Game Day Blog Entry: April 25
04/25/2014 10:41 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies need a three-game winning streak to take this first round best-of-seven series. They won three-straight games or more five times in the regular season all in a three month span from December 27-April 2. On the other hand, if Bakersfield finds a way to win tonight, it will be only the third time all year that the Grizzlies lose three-straight games. Utah hasn’t lost more than two games in a row since before Christmas. Bakersfield is looking to win three-straight games for the fifth time this year.
As devastating as the last two losses seem, the Grizzlies just need a win tonight to send the series back to Maverik Center for games six and seven.
Ducks prospect Charles Sarault has two goals and two assists in the last two games and has factored in on four of Utah’s last five goals. Sarault is third among ECHL rookies in scoring with four points in the playoffs.
Danick Paquette is the Grizzlies second leading scorer with one goal and two assists for three points in four games, and has a three-game scoring streak.
Utah has won the special teams battle thus far by going two for ten on the power-play and 18/18 on the penalty-kill.
All three teams in the Ducks organization are in playoff action tonight. Anaheim hosts Dallas with that series tied at 2. Norfolk plays game 1 of their first round series at Manchester as the Ducks AHL affiliate plays the Kings AHL affiliate.
Game Day Blog Entry: April 24
04/24/2014 10:50 AM - Adrian Denny
The close games continue between Utah and Bakersfield as now all three playoff games have been tied in the third period and all three games have been decided by a goal.
In nine games this year, Utah has outscored Bakersfield 23-21 with seven of nine games being decided by a goal.
12 of the 24 games in the ECHL playoffs so far have been decided by one goal.
The winner of this series will hold home ice advantage against Stockton, who finished their four-game sweep of the Ontario Reign last night in a matchup where the seven seed beat the second seed.
With a 3-0 lead on Las Vegas, Alaska is the only higher seed in the ECHL right now who has a series lead or hasn’t been eliminated by a lower seed. Colorado (5) leads Idaho (4) 2-1.
In the East, all series that have played three games have the lower seed up 2-1. Reading and Fort Wayne are tied at one, with a game three tonight.
With Igor Bobkov (2nd) rejoining Utah yesterday, three of the top four goalies numbers wise in the ECHL during the regular season are now active for this series as he joins Laurent Brossoit (1st) and Aaron Dell (4th).
Game Day Blog Entry: April 22
04/22/2014 10:36 AM - Adrian Denny
This is has been the lowest scoring first round playoff series in the ECHL and the tightest so far. There have been only four combined goals. Greenville/Kalamazoo and Idaho/Colorado are the next lowest scoring series with seven combined goals.
It is one of two ECHL series where scoring is even. Greenville and Kalamazoo also split two one goal games last weekend. Cincinnati /Orlando has been the highest scoring series with 16 goals in 2 games and Cincinnati outscoring the Solar Bears by six goals.
Jamie MacQueen returns to the Utah lineup tonight after playing three games in Bakersfield this year and totaling four goals and one assist at the Rabobank Arena.
Both playoff games and six of the eight games this year between Utah and Bakersfield have been decided by a goal, with Utah winning four of the six.
Both playoff games thus far have been tied going to the third period.
Here are quotes from both coaches in this morning’s Bakersfield Californian:
"We're looking at a few things," Utah Head Coach Tim Branham said of changes, "but mostly it's just hard work. You've got two
great goaltenders (Laurent Brossoit for Bakersfield and Aaron Dell for Utah) so it's just a matter of getting to the paint, taking the goalies' eyes away and then making the shots from there. It's just a matter of either picking up the pace, making slight little adjustments or just a matter of sheer will," he said.
"When you're 0-for-11 you've certainly got your concerns," Bakersfield Head Coach Troy Mann said of the power-play woes. "We talked about some adjustments, changing some personnel as well. I think the series is so tight 5-on-5 that when you get some power-play opportunities you need to try and bury them. There's not a lot of room out there," Mann said. "It's very physical. I think we had 45 hits Friday night alone. A lot of battles. We talked about this before the series, both teams are very, very similar. There's just not a lot of room offensively and those Grade A opportunities for both teams have been under 12 both games. You can see how tight it is."
Game Day Blog Entry: April 19
04/19/2014 8:53 AM - Adrian Denny
Utah outshot Bakersfield 26-25.
Bakersfield drew six of the seven power-plays.
Teigan Zahn and Phil Mangan led Utah with five shots each.
Aaron Dell stopped 24 of 25 shots and Laurent Brossoit stopped all 26 for Bakersfield.
Last night’s crowd of 3,829 was the 3rd largest of the 8 series openers in the ECHL’s first round.
So far in the ECHL playoffs, the home team is 3-5, with the Eastern Conference being 0-4 at home and the West being 3-1.
Game Day Blog Entry: April 18
04/18/2014 9:33 AM - Adrian Denny
12 players on the Grizzlies active roster have professional playoff experience, though some of their most experienced players at the next level will be making their playoff debuts tonight in Norm Ezekiel, Teigan Zahn and Danick Paquette.
Aaron Dell went 12-7-1 last year in the playoffs during his rookie season leading the Allen Americans to the CHL Championship. He had a 2.46 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage.
Channing Boe looks to make his second deep ECHL playoff run in the last three years after going to the Kelly Cup Finals with Las Vegas 2 years ago.
Martin Lee, who finished the season with a plus-26, ranks seventh all-time in Grizzlies history in plus-minus. His plus-26 this year was the highest since Utah joined the ECHL. Rob Hennigar had a plus-24 in 2008-2009.
The Grizzlies have signed goaltender Sam Marotta to back up Aaron Dell while Igor Bobkov remains in the AHL. He just finished his college career at Merrimack College.
Game Day Blog Entry: April 12
04/12/2014 9:26 AM - Adrian Denny
-Prior to last night’s game, Grizzlies goaltenders Aaron Dell (19-7-0-2) and Igor Bobkov (17-8-2-2) were named Co-MVPs of the 2013-2014 season.
-The two have combined to go 35-15-2-2 this season.
-Bobkov is tied for the ECHL lead with a 2.04 goals-against-average, Dell is tied for fourth with a 2.16 goals-against-average.
-The two have combined to win a record three-straight ECHL Goaltender of the Months with Dell winning in January and Bobkov winning in February and March.
-The Grizzlies will open the 2014 Kelly Cup Playoffs at home next Friday and Saturday against Colorado or Bakersfield in a 2-3-2 best-of-seven series.
-Utah will play Bakersfield if the Eagles win tonight against Alaska at home and Bakersfield doesn’t win their final 2 games in Ontario tonight and home with Las Vegas tomorrow.
-Utah will play Colorado if the Condors win both games or if Bakersfield splits their final two games and Colorado looses tonight.
-If Colorado loses in overtime or shootout tonight and Bakersfield doesn’t get more than 2 points this weekend the Grizzlies will play Colorado based on overall winning percentage.
What’s On The Line Tonight
-A Grizzlies win guarantees them a winning percentage over .600 for the year.
-If Utah wins tonight or loses in overtime or a shootout, they will tie the all-time team record for fewest loses in regulation set by the 1994-95 Denver Grizzlies.
-Utah already shattered a record from that same team by going unbeaten in 11-straight home games from December 28-January 29.
-Utah a 8-4-1-0 against Idaho would set a new season-high with nine wins against Idaho in a season.
-A win tonight puts Utah a season-high 15 games above .500.
-If Utah wins tonight, it will give the Grizzlies eight-straight home wins, tying the all-time team record set January 3, 1998 to February 6, 1998.
Another Record For Your Radar
-Unless they allow 50 goals tonight, the Grizzlies will shatter the all-time team record for fewest goals allowed in a season.
-Utah has currently allowed 170 goals in 70 games for an average of 2.42 goals-per-game allowed, which ranks third in the ECHL.
-Utah previously allowed 220 goals each in 1999-00 and 2000-2001 for 2.68 goals-per-game allowed during the 82 game IHL schedule.
-Utah, Idaho and Alaska lead the Western Conference going into their final games of the regular season with seven wins in their last 10 games.
-The Grizzlies have opened the final week of the regular season with back-to-back one-goal wins at home after beating Las Vegas 2-1 and Idaho 3-2 last night.
-The Grizzlies have outshot the opposition 79-44 this week, including 29-15 in the second period and 25-9 in the third period.
-The Grizzlies have rallied back after trailing each night 1-0 after one period.
-The Grizzlies have drawn nine of the 13 power-plays awarded this week.
-David Vallorani (one goal, three assists), Danick Paquette (three goals, one assist) and Charles Sarault (four assists) have factored in on four of Utah’s five goals this week.
-Aaron Dell has stopped 41 of 44 shots.
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Game Day Blog Entry: April 11
04/11/2014 9:57 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies are down to the final two games of the regular season and need one win to guarantee themselves the third spot in the Western Conference. Utah will open the first round against either Colorado or Bakersfield next Friday and Saturday with home ice advantage in a 2-3-2 best-of-seven series. If Utah secures the third seed, it will be the highest that they have been seeded entering the playoffs since 1999-2000.
Good To Go
After completing Wednesday’s game Thursday at the Utah Olympic Oval, Maverik Center ice is back and ready to go after the arenas operations crew worked feverishly for nearly 48 hours straight to fix the soft spot behind the net on the east side of the building. The crew fixed the issue in 2 ways just to make sure and has been double, triple and quadruple checking the progress throughout the day.
Utah outshot Las Vegas 42-20 over the two days and 18-5 in the final 26:12 of the suspended game to beat the Wranglers 2-1 as David Vallorani scored his team leading 24th goal of the year with just under 10 minutes left in the game. Aaron Dell stopped 19 of 20 shots to improve to 18-7-0-2.
Utah’s 2-1 win over Las Vegas Thursday at the Utah Olympic Oval, gave them their highest win total since the 2002-2003 season at 37.
Leading Scorers Scoring
David Vallorani has six goals and 13 assists for 19 points in his last 16 games. Danick Paquette has nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in the last 14 games. Paquette leads the team with five game-winning goals, Vallorani has four game-winning goals. Vallorani has four game-winning goals in the Grizzlies last nine wins.
Anaheim prospect Charles Sarault has three goals and five assists in six games with Utah, having scored in five of six games since being assigned to Utah on March 27.
Utah has won six-straight games at home and 9 of 10 overall. They are 16-2-1-2 in their last 21 home games. Utah goaltender Aaron Dell is 11-1-0-1 at home If Utah sweeps Idaho this weekend, it will give the Grizzlies eight-straight home wins, tying the all-time team record set January 3, 1998 to February 6, 1998. Utah has allowed only five goals in their last four home games,
Utah needs one win to tie their most wins against Idaho in a season; they are 7-4-1-0 against Idaho and went 8-4-0-1 in 2011-2012. Aaron Dell is 2-3 against Idaho but carries a 1.82 goals-against-average and a .932 save percentage. D.J. Jelitto leads Utah with six goals and six assists against Idaho in 12 games. Vinny Scarsella has four goals and eight assists for 12 points for 10 games. Michael Pelech has two goals, nine assists for 11 points in 10 games.
Since March 22
Since a 4-1 loss to Utah on March 22, the Steelheads have won five-straight games.
Game Day Blog Entry: April 9
04/09/2014 8:52 AM - Adrian Denny
A win tonight and one win versus Idaho in regulation Friday or Saturday gives Utah the third spot in the Western Conference. Idaho doesn’t play until the final two games this weekend so the Grizzlies completely control their own destiny.
Las Vegas can’t be overlooked because of their record. They’ve scored the fewest goals in the league and have given up the third most goals, but they hang around, don’t quit and sneak past teams that get passive. Sunday in Bakersfield, trailing 2-0, they took advantage of two turnovers and quickly tied the game in a 37 second span in the third period. Less than two weeks ago, tailing 3-1 with less than two minutes left in the game, they scored three-straight goals to beat Alaska in regulation
-Utah has won five-straight games at home and eight of 9 overall.
-They are 15-2-1-2 in their last 20 home games.
-Aaron Dell is 2-0 against Las Vegas this year stopping 37 of 40 shots and allowing only three goals in two games.
-Utah outscored Las Vegas 9-4 in their two previous meetings in Las Vegas February 7 and 8.
-Utah is 41 for their last 43 on the penalty-kill for a 95-percent clip over their last 10 games.
-Utah is 12 for their last 12 on the PK at home.
-Utah is five for their last 21 on the power-play for a 23.8-percent clip.
-Utah is 6-0-1-0 on Wednesday nights at home and 9-1-1-1 midweek at Maverik Center this year.
-The Grizzlies have done well against their closest regional rivals at home this year going 12-2-2-1 against Las Vegas, Idaho and Colorado, which are all bus trips less than 470 miles away from Maverik Center.
-Utah is 5-1-1-1 against Las Vegas this year and has won four-straight games overall against the Wranglers.
- Las Vegas (1) and Idaho (2) are the Grizzlies final opponents at home this season.
Game Day Blog Entry: April 5
04/05/2014 10:37 AM - Adrian Denny
Danick Paquette, David Vallorani, Channing Boe and Vinny Scarsella are the only four Grizzlies who have played in all 11 games against Stockton so far. Garet Hunt and Matt Bergland are the only players to play in 11 games against Utah as the two teams play their 12th and final meeting of the year tonight. The game is Utah’s last road game with ¼ of their 36-game road schedule being played in Stockton.
With 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points in 63 games, Danick Paquette is three goals, five assists and eight total points behind David Vallorani for the team lead in scoring with two fewer games played. Paquette has seven more goals than his previous career high of 13 from 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. 13 of his 20 goals this year have come in the second half of the season.
Utah has allowed 22 shots or fewer to Stockton in five-straight games and just 19 shots in two-straight games. The Grizzlies have allowed 19 shots or less in two of their last three after allowing Colorado only 17 looks on net last Saturday. The Grizzlies have moved to fourth in the ECHL in shots allowed, allowing 27.04 shots-per-game. Five of the top six teams in the ECHL in shots allowed are in the Western Conference in Alaska, Ontario, Utah, Bakersfield and Colorado.
Anaheim prospect Charles Sarault has two goals and two assists with a plus-three in four games with Utah.
15 of the Grizzlies 36 wins this year have come on Saturday nights where they are 12-1 since December 27.
Game Day Blog Entry: April 2
04/02/2014 9:27 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies have won six of their last seven and 11 of their last 13 since their only two-game losing streak since Christmas February 15-17. The Grizzlies currently have 78 points, which ties the most they have had since joining the ECHL in 2005. They went 36-30-6 in their first ECHL season in 2005-2006.
-Utah is 5-0-1-0 on Wednesday nights at home and 8-1-1-1 midweek at Maverik Center this year.
-Utah is looking to take three of four from an opponent, with three games on the road for the second time in three weeks after taking three of four games from Stockton March 8-19.
-The Grizzlies have done well against their closest regional rivals at home this year going 11-2-2-1 against Las Vegas, Idaho and Colorado, which are all bus trips less than 470 miles away from Maverik Center.
-Colorado (1), Las Vegas (1) and Idaho (2) are the Grizzlies final opponents at home this season.
-A win tonight gives Utah 21 wins at home for the fifth time since 2000-2001, their high win mark at home since 22 in 1999-2000.
Special Teams Update
-Utah went 3-13 and 3 for their final 9 last week against Colorado with the three goals all being scored in the third period.
-Utah has not allowed a power-play goal in five-straight games for the first time this year.
-The Grizzlies went 12-12 on the PK against Colorado last week and are 19 for their last 20 in their last six games against the Eagles.
Despite winning two of three games last week in Colorado, the Grizzlies trailed in all three games.