Utah Grizzlies Return to Rapid City to faceoff against the Rush.

Utah Grizzlies Return to Rapid City to faceoff against the Rush.

By Mason White

Looking Back

The Grizzlies fell twice this last weekend to the Kansas City Mavericks finishing the weekend 1-1-1 and picking up two points. It was another competitive weekend for the Grizzlies even though they faced a team that was sitting six spots behind them in the standings going into last weekend. This 2021 season has proven to be anything but disappointing with less teams and more at stake in every game.

Game 1

This was a 4-1 win for Utah who never trailed in the game last Friday. After the game was still scoreless with one period played, Utah’s Miles Gendron struck first after 9:32 into the second period. The Mavericks responded with a goal less than 1:30 later. The Grizzlies regained the lead when Pat Canone put the game winner past Matt Greenfield with just under five minutes to go in the second. The Grizzlies were up 2-1 after two and never looked back.

The Grizzlies saw goals from Cedric Pare and Mathew Boucher in the third to seal the win 4-1. Canone lead all scorers with three points (1G, 2A) and Peyton Jones stopped 15 of 16 shots he faced on Friday night. The Grizzlies went one for two on the power play and two for two on the kill.

Game 2

In contrast, this game was filled with a ton of back-and-forth shots. There were a total of 16 penalties between both teams on Saturday. Special teams played a huge role in the game with five out of the nine total points coming from special teams play.

Utah struck first after the 1:23 mark in the first period when A.J. White put one home on a pass from Boucher. The early spark lead to an exciting back-and-forth period as the score was 3-3 at conclusion of the first. This was also the most feisty period with seven total penalties.

Kansas City’s Brodie Reed got at an early goal twominutes into the second period to take the lead 4-3. However, Utah’s top rookie Charlie Gerard made it even at 14:50 with his fifth goal of the season. The Game was tied at 4-4 after two.

The third period was much quieter with no goals and one penalty sending the game into OT. Kansas City’s Phil Marinaccio earned the win five minutes into an overtime with a goal on a pass from Brodie Reed. The Mavericks scored four of their five on special teams with three PP (power play) goals and one SH (short-handed) goal. The shots were very close at 30-34 in favor of Utah and with 34 total penalty minutes there was no shortage of excitement.

Game 3

This was all Kansas City as they scored four in the first and never trailed in the game. The Grizzlies saw some life with two goals in the second to cut the lead to 4-2 after two periods of play. However, Kansas City’s Luka Bafia sealed the win with the empty netter in the third. The heated matchup continued with 15 total penalties between both teams for 30 minutes of special teams play. The shots were also 40-30 in favor of Utah.

Canone lead the way for Utah with four total points (1G, 3A) and is currently tied with Diego Cuglietta for a team-leading nine points on the season. Utah’s goalie Peyton Johnson stopped 15 of 22 shots on the weekend while alternate goalie Parker Gahagen stopped 48 of 55.

Grizzlies Vs Rush

The Grizzlies look to continue their four-game winning streak this weekend against Rapid City . The Grizzlies will be looking to strike first as three of their four wins against Rapid City have come in games when they scored the first point. The Utah Grizzlies sit seven spots ahead of the Rush in league standings at number six with an overall record of 5-3-2-1 and a winning percentage of .591. Rapid City ranks number 13 in league standings with a 4-9-0 record and winning percentage of .308.

With all that being said, the Grizzlies will certainly have a tough task ahead of them as only one of five games against the Rush this season has seen a difference of more than two goals. The Rush have only lost by three goals twice this season with every other loss being decided by one or two so they will certainly put themselves in position to win this weekend at home.

This weekend’s Schedule

Friday, January 22, 2021 – Utah at Rapid City @ 7:05 PM MST

Saturday, January 23, 2021 – Utah at Rapid City @ 7:05 PM MST.

New Faces

The Grizzlies have seen some significant change of the roster over the last couple weeks. Utah added goaltenders Kevin Carr, Evan Buitenhuis and defenseman Hunter Skinner to the roster in a series of transactions on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. The Grizzlies also signed forward Riley Woods and defensemen Ryan Lowney and Ryker Killins and have added them to the roster.

Kevin Carr is a familiar name to Grizzlies fans as he has played in 63 games for Utah. Carr went 12-11-6 with a .909 save percentage and a 2.71 goals-against-average in the 2017-18 season.

Buitenhuis played with the Worcester Railers for the past two seasons and won 24 games and had a .922 save percentage and a 2.70 goals against average.

Skinner played for team USA in the 2021 World Junior Championship, who won gold on January 5, 2021 with a 2-0 win over Canada.

Woods played with the Newfoundland Growlers last season, scoring 37 points (13 goals, 24 assists).

Lowney has previous experience in this league with the Fort Wayne Komets from 2017-2019.

Killins played last season with the Rapid City Rush, scoring 21 points (5 goals, 16 assists) in 47 games. He also played in three games with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners last season.

Making the Leap

Goaltender Parker Gahagen was loaned to the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. Goaltender Peyton Jones, defenseman Ian Scheid and Matt Abt and forward Charlie Gerard were recalled to the Eagles.

Fellow ECHL rookies and Minnesota Mankato teammates Charlie Gerard, and Ian Scheid are both getting their first call up to the AHL. Forward, Gerard lead the Grizzlies in goals with 5 on the season and ranked eighth in rookie scoring with eight points (5G, 3A). Defenseman, Scheid had five points (2G, 3A) on the season and was even in plus/minus.

Rookie goaltender Jones will be making his debut in the AHL as well. Jones was 4-2-2 on season with a 3.10 GAA and .889 save percentage.

Former West Point Academy Goalie Parker Gahagen will be making his third return to the AHL on a loan to the Colorado Eagles. Gahagen was 1-1-1 on the season with a 2.10 GAA and a .930 save percentage.

Veteran Defenceman Abt returns to the AHL for his 3rd stint after scoring 5 pints (2G, 3A) and having plus/minus of +8 through 11 games this season.

Where to find the action

Utah Grizzly games are available to watch on Flohockey.TV with a paid subscription or they can be listened to for free on Mixlr.com. 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 Grizzly updates on our Welcome to Cup Talk podcast episodes on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Grizzly Season Stats

Record: 5-3-2-1

Winning Percentage: .591

Goals for: 34

Goals against: 33

Shorthanded goals: 4

Powerplay goals: 7

Power Play Percentage: 17%

Penalty Kill Percentage: 78%

Photo © Jess Fleming / Action Sports Photography

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