Tyler Haskins added three assists.
A New Era Begins
October 18, 2009
Boise, Idaho - Down 2-0 in the first period in the first game with Kevin Colley as Head Coach, the Grizzlies came back on the road to defeat Idaho 3-2. It would be the last time ever that we would see Nathan Lawson in between the pipes for the Grizzlies as he was called-up the next day.
The First Of Many Unlikely’s
February 7, 2009
West Valley City, Utah - Less than 48 hours after losing 5 players to AHL call-ups and 24 hours after losing 6-1 to Phoenix at home with just 13 skaters, the Grizzlies responded down 1-0 less than five minutes into the game and stormed back for a 6-1 win. Utah competed shorthanded for over a month, but still continue to produce wins.
1-2 No More, How About 9-2
October 29, 2009
Las Vegas, Nevada - Off to a disappointing three-game start in 2009-2010 with a 1-2 record, the Grizzlies opened a two-game road trip with a 9-2 win over Las Vegas at the Orleans Arena. 13 of 16 Utah skaters scored and six had multiple-points.
April 13, 2010
West Valley City, Utah - In the first series deciding playoff game for the Grizzlies since 2002, they wasted no time jumping on Las Vegas with the best-of-five series tied at two and advanced to the second round with a 5-1 win. Ryan Kinasewich got the scoring started 7:36 into the game and the Grizzlies took a 4-0 lead to the third period.
And Now Kevin Colley’s Throwing Sticks On The Ice
January 15, 2011
West Valley City, Utah - Frustrated with a weekend of his team’s play and a weekend from referee Rick Looker, Kevin Colley said enough was enough. With 28 seconds left in the third period, he emptied the team’s supply of sticks and threw them onto the ice. The scene garnered attention throughout North America as Colley showed again that he’ll never go down without a fight for his team and his players.
Turning Out The Lights In Stockton
April 10, 2011
Stockton, California - After another rough season series between the Grizzlies and Thunder, Utah made short order of Stockton in the first round. The series was capped off on a Sunday afternoon with a 5-0 Utah win that was over early. The Grizzlies scored three in the first period, including a Matt Reber goal with two seconds left in the frame and advanced to the second round on J.P. Lamoureux’s 20-save shutout. The shutout came after the first two wins required Utah comebacks.
December 16: Blog Entry: Game Day
12/16/2011 8:51 AM - Adrian Denny
Matt Reber has scored in six-straight home games with three goals and seven assists. Utah is 3-0 at home this year on one-day rest
and 4-1 in the second game of a series at home this year.
Six Utah players are averaging over a point a game against Colorado. Mitch Fadden leads all scorers in the series with two goals and 11 assists for 13 points in six games. Paul McIlveen leads Utah with five goals, including a hat trick December 3. He has five goals and two assists for seven points in seven games against Colorado. Matt Reber has two goals and six assists for eight points in seven games. Justin Dowling has two goals and three assists for five points in four games. Jeff LoVecchio has three goals and one assist for four points in four games. John Armstrong has two goals and two assists in four games.
Utah was one shot away from their season-high Wednesday, by outshooting Colorado 45-27 and 17 shots in the first period marked a season-high as did their three goals.
Defenseman Patrick Cullity was loaned to the AHL’s Springfield Falcons Thursday. He played five games in the AHL with Abbotsford last month and appears to be on the cusp of staying in the American Hockey League fulltime. It reminds me a bit of Jake Gannon’s trek to fulltime AHL status.
Andrew Engelage is second in the ECHL with 1,096 minutes played and fourth with 467 saves.
December 14: Blog Entry: Game Day
12/14/2011 10:37 AM - Adrian Denny
Utah’s home ice record of 8-5 is a bit deceiving. With the exception of opening night and a three-game losing streak in November, Utah is 8-1 on home ice.
Roster moves since the return from Alaska: Nick Tuzzolino has been loaned to the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters and Jeff LoVecchio, who had six goals and five assists for 11 points in 12 games with Utah has returned from the AHL after 12 games with San Antonio. LoVecchio returns a week after his linemate Justin Dowling came back from Abbotsford.
The Grizzlies have enjoyed playing on school nights, with a 5-1 record Sunday-Thursday this year.
While Utah had a bumpy trip to Alaska, things were going strong a week ago at this time.
-Utah had scored a season-high nine goals in their last two games and had their second-longest unbeaten streak of the year at 3-0-0-1.
-Utah had scored in a season-high eight-straight first periods.
-Utah had scored in a season-high four-straight periods overall.
-Mitch Fadden, Paul McIlveen and Matt Reber had 36 points in their last seven games combined.
-Matt Reber had a seven-game scoring streak with three goals and ten assists.
December 10: Blog Entry: Game Day
12/10/2011 10:38 AM - Adrian Denny
November 2 was an interesting night. It was the last time Alaska lost a game in regulation as they suffered their third-straight setback, the first two of which were against the Utah Grizzlies.
They have since gone unbeaten in 11-straight after a 4-0 loss to Bakersfield that night. The Condors have not won a game since that contest, and are winless in their last 11.
Utah’s five all-time wins in Anchorage have a lot of similarities. They have fallen behind 1-0 in four of the five contests and outscored the Aces 14-6 in the second periods.
The 2,993 mile trip from Maverik Center to Sullivan Arena has generally been a rough one for Utah. They have gone winless in nine of their 13 trips here and have only won two of three once. Tonight, they will look to earn two points before going home for six of seven, then returning to Anchorage in January.
Utah has had success this year on a “getaway” day; meaning overnight travel immediately follows the game. They are 4-0 on the road and have won five-straight overall in those instances. Tonight, the Grizzlies will board a redeye for a direct flight to Salt Lake immediately following the game.
December 9: Blog Entry: Game Day
12/09/2011 11:25 AM - Adrian Denny
What we saw Wednesday was the fifth-straight meeting of the year between Utah and Alaska, in which the two top teams in the ECHL definitely showed why.
It was a close game, a low scoring game, a disciplined game and a game where the team that did the most to win did win on their home ice.
As usual, between two top teams, it was a game that was controlled by momentum. 15 seconds after Utah took a 1-0 lead, they committed a penalty with five seconds left in the first period as Alaska came racing back. That led to an Aces goal early in the second period and would start three-straight goals to finish the game. Once you lose momentum at the Sullivan Arena, you are almost assured to never regain it that evening.
Since Wednesday night, Alaska has lost their third leading scorer in Tyler Ruegsegger who was loaned to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers yesterday.
The Grizzlies will put their bounce back streak on the line tonight. Utah has bounced back from each of their three non road wins with a win. They also have lost two-straight only once this season.
December 7: Blog Entry: Game Day
12/07/2011 11:09 AM - Adrian Denny
While Utah has historically struggled in Anchorage, there is reason to believe that this may be the best suited team for the Sullivan Arena’s Olympic-sized ice surface in seven years.
Defensively, Utah brings back Derick Martin and Nick Tuzzolino who both patrolled the Aces blue line for years, and are very familiar with the larger surface.
From a forward standpoint, Utah is as fast and skilled as they have ever been and the extra 15 feet in width will give them more room to choreograph their moves around the pond. Utah will look for a repeat of December of 2007, when they brought a similar group of young prospects to Alaska and took two of three games, their best series ever here.
Due to arena conflicts, the Grizzlies have also spent a considerable amount of time already this season practicing at the Acord Ice Center, which also has an Olympic-sized surface.
If you missed it, the Grizzlies have reloaded up front with Justin Dowling, who was Utah’s second leading scorer with two goals and nine assists in 12 games before being called up to the AHL November 18. Rookie C.J. Severyn also returns tonight after missing three weeks due to an injury.
December 4: Blog Entry: Game Day
12/04/2011 11:18 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies have a chance to collect five of six points this weekend against the Eagles in this key weekend division series.
It marks the first time this year that the Grizzlies have played three-games-in-three-nights and only the first of three times on the schedule that Utah will play three-games-in-three nights. Last year, Utah was 2-1-0-1 on the final game of three games in three nights. Tonight, marks the eighth time already that Utah has played back-to-back games. They are 3-3-0-1 in those instances.
Paul McIlveen recorded his second multiple-goal game of the season last night, including Utah’s first hat trick. Last season; Simon Ferguson, Brett Parnham and Tom May all recorded hat tricks, all in games against Ontario.
The wildness continued last night, in four of five games, this year between these two teams, both Utah and Colorado have had a lead. Utah has played both of their highest scoring games against the Eagles. The Grizzlies and Colorado combined for nine goals last night and on November 11.
In Utah’s last three games, they have battled from behind in the third period and are 2-0-0-1 in the stretch.
December 3: Blog Entry: Game Day
12/03/2011 12:43 PM - Adrian Denny
Utah’s close calls continued last night with another 3-2 win that for the second-straight game started with a 2-1 third period comeback as they improved to 9-1 in one-goal games.
The Grizzlies and Eagles have played some wild affairs lately, with each losing team having held a lead in three-straight games.
Not only are the Grizzlies in a stretch of 11-straight against Alaska and Colorado, but it has become Utah’s version of a round robin Mountain Division tournament against the team above them in the standings and the team directly below. December is definitely a big month on the Grizzlies schedule with 14 games in 31 nights to begin with.
After last night’s game, Utah and Colorado embarked on an ECHL version of the Amazing Race to get from West Valley City to Loveland, Colorado. The Grizzlies immediately boarded a bus and arrived in Colorado just after sunrise. The Eagles, who at that point, were still in Salt Lake, boarded a plane to Denver before 9 a.m., and then took the hour-plus bus ride back to the Loveland area.
December 2: Blog Entry: Game Day
12/02/2011 9:43 AM - Adrian Denny
Utah took two of three games from Colorado in their first-ever meetings November 9, 11 and 12.
Now as the two teams play the second of their third three-game series spanning just over a month, they will look to keep things going.
Last time out, Mitch Fadden led Utah with five assists in three games against Colorado November. Utah went 6-21 on the power-play against the Eagles, including 4-11 on November 11. Utah’s league leading penalty-kill went 19-20. Andrew Engelage went 2-1 with a 2.62 goals-against-average and a .916 save percentage. Utah outshot them 37-24 in the first periods. Five goals on November 11 and nine combined goals, was the highest scoring Grizzlies game this year as Utah won 5-4 in a shootout.
Tonight concludes a season-long eight-game home stand for Utah and 23-straight days since their last night on the road. The home stand completes a set of 13 of 18 games for the Grizzlies at home to start the year. Utah opens a five-game road trip and six of their next eight games on the road starting tomorrow. The Grizzlies enter tonight at 11-6, 2-1 against Colorado this year and three points above the Eagles in the Mountain Division standings.
Utah and Elmira, who both play their 13th home game tonight, have played the most home games in the ECHL.