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Grizzlies 2021-2022 Season in Review

Friday, June 3rd
Grizzlies 2021-2022 Season in Review

Utah Grizzlies 2021-2022 Season Review

West Valley City, Utah – It was a breakthrough season for the Utah Grizzlies, who won their first division championship and advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2008. Their 9 playoff wins were the most in team history since 1996 and their 42 regular season wins was the most since 2000, when the club won 45 games.

Ryan Kinasewich was hired as Grizzlies Head Coach and General Manager on September 27, 2021, replacing Tim Branham, who became an assistant coach with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. Kinasewich and assistant coach Teigan Zahn were outstanding in leading the club to an exciting season.  

Charle-Edouard D’Astous had a year for the ages. D’Astous led the Grizzlies and all league defenseman with 26 goals. D’Astous became the first Grizzlies defenseman to win the league’s Defenseman of the Year award. D’Astous followed up an incredible regular season with an equally amazing postseason run, where he broke a league record for goals in one postseason with 19. D’Astous also set a new league record with 11 power play goals in one playoff year.

D'Astous led the club with 7 game winning goals in the regular season. The most dramatic came on January 5, 2022 when he scored with 1.8 seconds left in Utah’s 2-1 win at Idaho. D’Astous also got the game winner in overtime on October 30, 2021 at Allen. In the playoffs he added 4 game winning goals, including a thrilling one timer with 7.8 seconds left in game 2 vs Rapid City as Utah overcame a 4-2 deficit to win 5-4. D’Astous had a point in 15 of 18 playoff games and a goal in 12 of 18. D’Astous shattered the Grizzlies single season playoff goals record, which was previously held by Andrei Vasilyev, who had 12 in the 1996 Turner Cup Championship run.

Ben Tardif led the Grizzlies in assists (39) and points (59). Tardif and D’Astous tied for the club lead with 30 playoff points. Tardif had 5 goals and 25 assists in 18 playoff games. Tardif to D’Astous became a constant goal scoring call as Tardif assisted in 16 of the 19 goals D’Astous scored in the playoffs. Tardif passed Andy Brickley, who had 13 assists and 19 points for the 1996 championship club. Tardif had 11 multiple point games in the playoffs. Tardif had 13 points in the first round series vs Tulsa (2 goals, 11 assists), 13 points vs Rapid City in the second round (2 goals, 11 assists) and 4 points vs Toledo (1 goal, 3 assists).

Goaltending was solid for Utah. Trent Miner broke a Grizzlies franchise record with 7 shutouts in the regular season. Miner was stellar in his first full season as he went 16-12 with a 2.72 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. Miner was in the first season of a three-year NHL Entry deal. Peyton Jones led the club with 17 wins. His most memorable performance came on March 4 at Rapid City when he saved 49 of 50 and was 7 for 7 in a shootout as Utah won 2-1. Jones best month was in February, where he went 4-2 with a .930 save percentage and a 2.42 goals against average. Salt Lake City native Garrett Metcalf had a 4-3-1 record in 9 games. Metcalf had a .918 save percentage and a 2.63 goals against average. Metcalf also appeared in 4 games with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Brady Devries was enjoying the holiday season with his family in Rapid City when he got a call. He was home after spending his first semester at Grand Canyon University. The Grizzlies found themselves without a goaltender for their December 29th game at Rapid City after a series of AHL Call-ups and health and safety protocols found the team searching for someone to go between the pipes. Devries had previously played in 3 games with Grand Canyon University’s club team. In what was the story of the year the 19-year-old saved 18 of 21 in the Grizzlies improbable 4-3 overtime win. His story was featured with an interview on “The Point” on ESPN and was a topic on an episode of the Spittin Chiclets podcast.

There was a local flavor to the club as Herriman, Utah native Mason Mannek finished 3rd on the club with 51 points (23 goals, 28 assists). The 23 goals led all Grizzlies forwards. Mannek and Tyler Penner were the only 2 players to appear in all 72 regular season games. Penner led all Utah forwards in plus/minus (+22). Grizzlies captain Trey Bradley averaged 1.21 points per game and was a +16. Bradley was 4th on the team with 46 points (18 goals, 28 assists). Brian Bowen had 20 goals and 20 assists in 57 games. Luka Burzan had 31 points (13 goals, 18 assists) in 41 games. Brandon Cutler had a great first half of the season for Utah before signing with the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks. Cutler had 10 goals, 17 assists and a +15 rating in 23 games for Utah. Cutler appeared in 36 games with Abbotsford. Quinn Ryan had 12 goals and 12 assists in 57 games. Gehrett Sargis had 3 goals and 11 assists in 37 games.

Mid-season pickups gave the Grizzlies a lift. Zac Robbins had 9 goals and 6 assists in 35 games. Christian Simeone appeared in 55 games and had 5 goals and 10 assists. It was an injury riddled season for Matthew Boucher, the 2021 ECHL Rookie of the Year. Boucher scored 23 points in 21 games (13 goals, 10 assists). Boucher suffered a season ending injury on March 9 vs Kansas City.

Over the final month of the regular season the Grizzlies made some key moves to acquire forwards that would contribute heavily to the playoff run. On March 24th the Grizz acquired Dylan Fitze from the Orlando Solar Bears for Brian Bowen. Fitze had 7 points in 9 regular season games for Utah (3 goals, 4 assists). Fitze was a clutch performer for Utah. He had 6 playoff goals, with the last 5 of them coming in the 3rd periods of games. The 2 goals Fitze scored in the third period of game 2 vs Rapid City kept Utah withing striking distance before Nick Henry tied the game with 42 seconds left and D’Astous winning the game with 7.8 seconds to go.

Several players who began the season with various college programs were key contributors in the playoffs. Zach Tsekos had 12 playoff points (3 goals, 9 assists) in 14 games. Tsekos began the season at Clarkson University. Kyle Betts came over after a stellar college career at Cornell University and had 10 points in 18 playoff games (5 goals, 5 assists). Dakota Raabe played at Sacred Heart University as a graduate transfer after spending 4 seasons at the University of Michigan. Raabe scored 3 goals on April 15 vs Idaho in the next to last regular season game to help the Grizzlies clinch the division title for the first time in team history. Raabe’s speed was a game changer for Utah. Forward Johnny Walker scored 4 points in 11 regular season games for the Grizz after spending 5 seasons at Arizona State University, where he was the schools all-time leader in goals and points. Defenseman James Shearer made a strong impression late in the season. Shearer finished up at the University of Calgary in March and scored 11 points in 13 games and was a +9 for Utah late in the season.

Tarun Fizer played this season with the WHL’s Victoria Royals and signed an ATO prior to game 1 of the first round series vs Tulsa. Fizer was 4th on the club with 15 playoff points (4 goals, 11 assists). Nick Henry spent most of the season with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles but he made a key contribution to Utah’s playoff run, scoring 3 goals and 3 assists in 9 playoff games. Henry scored 2 goals in game 3 at Rapid City in Utah’s 6-2 playoff victory.

The Grizzlies defensive unit was stable this season. The pairing of D’Astous and Luke Martin was arguably the best in the league. Martin led Utah with a +23 rating and had 43 points (10 goals, 33 assists) in 59 games. Martin scored the overtime game winner on January 31 at Orlando as Utah won 3-2. Andrew Nielsen scored 8 goals and 19 assists in 36 games before he was released in late January 2022. Nielsen led the Grizz with 114 penalty minutes. Nate Clurman was a +16 and had 3 goals and 21 assists in 54 games. Connor McDonald was an unsung hero, who produced a solid season with 3 goals and 10 assists in 57 games. McDonald did all the little things that didn’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet. Miles Gendron had 12 points in 34 regular season games. Gendron had a solid playoff run with 5 assists and a +6 rating in 10 games. Kyle Pouncy had 3 goals and 4 assists and Austin Crossley became a fan favorite as he led the club with 9 fighting majors in 42 games. Joey Colatarci, a defenseman by trade, played mostly forward for Utah and had 2 goals and 7 assists in his first pro season.

The largest crowd of the season was the regular season finale on April 16th when the Grizzlies won 5-3 over Idaho. 8500 was at Maverik Center for the annual Guns N Hoses night on January 15 vs Idaho. 7713 attended Military Night on March 12 as Ben Tardif scored 3 goals in Utah’s 6-3 win to complete a 3 game sweep over Kansas City. There were 4 games this season where the Grizzlies had crowds of 7500 or better. Opening night of the 2022-2023 regular season is on October 21, 2022 vs Rapid City.

Notable Regular Season Team Stats

Utah was 29-1 when leading after 2 periods. They are 16-4 when leading after 1. Utah outscored the opposition 130 to 107 at home this season. Utah led the league with 20 shorthanded goals. The Grizz clinched a playoff spot for the 13th time in the last 14 seasons where a postseason was held. Utah outscored opponents 96 to 67 in the 2nd periods this season. Utah is 2nd in the league in wins when trailing after 1 period with 11. Utah is 22-10-0-1 when outshooting opponents.  The Grizz went 21-6 at home vs Mountain Division opponents.

Grizzlies Among Regular Season League Leaders

Goaltender Trent Miner led the league with 7 shutouts. No other goaltender in the league had more than 5. Ben Tardif led all league rookies with 39 assists and 8 shorthanded points. Tardif was tied for 2nd among rookies with 59 points. Charle-Edouard D’Astous led all league defenseman in goals (26), power play goals (9) and game winning goals (7). D’Astous was 2nd among d-men with 57 points and 190 shots on goal. Connor McDonald led all league defenseman with 4 shorthanded assists.

Western Conference Finals

#1 Utah Grizzlies vs #1 Toledo Walleye

Game 1 – Utah 5 at Toledo 4 (OT)

Game 2 – Utah 2 at Toledo 5

Game 3 – Toledo 5 at Utah 4

Game 4 – Toledo 5 at Utah 4 (OT)

Game 5 – Toledo 5 at Utah 1

Toledo wins series 4-1

Mountain Division Finals

#1 Utah Grizzlies vs. #2 Rapid City Rush

Game 1 – Rapid City 1 at UTAH 5

Game 2 – Rapid City 4 at UTAH 5

Game 3 – UTAH 6 at Rapid City 2

Game 4 – Utah 5 at RAPID CITY 6 (OT)

Game 5 – Utah 0 at RAPID CITY 3

Game 6 – Rapid City 1 at UTAH 5

Utah wins series 4-2

Mountain Division Semifinals 

#1 Utah Grizzlies vs. #4 Tulsa Oilers 

Game 1 – Tulsa 3 at UTAH 6 

Game 2 – TULSA 5 at Utah 3 

Game 3 – UTAH 2 at Tulsa 1 

Game 4 – Utah 3 at TULSA 4 

Game 5 – UTAH 5 at Tulsa 1 

Game 6 – TULSA 4 at Utah 2 

Game 7 – Tulsa 2 at UTAH 5

Utah wins series 4-3 

2021-2022 Utah Grizzlies

Forwards (24): Kyle Betts,Matthew Boucher, Brian Bowen, Trey Bradley, Luka Burzan, Bailey Conger, Taylor Crunk, Brandon Cutler, Dylan Fitze, Tarun Fizer, Connor Graham, Nick Henry, Keaton Jameson, Mason Mannek, Tyler Penner, Dakota Raabe, Zac Robbins, Neil Robinson, Quinn Ryan, Gehrett Sargis, Christian Simeone, Benjamin Tardif, Zach Tsekos, Johnny Walker.

Defenseman (13): Nate Clurman,Joey Colatarci, Austin Crossley, Charle-Edouard D’Astous, Miles Gendron, Shane Kuzmeski, Luke Martin, Connor McDonald, Andrew Nielsen, Ryan Orgel, Kyle Pouncy, James Shearer, Jordon Stone.

Goaltenders (7): Brady Devries, Peyton Jones,Cole Kehler,Garrett Metcalf,Trent Miner,Hunter Miska, Thomas Sigouin.

Head Coach: Ryan Kinasewich – Won 42 games in his first season as Grizzlies head coach. The 9 playoff wins were the most for Utah since 1996. Kinasewich is the all-time leading scorer in team history with 356 points.

Assistant Coach: Teigan Zahn – Spent 4 seasons as a player with Utah. Finished his first season as Grizzlies assistant coach.

Athletic Trainer: Collin Lee – Finished his 2nd season with Utah.

Equipment Manager: Mason Weyland – Finished his 1st season as Grizzlies Head Equipment Manager. Was previously Utah’s assistant Equipment Manager.

Assistant Equipment Manager: Jaxson Hibbard.

Broadcaster: Tyson Whiting – 4th season with the club.

Team Leaders (2021-22 Regular season)

Games: Mason Mannek/Tyler Penner (72).

Goals: Charle-Edouard D’Astous (26). – Most by Grizzlies defenseman in a single season.

Assists: Ben Tardif (39)

Points: Tardif (59)

Plus/Minus: Luke Martin (+23)

PIM: Andrew Nielsen (114) Mason Mannek led active Grizzlies with 102.

Power Play Points: D’Astous (23)

Power Play Goals: D’Astous (9)

Power Play Assists: D’Astous (14).

Shorthanded Goals: Trey Bradley/Matthew Boucher/Tardif (4)

Shots on Goal: Brian Bowen (201)

Shooting Percentage: Bradley (18 for 113). 15.9 %. – Minimum 100 shots.

Game Winning Goals: D’Astous (7).

Wins: Peyton Jones (17).

Save %: Garrett Metcalf (.918).

Goals Against Average: Metcalf (2.63)

Shutouts: Trent Miner (7) – Broke Grizzlies Single Season Shutout Record.

Minutes: Jones (1729)

Team Leaders (2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs)

Goals: Charle-Edouard D’Astous (19) – Single Season League Record. 

Assists: Ben Tardif (25) – Tardif is 4 away from the single season playoff record. 

Points: D’Astous/Tardif (30) – Both are tied for the league lead.

Plus/Minus: D’Astous/Luke Martin (+7)

Penalty Minutes: Austin Crossley (45). – Leads League.

Power Play Points: D’Astous (16) – Leads League.

Power Play Goals: D’Astous (11) – Broke a league record for power play goals in 1 playoff season.

Power Play Assists: Tardif (12) – Leads League.

Shots on Goal: D’Astous (73) – Leads League.

Shooting Percentage: D’Astous (26.0 %) 19 for 69.

Goaltending Wins: Trent Miner (7)

Save %: Miner (.924)

Goals Against Average: Miner (2.69)

Grizz Led League in Shorthanded Goals

Utah led the league with 20 shorthanded goals this season. Matthew Boucher, Trey Bradley and Ben Tardif each had 4 shorthanded goals. Bradley, Connor McDonald and Tardif each had 4 shorthanded assists. McDonald led all league defenseman in shorthanded assists. Utah led the league with 5 postseason shorthanded goals, led by Kyle Betts with 2.

Martin and Tardif Named to All-Rookie Team

Defenseman Luke Martin and Forward Ben Tardif were each named to the ECHL All-Rookie team. Martin ranks second among all league rookies with 32 assists and 42 points and is tied for seventh with 10 goals. Luke has produced on the power play as he has 13 power play points. Martin played his college hockey at the University of Michigan from 2016-2020. Last season he split time with Texas (AHL) and Greenville (ECHL) but kept his rookie status by playing in less than 25 pro games. Luke was a 2nd round pick (52nd overall) by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2017 NHL Draft.

Tardif leads all league rookies with 39 assists and is 2nd with 59 points. Tardif is 7th among rookies with 13 power play assists and is 8th with 182 shots on goal. Benjamin leads the Grizzlies with 19 multiple point games. He is 2nd in the league with 8 shorthanded points. Tardif was the QMJHL Playoff MVP in 2021, leading Victoriaville to the championship.

These May Be the Glory Days

Utah finished with a record of 42-27-2-1 this season. The 42 wins are the most since in team history since the 2001-02 Grizzlies went 40-29-6-5 in the first season of the AHL era.

Most Wins in Team History

1995-96: 49 (Turner Cup Champions).

1997-98: 47.

1999-2000: 45.

1996-97: 43.

2021-22: 42

2001-02: 40

Grizz Were a Successful Road Team

Utah is 2-1 on the road in the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs. If the Grizzlies are going to go far in the playoffs, they will need to play well on the road. Utah went 19-14-2-1 on the road. The 19 wins ties a Grizzlies ECHL era record with the 2010-11 club and is tied for the 3rd most in club history. Utah ended up with the most road wins in the Mountain Division this season.

Most Road Wins in Team History

1999-2000: 23

1995-96: 22 (Turner Cup Champions)

1997-98, 2001-02, 2010-11, 2021-22: 19. (This season is the 4th time Utah has won 19 on the road).

Mountain Division Champions

The Grizz won their first ever division championship and finished with a bang as they won 4 of their last 5 games.

Multiple Point games (2021-2022 Regular Season)

19: Ben Tardif

17: Charle-Edouard D’Astous

15: Trey Bradley

11: Luke Martin

10: Brian Bowen, Mason Mannek.

7: Luka Burzan

6: Matthew Boucher,Brandon Cutler. Andrew Nielsen.

5: Tyler Penner.

4: Miles Gendron.

3: Gehrett Sargis.

2: Nate Clurman, Dakota Raabe, James Shearer, Christian Simeone.

1: Neil Robinson, Bailey Conger, Zac Robbins, Quinn Ryan, Connor McDonald, Nick Henry, Joey Colatarci. Keaton Jameson. Dylan Fitze.

Grizzlies Hat Tricks

Trey Bradley – December 29, 2021 at Rapid City.

Ben Tardif – March 12, 2022 vs Kansas City.

Dakota Raabe – April 14, 2022 vs Idaho.

Charle-Edouard D’Astous -

For all 3 players it was their first pro hat trick.

Grizzlies Winning Weekly/Monthly/Yearly Awards

Trent Miner – Goaltender of the Week (October 25-31, 2021)

Charle-Edouard D’Astous – Plus Performer of the Month (October 2021).

Brandon Cutler – Rookie of the Month (November 2021).

Charle-Edouard D’Astous – First Team All-ECHL (2021-2022 season)

D’Astous – 2021-22 Defenseman of the Year.

Ben Tardif – All-Rookie Team Forward (2021-2022 season)

Luke Martin – All-Rookie Team Defenseman (2021-2022 season)

11 Players Scored 10 or More

11 different Grizzlies skaters had 10 or more goals this season. That’s the most since the 2001-02 team also had 11 players score in double digits.

Charle-Edouard D’Astous – 26

Mason Mannek – 23

Brian Bowen, Ben Tardif – 20

Trey Bradley – 18

Matthew Boucher, Luka Burzan, Tyler Penner – 13

Quinn Ryan – 12

Brandon Cutler, Luke Martin – 10

MOST GOALS, DEFENSEMAN, SEASON 

28 - Jay Neal (Toledo, 1994-95) 

27 - Chris Valicevic (Louisiana, 1999-2000) 

26 - Charle-Edouard D'Astous (Utah, 2021-22)

26 - Les Lancaster (Allen, 2020-21) 

26 - Rick Corriveau (Toledo, 1994-95)

26 - Joe Cook (Columbus, 1993-94) 

MOST GOALS, ONE PLAYOFF YEAR

19 –Charle-Edourd D’Astous, Utah 2022 

17 – J.F.Boutin, Peoria, 2000 

 –Blaine Moore, Richmond, 1995 

16 –Zach O’Brien, Newfoundland, 2019 

 –Mark Deazeley, Toledo, 1994 

 –Rod Taylor, Hampton Roads, 1992 

 –Dave Flanagan, Hampton Roads, 1991 

MOST POWER-PLAY GOALS, ONE PLAYOFF YEAR

11 – Charle-Edouard D’Astous, Utah, 2022

9 - Chris Minard, Alaska, 2006

8 - Greger Hanson, Allen, 2016

- Kevin Colley, Atlantic City, 2003 – Grizzlies Head Coach from 2009-2013.

Grizzlies Goaltending Shutouts (2021-2022)

Trent Miner – 21 save shutout vs Idaho on October 24, 2021.

Trent Miner – 27 save shutout at Wichita on October 29, 2021.

Trent Miner – 27 save shutout vs Kalamazoo on December 6, 2021.

Trent Miner – 28 save shutout vs Wichita on December 15, 2021.

Trent Miner – 30 save shutout at Idaho on March 18, 2022.

Trent Miner – 33 save shutout vs Tulsa on March 26, 2022.

Trent Miner – 32 save shutout at Idaho on April 9, 2022.

MOST ASSISTS, ONE PLAYOFF YEAR

29 – Chad Costello, Allen, 2016

26 – John Spoltore, Louisiana, 2000

25 – Wayne Simpson, South Carolina, 2015 – Benjamin Tardif, Utah, 2022

24 – David Desharnais, Cincinnati, 2008

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