Grizzlies Weekly: Season Begins December 11th at Rapid City
West Valley City, Utah - The Utah Grizzlies begin the 2020-21 regular season with a 2 game road series at Rapid City on December 11th and 12th. Face-off for both games will be at 7:05 pm.
The Grizzlies will be celebrating 25 seasons of hockey all season long. They have been a consistent winner throughout their franchise history. Last season the Grizzlies were on pace to make the postseason with a .637 winning percentage, the best in team history. Utah has made the playoffs in 11 of their last 12 seasons that completed with the playoffs (were on pace for 12 of 13 last season). In the 25 seasons the Grizzlies have a .500 winning % or better in 20 of those years. In the club's first season in Utah, the Grizzlies won the IHL Turner Cup in the 1995-96 season.
The first 10 games of the 2020-21 schedule have been released. The Grizzlies will be home on December 18th - 19th vs Tulsa and December 31st and January 1st-2nd vs Rapid City.
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Tickets for every Grizzlies game are available at utahgrizzlies.com or by calling (801) 988-8000. The current capacity at Maverik Center will be 1,800 to start the season. For continuing updates on the season, follow the Grizzlies on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Grizzlies Roster (Subject to change)
Forwards: Tommy Besinger, Diego Cuglietta, Brayden Gelsinger, Charlie Gerard, Matt Hoover, Christian Horn, Jack Jenkins, Mitch Maxwell, Mike McNicholas, Cedric Pare, Jared Pike, Denis Smirnov, Yuri Terao, Joe Wegwerth.
Defenseman: Matt Abt, JC Brassard, Wyatt Ege, Miles Gendron, Edwin Hookenson, Tanner Jago, Garrett Johnston, Alex Lepkowski, Kris Myllari, Ian Scheid, Teigan Zahn.
Goaltenders: Brad Barone, Peyton Jones.
Head Coach: Tim Branham - 249 wins over 7 seasons. The winningest coach in team history.
Assistant Coach: Ryan Kinasewich - 4th season as assistant coach. The franchises all-time leader in goals, assists and points.
Equipment Manager: Matthew Schwegmann - 2nd season with the Grizzlies. Previously spent time with Jacksonville in the ECHL and Peoria in the SPHL.
Trainer: Collin Lee - First year Grizzlies trainer. Previously worked with the South Carolina Stingrays training staff.
There are 8 players returning from last season's club. Yuri Terao led all returning players with 40 points last year, which was 5th best on the team. Yuri had 5 game winning goals. Terao had 13 power play points (3 G, 10 A) and was also 2nd on the teams in shots (174). Joe Wegwerth had 14 goals and 12 assists in 2019-20. Joe's 6 power play goals were tied for 2nd on the team. Mitch Maxwell earned the nickname "Mr. Clutch" for his penchant for scoring the big goals at key times. On 3 different occasions Maxwell scored the deciding goal in a shootout. Mitch had 11 goals and 8 assists last season and was 1 of 9 players to score double digit goals. Jack Jenkins had a solid rookie year, scoring 7 goals and 18 assists in 52 games. The rookie out of Notre Dame returns for year 2 in Utah.
Christian Horn scored a goal at Rapid City on March 7th in his only game for Utah after being acquired in a trade with Norfolk on March 6th.
2 Defenseman Returning
Teigan Zahn is back for his 9th professional season and 4th with the Grizzlies. Zahn was with the 2013-14 Utah club before playing with the Colorado Eagles for 4 seasons and winning back-to-back Kelly Cups in 2017, 2018. Zahn played in all 72 games in the 2018-19 season and participated in 24 games and had a +6 rating before suffering a season ending injury. JC Brassard returns for another season. He had 3 goals and 9 assists in 35 games last year after being acquired in a trade with Greenville.
Brad Barone returns for his 2nd season with Utah. Brad's finest hour with the club was a 24 save shutout at Rapid City on December 7th, 2019. Barone had a respectable .908 save percentage and a 2.58 goals against average for Utah last season.
Peyton Jones had a successful 4 year college career at Penn State University, where he broke the school records for games, minutes, wins and saves. His 42 Big Ten wins are a conference record.
Forward Cedric Pare played on the same line with the 2020 #1 overall NHL draft pick Alexis Lafreniere with the QMJHL's Rimouski Océanic. Last season was a breakthrough campaign for Pare, who finished in the league in goals (37), fifth in assists (51) and sixth in points (88). Pare was also part of the 2017 Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL championship team.
Mike McNicholas played with the Maine Mariners the last 2 seasons and is their all-time leader in points (91), assists (67), and games played (125).
Diego Cuglietta led the NCAA with 25 goals in his senior season with Lake Superior State University in the 2018-19 season. Last year he split time with the AHL's Texas Stars and ECHL's Idaho Steelheads. Cuglietta was a teammate in Idaho last season with defenseman Tanner Jago, who also signed with Utah. While playing at Lake Superior State he was a teammate from 2017-2019 with forward Brayden Gelsinger. Brayden would have made his professional debut for Utah on March 13th, 2020 vs Allen but the game and eventually the season was cancelled. The same can be said with forward Matt Hoover, who had 4 successful seasons at Canisius College.
Jared Pike is a Sandy, Utah native. The local boy did good while playing for American International College in Springfield, Mass. Pike was awarded the 2020 Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award, given annually to the NCAA Division 1 player judged to best exemplify the qualities of sportsmanship, competitiveness, intelligence and work ethic.
3 members of last season's Minnesota State - Mankato team are new members of the Grizzlies family. Defensemen Ian Scheid and Edwin Hookinson reunite with forward Charlie Gerard in Utah. All 3 were teammates at Mankato for 4 seasons, winning 3 straight college conference championships.
A trio of Penn State Nittany Lions join the club. Goaltender Peyton Jones, defenseman Kris Mylleri and forward Denis Smirnov were each at Penn State for the past 4 seasons. Penn State won 85 games while they were in the program.
D-men Garrett Johnston and Miles Gendron each played with the Newfoundland Growlers last season. Johnston was a key defenseman for Newfoundland on their 2019 Kelly Cup Championship run.
Alex Lepkowski played at Acadia University for 4 seasons. Before that he spent the 2014-15 season with the ECHL's Missouri Mavericks.
Wyatt Ege played at the Ohio State University for the past 4 seasons. He was a college teammate with Sasha Larocque, who was a defenseman with Utah last season.
Matt Abt split last season with Wilkes Barre/Scranton and Wheeling.
Tommy Besinger is a quality scorer, who had 20 goals in 32 games with Mulhouse in France last season.
This Week's Games (Both games can be seen on Flohockey.tv
December 11th, 2020 - Utah at Rapid City. 7:10 pm.
December 12th, 2020 - Utah at Rapid City. 7:10 pm.
Double Digit Goal Scorers Last Season
9 different Grizzlies players had double digit goal seasons. Ty Lewis led the way with 25 goals. Griffen Molino had 22, followed by Tim McGauley (20), Yuri Terao (18), Josh Dickinson (16), Joe Wegwerth (14), Taylor Richart (12), Travis Barron and Mitch Maxwell each had 11.
Schedule From December 11th, 2020 - January 14th, 2021
Friday, December 11, 2020 - Utah at Rapid City. 7:05 pm.
Saturday, December 12, 2020 - Utah at Rapid City. 7:05 pm.
Friday, December 18, 2020 - Tulsa at Utah. 7:10 pm.
Saturday, December 19, 2020 - Tulsa at Utah. 7:10 pm.
Thursday, December 31, 2020 - Rapid City at Utah. 5:00 pm.
Friday, January 1, 2021 - Rapid City at Utah. 7:10 pm.
Saturday, January 2, 2021 - Rapid City at Utah. 7:10 pm.
Friday, January 8, 2021 - Utah at Tulsa. 7:05 pm.
Saturday, January 9, 2021 - Utah at Tulsa. 7:05 pm.
Sunday, January 10, 2021 - Utah at Tulsa. 4:05 pm.
Team Leaders (2019-20)
Goals: Ty Lewis (25)
Assists: Tim McGauley (42) - Led league.
Points: McGauley (62) - 2nd in league.
Plus/Minus: McGauley (+35) - 2nd in league.
PIM: Patrick McGrath (86)
Power Play Points: Taylor Richart (17) - 8 goals, 9 assists.
Shots on Goal: Taylor Richart (189)
Shooting Percentage: Josh Dickinson (17.6 %)
Game Winning Goals: Yuri Terao/Griffen Molino (5)
Wins: Martin Ouellette (18)
Save %: Hunter Miska (.947) Ouellette has a .921 Save %
Goals Against Average: Miska (1.62) Ouellette has a (2.16).
Hat Tricks This Season
Josh Dickinson - 2 (October 16th, 18th).
Tim McGauley - 1 (December 6th).
Joe Wegwerth - 1 (December 27th).
Ty Lewis - 1 (January 13th).
4 Goal Game - Ty Lewis - 1 (December 17th).
Scoring 1st 2nd 3rd OT SO TOTAL Shots 1st 2nd 3rd OT TOTAL
Utah Grizzlies 53 78 68 4 4 207 Utah Grizzlies 697 686 596 52 2031
Opposition 44 61 48 7 4 164 Opposition 539 590 514 50 1693
2019-2020 Regular Season Totals
Overall record: 34-17-7-4
Home record: 18-7-2-2. Utah has outscored opponents 90 to 66 at home.
Road record: 16-10-5-2. Utah outscored opponents 117 to 98 on the road.
Last 10 games: Utah was 4-2-2-2
Goals per game: 3.34 (9th in the league).
Goals against per game: 2.65 (5th).
Shots per game: 32.82 (8th).
Shots against per game: 27.37 (2nd).
Utah outshot opponents in 42 of the 62 games last season.
Images from this story
Utah Grizzlies vs. the Rapid City Rush
Utah Grizzlies vs. the Rapid City Rush
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