Grizzlies Insider Adam Turner on 7-4 Loss to Idaho on MLK Day
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.
• Discuss this story on the ECHL message board...
ECHL Stories from January 21, 2019
- Vanwormer Nets Two Goals in ECHL All Star Game - Kansas City Mavericks
- Eastern Conference Wins 2019 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic - ECHL
- Outdoor Hockey Returns to Fifth Third Field - Toledo Walleye
- Grizzlies Insider Adam Turner on 7-4 Loss to Idaho on MLK Day - Utah Grizzlies
- Grizzlies Fall 7-4 to Idaho on MLK Day - Utah Grizzlies
- Steelheads Open Road Trip with 7-4 Win over Grizzlies - Idaho Steelheads
- Stingrays Weekly Report - January 21 - South Carolina Stingrays
- ECHL Transactions - January 21 - ECHL
- 'Blades Weekly: Back from the West; IceMen up Next - Florida Everblades
- Atlanta Wins Thriller in a Shootout 2-1 over Jacksonville for Fifth Straight Victory - Atlanta Gladiators
- SC Announces Transactions to Start All-Star Break - South Carolina Stingrays
- Fuel Acquire Goaltender Gordon Defiel in Trade with South Carolina - Indy Fuel
- Royals in Playoff Positioning Heading to All-Star Break - Reading Royals
- Mariners Weekly: from a Nor'Easter to a White Out - Maine Mariners
- Thunder Weekly, January 21st - Wichita Thunder
- Grizzlies Homestand Ends Today - Utah Grizzlies
- Komets Break for ECHL All-Star Classic - Fort Wayne Komets
- Wheeling Nailers Weekly Report, January 21 - Wheeling Nailers
- Wings Weekly: Shootout Victory Sends Wings into All-Star Break on High Note - Kalamazoo Wings
- MacDonald and Hora Head to Lehigh Valley - Reading Royals
- Swamp Rabbits Weekly - Greenville Swamp Rabbits
- Oil Drops: Tulsa Oilers Weekly Report - January 21 - Tulsa Oilers
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.