Grizzlies Insider Adam Turner on Utah's 3-1 loss to Rapid City
Normally, when the Rapid City Rush pay a visit to the Maverik Center, victory is all but certain for the Utah Grizzlies. Lacing up the skates has historically produced two points for the home team against the perennial bottom feeders of the Mountain Division of the league. But this year's Rush club is different. Playing with a chip on their shoulder and looking to change their identity, the Rush hammered the Grizzlies, propelling themselves to a 3-1 victory and playing above .500 hockey.
"We didn't come ready to play and that's what happens," head coach Tim Branham said. "They outworked us and we put ourselves behind the eight ball. We need to be ready to go from the drop of the puck. We wanted an easy game tonight."
A nightmare of a first period ensued that found the Grizzlies playing their worst hockey of the year. Sloppy with the puck in their defensive end, the Rush smelled blood early and capitalized with three goals, leaving Utah goalie Joe Cannata exposed in each scoring sequence. Andrew Radjenovic is Rapid City's version of Caleb Herbert, and the Rush forward lodged his 13th and 14th goals of the season, sandwiched by a Tyler Poulson score. Notorious for outshooting and outscoring opponents in the first period, Utah this time found itself on the wrong side of 13-6 in shot attempts but most importantly dug themselves into a precarious 3-0 disadvantage on the scoreboard.
The Grizzlies cleaned some things up in the second and finally broke through when Cole Ully rifled a shot past Rush goalie Adam Carlson, who had been spectacular up until then. By the time it was all said and done, the Grizzlies had outshot the Rush 34-24 but the Ully goal was all the Grizzlies could muster. In fact, it was the only goal that Carlson has given up against Utah in the last 120 minutes.
"They've got a good goaltender but he's seeing everything and we're not getting enough bodies in front of him," Branham said. "We need guys to step up and accept their roles and we didn't do that tonight."
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Utah Grizzlies discuss their options
Utah Grizzlies defenseman Joey Raats
Utah Grizzlies and Rapid City Rush fight
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