Game Day Blog Entry: December 31
12/31/2013 10:12 AM - Adam Turner
After tonight, the Grizzlies go to Orlando tomorrow for games Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Utah returns home for four games in five nights next Tuesday and Wednesday with Las Vegas and Friday and Saturday with Stockton. Utah looks for their first three-game winning streak of the year tonight. Utah hosts Las Vegas in their next three home games and currently lead Las Vegas by two points with one game in hand in the Western Conference. Utah is 3-0-1-0 during midweek games at home this year.
Game Day Blog Entry: December 28
12/28/2013 1:09 PM - Adam Turner
A Year Ago Tonight
Game Day Blog Entry: December 27
12/27/2013 10:33 AM - Adam Turner
Aaron Dell is slated to make his first start of the year against Colorado tonight. Dell was called-up to Manchester two days before the Grizzlies and Eagles met November 16 and 18 at Maverik Center after he beat Ontario in two-straight games November 9 and 11 stopping 48 of 50 shots against the Reign.
Grizzlies forward Norm Ezekiel played 27 games with Colorado last year while with the Winnipeg organization as he split time between St. John’s in the AHL and here.
Colorado is a league best 11-2-1-1 at home, while Utah is still looking to get things going on the road, with their only road win being 3-0 in San Francisco on November 30.
Defensemen Brendan Jamison and Mike Folkes will both return to the Grizzlies lineup tonight. Neither player has played since November 29.
Phil Mangan, acquired yesterday in a trade with Fort Wayne, will arrive and be in the lineup this weekend.
Game Day Blog Entry: December 21
12/21/2013 1:47 PM - Adam Turner
Vinny Scarsella has an assist in both games so far this week in Anchorage for his first two-game scoring streak of the year.
Patrick O’Keefe led Utah last night with six shots and what was originally ruled his first pro goal was redirected in by Kris Hogg, so instead that play becomes O’Keefe’s third assist of the year and second point in three games.
The Grizzlies would like to replicate their third periods into the first period tonight. They have outshot Alaska 31-14 in the third periods, but have been outshot 28-16 in the first periods.
The Aces have grabbed early leads in each game thus far as they scored 2:42 into the first period Wednesday and 1:07 into the game last night to take 1-0 leads. Utah has fallen behind in the first period in eight of their ten road games thus far, which has been the biggest issue playing away from Maverik Center.
Tonight will wrap up six of the last eight games against Alaska and the six-game season series between the two teams.
While Utah will travel back from Alaska after the game, their trek home for Christmas break will be much simpler than the Stockton Thunder. The Thunder bussed to Ontario Thursday to play the Reign Friday, then bussed back after the game to host Ontario tonight. They will then bus back to Ontario to play the Reign Sunday and then will bus back to Stockton again to wrap up the weekend.
Game Day Blog Entry: December 20
12/20/2013 1:04 PM - Adam Turner
The line of David Vallorani, Jamie MacQueen and Vincent Scarsella generated the most scoring chances for the Grizzlies Wednesday as Head Coach/GM Tim Branham expected they would thrive playing on the wider ice sheet in Anchorage.
The Grizzlies all season long have generated more scoring chances than the opposition, draw more power-plays and allow fewer shots.
They have drawn 110 power-plays to 97 shorthanded chances and have the fifth best penalty-kill in the league. They also rank third in the ECHL’s Western Conference in penalty minutes.
They’ve outshot the opposition 658-603. They’re fifth in the ECHL in goals allowed at 2.55 goals-per-game. They’re seventh in shots allowed in the 23 team league at 27.41.
They do just about everything right, and at an elite level except score goals, where they rank last in the league at a flat two-goals-per game.
So what that means, is when this roster, who should be scoring goals finally starts, this team will be good. But it doesn’t just happen, it takes hard work, going to the tough areas and burying chances when you get them to get to the final check-off point on this list.
Game Day Blog Entry: December 18
12/18/2013 10:48 AM - Adam Turner
The Grizzlies resume six of eight games against Alaska tonight with games also Friday and Saturday in Anchorage. They are the only six meetings of the season between the two teams.
Defenseman and AHL contract Teigan Zahn will be back in the lineup tonight after missing three games injured, in which the Grizzlies have gone 0-3.
The Grizzlies look to get back on track after allowing nine goals in two games in Bakersfield. Prior to that, the Grizzlies had allowed just eight goals in their last six games.
Offensively, things however started to roll for Utah as for the second time this year they scored six goals in two games. Utah has also scored a goal in six-straight periods for the first time this year.
The Grizzlies have added veteran goaltender Nick Niedert as an emergency backup goaltender. He played last year in Reading and Gwinnett of the ECHL.
Game Day Blog Entry: December 14
12/14/2013 10:47 AM - Adam Turner
Last night the Grizzlies had 40 shots in a game for the first time in 19 games, scored two power-play goals in a game for the second time this year and had their second largest shot differential by outshooting Bakersfield by 18. It resulted in three goals in a contest for the fifth time in 20 games as Utah definitely had some swagger and confidence last night offensively.
They have also gone a season-high four-straight games without allowing a power-play goal and are 18-18 in that stretch.
Everyone in Bakersfield, echoed the sediment that the Grizzlies dominated last night’s game, but Condors goaltender Chet Pickard stole the contest for them.
Condors Head Coach Troy Mann with these comments this morning in the Bakersfield Californian: "Picks was the best player on the ice. Overall he stole us one. Early in the year we weren't getting that. I thought he was excellent tonight. He was seeing the puck. Give (Utah) some credit. They were throwing the puck from all over the place. He was excellent."
Game Day Blog Entry: December 13
12/13/2013 11:28 AM - Adam Turner
The Bakersfield Condors and their fans can breathe easy knowing that this weekend’s opponent the Utah Grizzlies has actually arrived in town and will participate in both of these weekend’s games.
The Condors last home game against Las Vegas on Saturday had to be postponed due to the Wranglers being unable to make it due to weather in the mountains east of Bakersfield.
Ben Meisner is in the same situation this weekend as he was last March to start his pro career; opening a road trip with two games in Bakersfield where he will be the guy, with a local emergency backup goaltender. Three days after his college career ended last year, Meisner signed with Utah, flew into California and joined the Grizzlies for four games in five nights where he stopped 66 of 70 shots in his first two pro games in March 13 and 15.
Despite being in the ECHL since 2002-2003 and Bakersfield being in the league since 2003-2004, this is Head Coach Tim Branham’s first ever trip to Rabobank Arena.
Game Day Blog Entry: December 7
12/07/2013 10:22 AM - Adam Turner
Utah looks for five of six points in a three-game series against Alaska for the first time ever. Utah took the first two games against Alaska January 31 and February 1 before falling 4-2 February 2, 2008 at Maverik Center. Utah swept a two-game series against Alaska in October of 2005, March of 2006 and in October of 2011, all three at Maverik Center.
Game Day Blog Entry: December 6
12/06/2013 10:11 AM - Adam Turner
Utah looks for their first three-game winning streak of the year tonight. Utah trails Alaska by six points in the Western Conference standings, with two games left on the weekend and each team having played 17 games.
Game Day Blog Entry: December 4
12/04/2013 9:42 AM - Adam Turner
With Head Coach/GM Tim Branham spreading out his line of Danick Paquette, Kris Hogg, Brent Gwidt and Norm Ezekiel on Saturday, Utah got scoring from all three forward lines in a game for the first time this year.