WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – The Utah Grizzlies and the Allen Americans battled Friday night, with the Grizzlies defeating Allen 6-4.
The scoring started early as Chad Costello sniped the puck from the slot putting it past Cole Kehler who was making his first start at home just 34 seconds into the first. It took time but the Grizzlies finally found their energy as Luke Martin took a shot from just inside the blue line sniping it past Hayden Levigne 5:28 into the first. Just under three minutes later it was Jared Bethune getting a shot from the left circle who put the Americans up 2-1 after a very beautiful drop pass from Jackson Leppard.
With a minute left in the first, it looked like the Grizzlies were going to go into the locker room down 2-1, however, second-year player Mason Mannek got a one-timer from the right circle and sniped the puck in and out of the net to tie the game with 54 seconds left. There’s an old saying in hockey that “if you score one, you score two” and the Grizzlies did just that as it was Tyler Penner on a shot from just outside the goalie crease getting the go-ahead goal with just six seconds left in the first.
The Grizzlies had a lot of momentum going into the second period, but that was stunted as they were called for a too many men bench minor early in the period. As the penalty came to an end, Penner registered his second goal of the game at the 2:34 mark of the period, making it 4-2 Grizzlies. The Americans, knowing they needed a goal before the Grizzlies start to run away with the game, got the lamplighter off a Jared Bethune snapshot with 12:50 left in the second making it a one-goal game. But the Grizzlies regained a two-goal lead when Brian Bowen fired a wicked shot that took a bounce off the Allen defender for his tenth goal of the season, to make it 5-3 Grizzlies.
The game turned physical in the final period, starting with all-star Charle-Edouard D’Astous getting whistled for a cross-checking minor. On the immediate whistle, pushing and shoving started which resulted in Mannek and Dawson Butt got into it and both guys getting some good punches in. Both guys got five for fighting and ten for misconduct.
With just under two minutes left in the game, Andrew Nielsen and Andrew Jarvis dropped the gloves, ultimately resulting in a power play for the Americans. After that, it was D’Astous getting a delay of game minor, which resulted in a 5-on-3 power play with 1:06 left. The power-play unit for Allen finally got something done as Costello fired a shot from the left point that beat Kehler, to make the final score 6-4 Grizzlies.
What Went Right, What Went Wrong:
The Grizzlies special teams were average on Friday as they go 0-for-4 on the man advantage and 6-for-7 on the penalty kill. The offense had some great chances when they had the puck, hitting the post twice.
What to Look for in Tonight’s game:
Friday night’s game ended very physically, and I do expect that tonight’s game will be that way. The Grizzlies have scored six goals each in the last two games, so I will be watching to see if they can stay hot on the scoreboard.
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