November 28 Blog Entry: Game Day
11/28/2010 11:54 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies complete three-games-in-three-nights and four games-in five-nights looking for a perfect 4-0 week through California this evening in Ontario.
Utah improved to 9-2-1-1 on the road last night and took control of the Western Conference with a 3-2 win in Bakersfield running their conference leading record to 10-4-2-1. The Grizzlies arrived in Ontario around 1 a.m., but have shown no signs of road weariness the last few years. Utah was 3-0 on travel days last year and won their first game of the season on a travel day yesterday in Bakersfield. The Grizzlies also went 7-1-1-0 last year playing three-games-in-three nights.
The Grizzlies and J.P. Lamoureux have allowed just five goals and two five-on-five goals during the first three games of this trip. Lamoureux has a 3-0 record, a 1.67 goals-against-average and a .953 save percentage. He has stopped 101 of 106 shots this week.
Utah has also taken advantage of early power-plays, scoring on their first power-play in each of the first three games on this trip.
Tonight, Utah plays Ontario for the first time this year as they visit the sixth out of seven Western Conference arenas that they will play in with Victoria being the only venue that Utah has not gone to this year.
November 27 Blog Entry: Game Day
11/27/2010 11:39 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies and Condors complete their “best-of-seven” early season series tonight. In early lopsided scheduling, Utah plays their seventh of 17 overall games tonight against Bakersfield.
To-date, in the 2-3-3 formatted “series” with the first two games played at Maverik Center October 22 and 23 and the final five played in Bakersfield November 10, 12, 13 and 24 and 26; Utah has gone 4-2, while as far as the Condors are concerned they are 2-3-1-0.
Brad Snetsinger leads all scorers among the two teams with five goals, four assists and a five-game scoring streak entering tonight. Ric Jackman has been dominant on the power-play with four goals, three assists and a three-game scoring streak against the Condors.
Tonight will be Utah’s last game of the season at the Rabobank Arena, where they will have played five times in the last 18 days and spent eight nights next door at the hotel since November 8.
While the first five games between these two teams took at least four goals to win, the Grizzlies have won the last two contests by 3-2 scores. Utah arrived in Bakersfield around 2:30 a.m. this morning after playing last night in Stockton. Meanwhile the Condors, have been off since Wednesday’s game against the Grizzlies and complete an eight-game home stand tonight. They haven’t left this town in the last three weeks while, Utah has come and gone three times.
November 26 Blog Entry: Game Day
11/26/2010 10:12 AM - Adrian Denny
One thing that has helped make Utah’s 8-4-2-1 record look good this year has been the fact that goaltending has already won them several games.
J.P. Lamoureux stopping 14 of 15 shots in the second period Wednesday and all seven he saw in the third, gave Utah what they needed to earn the two points. Andrew Engelage has also earned three wins this year when stopping 35 shots or more and, like Lamoureux Wednesday, has robbed the opposition of scoring on several occasions.
The Grizzlies also got Brett Parnham going Wednesday as he scored his first two goals since last December. Battling several different injuries, Utah has been looking to get Brett going and healthy for some time after he scored 50 goals in his final year of OHL hockey in 2008-2009 and scored three goals in his first three pro games last year for Utah. Starting his first full week back in action after missing a month, Kevin Colley put Brett on the number one line with Brad Snetsinger and Simon Ferguson.
The Stockton Thunder will provide Utah with one of their biggest tests of the season tonight. The Thunder lead the Western Conference Standings with an 8-3-1-3 record, but have lost two-straight games and scored just one goal during that stretch. However, in Wednesday’s 1-0 home loss to Las Vegas, they outshot the Wranglers 42-13.
Utah, though with a win tonight and an Alaska loss in Elmira, can take the lead in the overall conference standings for themselves.
November 24 Blog Entry: Game Day
11/24/2010 10:37 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies return to Bakersfield where at 2-1, they have won here as much as anywhere early in the season.
Utah is 2-1 in Bakersfield and Boise, 1-0-0-1 in Las Vegas, 1-0-1-0 in Anchorage and 1-2-1-0 in Utah.
Paul Crowder, who is tied for the Utah lead with four multiple-point games, is not on the trip for the Grizzlies; who took a blow to their experienced forwards when Hugo Carpentier was called-up to Abbotsford Thursday and Paul Crowder was hurt Friday.
With four games in five nights and three-games-in-three-nights to wrap up the trip, including the final game being a 5 p.m. California time face-off Sunday, the Grizzlies have returned to full-strength in goaltending at a good time.
Andrew Engelage was very strong here in Bakersfield two weeks ago as he made 36-plus saves in Utah’s two wins. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies will see a different goaltender this weekend for Bakersfield in Peter Hirsch as Josh Tordjman will serve games four and five of a six-game suspension as a result of his actions after the game the last time Utah played here on November 13 and won in overtime.
Utah eluded the apparent “Blizzard of the Century” by bussing out of Salt Lake after practice Monday, staying in Las Vegas Monday night and arriving in Bakersfield yesterday afternoon where they held a practice here at the Rabobank Arena.
November 20 Blog Entry: Game Day
11/20/2010 10:28 AM - Adrian Denny
So far this year, when the Grizzlies and Alaska have met, all three games have been tied or within a goal in the third period and two of the three games have gone past regulation. The winner of tonight’s game will finish the weekend in sole possession of first place in the Mountain Division.
The Grizzlies will look to keep maybe their most important streak of the year going. Utah has not gone two-straight games this year without a win as they play their 14th game of the season tonight.
7,887 fans last night at Maverik Center moved Utah into third place overall in the league attendance standings with an average of over 6,000 fans a game.
Tonight, Utah is expected to go back to former Alaska goaltender J.P. Lamoureux in what will be his first start since October 23 after an AHL call-up and a stretch that saw Andrew Engelage go to 5-2-1-1. Lamoureux and Engelage make up one of the top goaltending tandems in the ECHL, both with championship experience.
Opposing teams have become weary of Marcus Carroll and Chris Donovan on the penalty-kill, not only are they strong in their own end, but they have generated several shorthanded scoring chances in the last week. The Grizzlies last night had a stretch ended of seven-straight games in which they had equal to or more power-plays than their opposition.
Brent Gauvreau has a team season-high four-game scoring streak entering tonight with four assists. Gauvreau has a gift for just manufacturing goals and his point-a-game habit is definitely well received.