WEST VALLEY CITY, UT- How sweep it is! The Grizzlies went into the two-game weekend series against the Rush having won four straight already. On Friday night, the Rush almost scored 18 seconds in however they hit the post on the way to a weekend sweep and sixth win in a row.
It was a lot of Grizzlies energy after that, getting the first power play of the game at 3:35 when Zach Court went off for two minutes for slashing however they failed to register a shot on goal despite getting the first six shots on goal. Andrew Nielsen went to the box at 6:29 of the first when he got called for roughing, and despite getting some pressure on Peyton Jones, the Rush failed to score. The first great opportunity of the game for the Grizzlies came at 8:58 to play in the 1st when Quinn Ryan got a pass off the boards, however, it was Lukas Parik saying no.
The scoring finally started when Stephen Baylis put the puck into the net with a one-timer shot from the edge of the crease with 3:02 left. The assists went to Max Coatta and Alec Butcher. The second period was a fun one to watch as the intensity picked up. With 17:07 to play in the second, Grizzlies Captain Trey Bradley got a rebound on the left side of the crease on a scramble in front of the net. The Grizzlies seemed to have a note saying if you score one you score two because that is exactly what they did 3:39 later on a 5-3 power-play goal by Nielsen on a one-timer slap shot from the right faceoff circle.
In the third period, the Grizzlies were hoping for some insurance. The Rush, however, had other plans when Butcher scored his second goal of the season on a quick shot from the left circle to tie the game at 2-2. The Grizzlies didn’t back down on the Rush when 1:47 later the Grizzlies scored on a beautiful pass from Bradley to Neil Robinson who was right in front of the net for his first career goal. Jones came up big on a massive one-timer by Court who was all alone in the slot. Just 30 seconds after the save, the Grizzlies got another goal on a redirect by Brian Bowen at 7:01 of the 3rd period. Brandon Cutler put the game away with 6:19 to play in the 3rd on a slapshot goal from just inside the blue line.
Emotions boiled over eventually, as Kenton Helgesen and Austin Crossley dropped the gloves with 4:54 to play. Crossley got in quite a few jabs, winning the fight and sending the Maverik Center into a massive cheer. The Grizzlies won 5-2 in front of 3,016 fans.
On Saturday night, the action got started very quick as Luke Martin got his first goal of the season via a wrist shot after a nice pass from Bradley at 5:10 of the first, but it was only 66 seconds later that the Rush tied the game up on a Baylis shot that found the back of the net through a lot of traffic. The Grizzlies decided that a tie wasn’t going to work and that is when D’Astous scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season on the power play with 5:56 to play in the first.
The action picked up in the 2nd at 12:09 of the 2nd the Rush equalized on a power-play goal by Brett Gravelle on a shot that was close to the crease. The madness then picked up with just under five minutes to play Baylis high-sticked a member of the Grizzlies, and chaos ensued with Crossley facing off against Nelson in a fight with Crossley landing a few uppercuts to win the fight again. Both teams got five minutes for fighting and for the Rush: Baylis for a high stick and Crossley also getting a “ruffing” call on “Pooch on the Pond” night in Utah.
It was another entertaining third period as the Grizzlies Cutler and Ryan scored two goals 71 seconds apart in the middle portion of the frame. The final score looked to be 4-2 Utah until Colton Leiter got a goal on a mad scramble around Jones to score with 14 seconds left, the final then went to 4-3 in favor of the Grizzlies in front of 3,495 fans.
The Good and the Bad
Something that the Grizzlies need to start improving on very soon is their penalty kill as the Grizzlies went one for four on the weekend. Another thing that needs work is the defensive reinforcements as several breakaways were allowed. However, something that is looking up is the Grizzlies’ goaltending. Trent Miner got called up to the AHL’s Eagles last week forcing Jones to step up after losing his first game of the season vs Idaho on October 23rd. He did just that stopping 45 out of 50 shots in the two-game sweep.
The Grizzlies now go on the road to Glens Falls, New York to face the Adirondack Thunder with puck drop at 5 pm EST on Friday and Saturday with a 3 pm EST puck drop on Sunday.
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