Grizzlies Insider: Grizzlies Look to Start a New Streak
The surging Utah Grizzlies couldn't have picked a better time to play their best hockey of the season and now is the perfect time to experience the fun and excitement of Grizzlies hockey. Having only lost once in regulation in their last 11 games, the club is scratching and clawing its way in anticipation of an 11th consecutive playoff appearance.
One player in particular is leading the charge and that player is Austin Ortega, who was recalled Tuesday after his hot stretch. Not only was Ortega playing brilliant hockey, he is breaking Utah records in the process. Recording an assist in 11 straight games and running his scoring streak to 13 games, no player in the Grizzlies' colorful history has accomplished such a feat. For his achievements, Ortega was named ECHL player of the week.
"We're battling for a playoff spot and we've been playing with desperation over the course of these last ten games," Ortega said before his promotion. "It's an accomplishment that I'm proud of but there are bigger awards that we can accomplish as a team."
During the ten game unbeaten streak, Utah had outscored its opponent by 16 goals, scored first in nine straight games, and four of Utah's last five wins have been by three goals or more. And Ortega wasn't the only one playing well. Brad Navin has registered 16 points on six goals and 10 assists, and Taylor Richart has 14 points on six goals and eight assists.
But don't forget about the captain, Ryan Walters. Leading the ECHL with eight goals during the nine game winning streak, Walters joined Ortega in becoming the first Utah teammates to lodge back to back player of the week awards since December of 2014.
Utah faces some tough challenges ahead and will need to play with the same determination and will as the club takes to the road to face a pair of Northern Division foes. First up will be a two game set against the first place Manchester Monarchs March 16th and 17th. The Grizzlies will then square off for a Sunday matinee against the Worcester Railers before returning home for a three game set against the defending ECHL champion Colorado Eagles March 21st, 23rd and 24th at the Maverik Center.
"I want to say how proud I am of this team for the run they went on," Head Coach Tim Branham said. "It was really good and you can see what kind of hockey this team is capable of playing."
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