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Grizzlies Insider Adam Turner on 2-1 Loss

03/14/2019 9:52 PM -


One goalie in the league has had the Utah Grizzlies number this season and that goalie happened to be in net for Utah’s Thursday night opponent: Rapid City Rush’s Adam Carlson. In the four times Utah has been shutout, three have occurred against the Rush with Carlson in net. The reigning ECHL goaltender of the week was as good as advertised once again. Although Utah avoided a shutout, they were only able to muster a solitary goal by Will Smith. Outscoring the Grizzlies on his own was the other thorn in Utah’s side: Cedric Montminy. Having scored against Utah Saturday with just 13 seconds remaining to send that contest into overtime, Montminy followed up that effort with two more goals as Rapid City skated to a 2-1 victory.

“It seems like he’s got our number and it’s been tough to get pucks past him and he’s (Carlson) a great goalie,” Smith said. “We’ve got to get in front of him and cause havoc, throw pucks and bodies at him. It might not be the second or third rebound but if we get bodies at him we’ll be successful.”

Not that Utah was without several quality scoring chances. The best occurred in the third when Jack Walker found himself in possession of a puck without a defender nearby. However, Carlson swiped the shot out of the air at point blank range and continued to dominate, brushing aside an amazing 42 of 43 attempts.

In a scoreless game roughly halfway into the first period, Utah’s Kevin Carr made a highlight reel glove save on a two on one Rapid City shorthanded breakaway, preserving the tie and instigating a collective “wow” from the fans in attendance. Shortly after, Smith would place himself in perfect position in front of the net, swatting a rebound past Carlson for a 1-0 Utah lead.

Later in the period, Rapid City would take advantage of a Taylor Richart penalty and level the contest at 1-1 when Montminy scored his first of the evening. The second took place early in the second on a laser from the blue line and what was a Utah lead evaporated into a 2-1 deficit from which the Grizzlies wouldn’t recover.

The good news for the Grizzlies is that two key pieces have returned to the lineup in Walker and  J.T. Henke. In just 31 games, Henke has accumulated 31 points on 15 goals and 16 assists and his importance can’t be understated as the Grizzlies have only been able to win twice during his absence. Needless to say, the Grizzlies key players will need to spark the stagnant offense to emerge from the 1-7-0-3 slump Utah finds itself mired in.

“We’ve got to work like we did in the third period,” head coach Tim Branham said. “We played a good first 10 minutes and a good final 20 but took 30 minutes off in between and when you play half a game you leave it to chance. We have to play motivated hockey. We need our best players to be our best players.”

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