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Grizzlies Insider Adam Turner on 7-4 Loss to Idaho on MLK Day

January 21, 2019 - ECHL (ECHL) - Utah Grizzlies News Release

What amounts to a great rivalry is two teams that not only face each other several times throughout a season, but have similar records against the other. The Utah Grizzlies and Idaho Steelheads have already met eight times this season, and wouldn't you know it? Each team has won four and lost four. Round nine took place at the Maverik Center and unfortunately for the Grizzlies, it was Idaho, on the strength of a three goal second period, that escaped with a 7-4 victory.

"From here on out the games get hard and this is unquestionably the best division in the league no questions asked," head coach Tim Branham said. "It's going to take everybody, every single night to get a win."

Although Utah was spectacular on special teams, they played poorly at even strength. Three of Utah's four goals were the result of a power play, but all six goals surrendered were 5 on 5. Joe Cannata, who was spectacular Saturday night, had a second uncharacteristically poor outing for two of his last three games, surrendering six goals on 23 shots.

Idaho forward Steven McParland is a Utah killer, and Monday's matinee was no exception. McParland blazed the back of the net twice on two laser beams for his 14th and 15th goal of the year. It was McParland's fifth and sixth goals against the Grizzlies.

Also capitalizing on Utah's defensive miscues were Jeff King, Spencer Naas and Clint Lewis. Once Cannata was pulled in the waning moments, Idaho's Brad McLure flipped the puck almost the length of the ice for the easy empty netter to complete the scoring.

Special teams were on point for the Grizzlies on both ends of the ice. Utah was able to withstand a lengthy 5 on 3 power play, due in large part to defenseman Taylor Richart sacrificing his body to block numerous pucks.

"He's done a good job of defending," Branham said. "He's probably leading the league in blocks along with Teigan Zahn. Those guys do whatever it takes and that's what it takes to win.

And offensively, the power play was humming along nicely as Caleb Herbert blistered the net not once but twice for his 20th and 21st goal of the season. And with a melee in front of the net on Utah's second power play, Austin Carroll J.T. Henke batted at the puck until it finally trickled past the pads of former Grizzlie goalie Ryan Faragher.

"I'm happy with the special teams, we were able to score three goals there and that's a positive that we can build on," Branham said.

The Grizzlies, having played their fourth game in six nights, appeared fatigue and Branham admitted as much. "We look a little tired to be honest and we've played a lot of hockey lately but I like our chances going on the road and getting some guys healthy," he said.

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