Not too often in hockey is a defenseman the number one star of the game. However, not too many defenseman score game winning overtime goals. In Wednesday night’s contest against the Rapid City Rush, it was Utah Grizzlies’ defenseman Peter Tischke who received that acknowledgement. Tied 1-1 after 60 minutes of hockey were in the books, Tim McGauley fed Tischke a beautiful pass and once the puck hit the back of the net, the crowd of 3,125 exploded as Utah won 2-1.
“It’s pretty cool because I’m not really known as a goal scorer,” Tischke said. “So to get one in overtime is pretty special because I love this group of guys.”
Sometimes in sports you just have to tip your cap to an opponent for a job well done. For approximately 53 minutes, Rush goaltender Gordon Defiel was deserving of that acknowledgement, resembling a brick wall. In typical fashion, Utah came out guns a blazin’ and fired 20 shots at Defiel in the first 20 minutes but none escaped his pads. That would continue for the next 33 minutes until Griffen Molino batted a puck that finally got past the Rush’ goalie that would ultimately send the game to the extra session. In all, Defiel stopped an amazing 47 of 49 shots and for his efforts was credited with the third star of the game.
For the first 30 minutes of the contest there wasn’t a single penalty called on either side, then a bevy of penalties were whistled for the remainder of the second period. With all of the power plays on both sides, it was Rapid City’s Tyler Coulter.
Utah’s counterpart to Defiel, Martin Ouellette was once again sensational as always, stopping several breakaways to keep the Grizzlies within reach until they were able to break through.
“At the end of the day I think we deserved that win,” head coach Tim Branham said. “I’m proud of the boys for battling and we found a way to get two points and that’s what it’s all about.”