by Mason White | Update: The Utah Grizzlies have postponed their Home Opener until Dec 31, 2020 due to league safety protocols. The team issues the following statement from broadcaster Tyson Whiting:
“The Utah Grizzlies for December 18th and 19th against the Tulsa Oilers has been postponed, per league safety protocols.
The ECHL is working with the Grizzlies and Tulsa Oilers on rescheduling the games to a later date.
Tickets for this weekend’s games will be valid for the rescheduled dates. Once the rescheduled games are announced, we will inform you via Email. If you have any questions, you can call the Grizzlies office at (801) 988-8000.
The Grizzlies home opener will now be on December 31st, January 1st and 2nd vs Rapid City. For continuing updates follow the Grizzlies on the ECHL, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. “
This comes to as a huge disappointment for Grizzly fans who were looking forward to seeing some professional hockey back in Utah for the first time since March. We will keep you all posted on what we hear moving forward of the Utah Grizzlies’ schedule.
Looking back, the Grizzlies split the series with Rapid City last weekend coming out with a record of 1-1-0. The team broke even with seven goals for and seven goals against. The power play was 22 percent this weekend as they went two for nine. Their penalty kill unit did a fair job killing off five out of six powerplays for an overall 83 percent. The games were physical and competitive as this matchup has continued to be for the past few seasons. With no Idaho Steelheads on the schedule this year, we may see this rivalry get even more heated throughout the season.
In game one, the Grizzlies had a strong start scoring two unanswered goals and then responding to Rapid City’s first goal to make it 3-1. Rapid City fought their way back to a tied game before Charlie Gerard scored a shorthanded goal to finish the second period with Utah leading 4-3. The third period was where it fell apart for the Grizzlies as the Rapid City Rush scored three unanswered goals to win the game 6-4. It was discouraging to see the Grizzlies struggle to close game one. However, we were all just excited to see hockey again.
Game two was a more dominant performance for Utah. Rapid City struck first at 6:58 into the first period, but the Grizzlies responded less than a minute later to tie it 1-1. The game stayed competitive with the score still 1-1 after two. The third period was when the Grizzlies stepped up to score two unanswered goals and won the contest 3-1. We now look forward to the Utah Grizzlies carrying that momentum into their home opener on December 31st where they will see the Rapid City Rush again. The Grizzlies will play at 5:00 PM MST on Thursday December 31st and at 7:10PM MST on the 1st and 2nd of January, 2021. Be sure to grab your tickets early utahgrizzlies.com as the maximum fan capacity will be 1800 for home games this season.
Some spectacular highlights did come out of last weekend. Former NCAA points leader Diego Cuglietta was named the ECHL Player of the week. He tallied two assists in the 6-4 loss on Friday as well as an assist and the game-winning goal in Saturday’s 3-1 win. His explosiveness and speed were demonstrated throughout the opening weekend. Utah’s local Sandy native Jared Pike also laced the skates up for the Utah Grizzlies this past weekend. He registered two minutes over the weekend and finished a -1 plus/minus. However, he showed great speed and grit, getting some big minutes on the penalty kill. It will be exciting to see what kind of player this home-grown rookie becomes this season.
The Grizzlies also signed Trey Bradley who finished up a four-year career at Colorado College in 2019. He tallied 15 goals and 19 assists his senior year. He was responsible for 38 points (14G, 20A) for the Newfoundland Growlers last season, so let’s hope he adds some more fire-power to this 2021 Grizzlies team.
Moving forward be sure to follow the Grizzlies on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well as the ECHL website for more updates. You can also read our articles and listen to our upcoming Grizzlies podcast episodes on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. As always, Grizzly tickets are on sale at utahgrizzlies.com or by calling (801) 988-8000. Their games are available on Flohockey.TV and on Mixlr.