Grizzlies Insider Adam Turner on 5-3 Wednesday Win
Things were looking dire for the Utah Grizzlies in the second period against the visiting Wichita Thunder when the home team failed to take advantage of a five minute major penalty assessed to Thunder forward Jakob Stukel. Moments later, former Grizzlies Cam Reid and Ralph Cuddemi combined on an assist and goal when Reid buried a chance against a shielded goalie in Utah's Kevin Carr. Suddenly, the Grizzlies found themselves on the wrong side of a 2-1 contest and it's once dominant power play was dormant.
Not to worry. Utah forwards Jack Walker, Travis Barron and Jake Marchment answered the bell in spectacular fashion. A three goal flurry ensued and most encouraging was the fact that two of the three scores were the result of special teams as the power play awoke. By the time Tim McGauley rifled a successful shot, Wichita goalie Stuart Skinner's night came to a premature conclusion. In the end, Utah continued its dominance of the Thunder, skating to a 5-3 victory and continued its stranglehold on Wichita, having swept the Thunder in the four contests played this season.
"We finally got our power play clicking and it was a great play across seam and I got a good piece of the puck and it's always good when that happens," Walker said. "They're a physical hockey team and we come ready to play. We know what they're going to bring and we match that. We have a good thing going right now."
And welcome back from the Manitoba Moose Austin Carroll. Following a stint in the AHL, Carroll has announced his presence with authority. With a goal in Sunday's loss against the Allen Americans, Carroll followed that effort up with a one goal, two goal performance as his return has been more than welcome.
"American league experience and winning experience is what Carroll possesses and we're happy to have him back as long as we have him" head coach Tim Branham said. "He was especially critical in our success in the first part of the season."
Despite Wichita's success as an above .500 hockey team, the Grizzlies match up well against the Thunder and seemingly have their number.
"We were short handed again tonight but we found a way to get it done. That's a good hockey team and they're hard to play against but we're able to put opportunities on them. They're very talented and that's why I'm proud of our effort tonight," Branham said.
The Grizzlies will look to make it five for five against the Thunder as Utah squares off for game two in the three game series against Wichita Friday night.
Images from this story
Utah Grizzlies goaltender Kevin Carr eyes a loose puck against the Wichita Thunder
Utah Grizzlies prepare to fire a shot against the Wichita Thunder
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ECHL Stories from January 3, 2019
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