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Grizz Get a Standings Point in 4-3 Shootout Loss to Maine

Friday, March 1st
Grizz Get a Standings Point in 4-3 Shootout Loss to Maine

Over the course of a 72 game season, even the best teams in hockey endure extended slumps. And entering Friday’s contest against the Maine Mariners, the Utah Grizzlies were stuck in one. Having gone winless in six straight, Utah was shaking its collective head, wondering where the answers would come from. Although the Grizzlies fought back from a two goal deficit to send the game into overtime and ultimately a shootout, the Mariners featured too much Dillan Fox. Already possessing two goals heading into the shootout, Fox would fire the only successful shot by either team, giving the Mariners a gutty 4-3 win and extending Utah’s winless streak to seven.

“I’m really proud of the effort the boys displayed in battling back,” head coach Tim Branham said. Referring to the injuries the Grizzlies are suffering, missising key pieces such as Jack Walker, Grayson Downing and most notably J.T. Henke, Branham added this: “We earned a point in the standings with an extremely short lineup yet again and we’re trying to tread water.”

Utah’s top line featuring Caleb Herbert and Cole Ully did what is expected of them: score goals, as each found the back of the net. The Grizzlies other goal was nothing short of mesmerizing. A penalty kill proved to be the perfect opportunity for Josh Dickinson. The forward collected the puck in Utah’s defensive end, glided past two defenders and blistered the net on the shorthanded opportunity.

In the span of three minutes in the second period, what was a scoreless game produced a flurry of scores, three in all, that lit up the scoreboard. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, however, two of the three came off the stick of Fox. Those goals were sandwiched by a blistering shot by Ully, who through the first five periods in the series with Maine, had registered the Grizzlies only goals.

Things got worse for the Grizzlies in the second when Johnny McInnis rifled a blast past Joe Cannata in a penalty crazed session. Over the course of the game, in fact, the Grizzlies were stuck defending twelve penalty kills which is practically unheard of.

“I’ve never seen that in my life,” Branham said. “But it is what it is and we did a great job on the penalty kill. I’m proud of the way the boys fought.”

Utah will have to continue to fight with the shortened lineup as the club looks to salvage a win Saturday night in the finale of the three game set against the Mariners.

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