In the history of Utah Grizzlies hockey, perhaps no player has made a more immediate impact in an acquisition than goalie Martin Ouellette. Having arrived via a trade with the Atlanta Gladiators a scant few days ago, Ouellette announced his presence with authority in Friday night’s victory against the defending Kelly Cup champions, the Newfoundland Growlers. Pitching a 19 save shutout, Ouellette wouldn’t be able to follow that up with yet another shutout, would he? Well, almost. For 58 minutes Ouellette held the league’s leading offense at bay and by the time the final horn sounded, the scoreboard read Grizzlies 3, Growlers 2.
“Everyone pulled together in the same direction and we came out on top,” Ouellette said. “It’s a good team we played with a lot of skill. It was a great test for us and it’s great to shut them down the way we did.”
The offense was provided by forwards Ty Lewis and Yuri Terao. Midway during the second period, Tim McGauley and Lewis found themselves on a two on one breakaway and were passing the puck with precision until Lewis fired past the outstretched glove of Newfoundland goalie Parker Gahagan for a 1-0 Utah lead. The third period was well underway when Terao launched a rocket that blazed the back of the net. And with the Grizzlies in possession of a commanding lead, Newfoundland pulled its’ goalie and Terao put the finishing touches on a masterpiece.
Newfoundland would make things interesting in the game’s final two minutes with a pair of goals a little over one minute apart by Joseph Duszak but it was too little too late for the Growlers as Utah had already wielded sufficient damage. Most importantly, the Grizzlies collected back to back wins against one of the premier teams in the league.
“I’m really proud of the way the boys played and I can’t say enough,” head coach Tim Branham said. “Martin made some huge saves and was a rock back there. All around a great job by this group and we’re rolling. We’re playing great hockey and its starting to show results.”