by Website Admin

The Outliers completed a pair of home games this past weekend against the Rock Springs Grizzlies at the Acord Ice Center. Utah earned 3 points in the two-game set as they lost 3-2 in OT on Friday but bounced back on Saturday for a 4-1 victory. 

OUTLIERS 2, Grizzlies 3 OT (jan 5th)

The Outliers had been riding a wave of momentum as they entered their game against Rock Springs on Friday night. The team was on a 9-game winning streak and they were looking to add another victory to that total. The Grizzlies had plans of their own for this matchup and proved to be a tough opponent in this contest. 

The Outliers got off to a hot start on Friday as the team scored in the opening minute of the game to give the club an early 1-0 lead and put Rock Springs on their heels. 

Utah defenseman, Brady Jones gained control of the puck in his zone and wired a stretch pass up to the far blue line to teammate Daniil Chuparnov. Skating at full speed, Chuparnov broke free down the right side of the ice and into the Grizzlies zone where he rifled a quick shot into the back of the net. 

Rock Springs responded with a goal of their own at the 15:07 mark to tie the game at 1-1. The Grizzlies gained control of the puck in the neutral zone and entered the Outliers zone off the rush. Upon entering the zone, Rock Springs forward, Luke Anthony released a shot from the top of the circle that beat Utah goaltender Connor Graham low to the glove side. 

The first period concluded without any further scoring as neither team could manufacture much offense. Utah managed to muster up just 9 shots in the period while the Grizzlies finished with only 7 shots in the opening frame.  

The second period proved to be a fairly sloppy period for the Outliers as they continued to struggle to find their rhythm. Some uncharacteristic turnovers by Utah led to some momentum for the Grizzlies as they put pressure on Connor Graham between the pipes. 

Rock Springs capitalized on their second goal of the evening when they scored with just 52 seconds remaining in the second frame. While controlling the puck deep in the Outliers zone, the Grizzlies made a pass into the slot where Owen Meyer would be left all alone and drill his shot past Graham into the top corner. 

The Outliers left the ice to head into the second intermission trailing by a score of 2-1 and once again struggled to produce many quality shots in the period.

In the third period, the home team found its skating legs and began to produce some offense. Utah attacked the net hard and started to control the momentum. The offensive pressure by the Outliers eventually drew a penalty to put the club on the power play.

While moving the puck around the Grizzlies zone with the man advantage, Utah's David Utkin rolled high to the top of the zone and pounded his shot from the point which found its way into the net. This was the equalizer the Outliers needed and it seemed to provide a much-needed spark for the team. 

With the score deadlocked at 2-2, Utah pressed the Grizzles zone and began peppering their net. Rock Spring's netminder Brady Govero was forced to make a handful of big saves to keep Utah off the board game in the final eight minutes of the period and force the game into overtime. 

In overtime, it was the Grizzlies who made their shot count. A loose puck in the Utah zone was recovered by Rock Springs which turned into a 2-on-1 and the visiting team made no mistake on their opportunity as they buried their shot for the game-winner and a 3-2 OT win. 

The loss broke the Outliers 9-game win streak but they did pick up an extra point having forced the game into overtime. Shots on goal for the contest ended up 26-24 in favor of Utah. 


Utah would be looking for revenge in this game as the sting of the previous night's loss was still fresh in their minds. Utah's Connor Graham and Grizzlies goalie Brady Govero would once again get the call in the net as they both played well in Friday's battle. 

Saturday's game started with a lot of physical play and board battles as each team attempted to impose its will on its opponent. With neither team giving an inch, the offense was once again hard to come by and when an opportunity did present itself, the goalies shut the door.

Utah was eventually rewarded for its persistence and once again scored the first goal of the evening. Outliers forward, Nathan Huntington skated the puck behind the Grizzlies net and made a slick spin-o-rama pass to teammate Magzhan Sagadiev who was open in the slot. Sagadiev released a laser of a shot past a surprised Rock Springs netminder. 

The Outliers looked to extend their lead when they were awarded a power play. Utah moved the puck around the Rock Springs zone but the home team made an errant pass which resulted in a turnover and sent Grizzlies forward John Kremer on a breakaway and his shot tied the game. 

Both teams would head to the locker room after the opening frame tied 1-1. Shots on goal favored Utah by a margin of 10-8. 

As they have done so often this season, Utah struck early in the second period. Just three minutes into the second frame, defenseman Jentzen Kaebel fed an outlet pass to Bailey Ewonus who broke free for a 2-on-1 attack. Ewonus held onto the puck as he skated toward the Grizzlies net and then blasted his shot over the glove of the goaltender. 

There would be no additional scoring in the second period and both teams would head into the locker room with the Outliers leading by a score of 2-1 and outshooting Rock Springs by a margin of 14-6. 

The third period was a terrific demonstration of penalty killing for the Outliers as they added two shorthanded goals to give them a 4-1 lead and take control of the game. Utah's third goal of the game came off the stick of Garrett Joss who was fed a breakaway pass and made a perfect shot into the back of the net. Utah followed up by scoring their fourth goal of the contest and their second shorthanded tally of the evening when Evan England was the recipient of a pass that went off his body and trickled over the goal line. 

Utah skated off the ice with a convincing 4-1 victory and added another two points into the win column. The team showed a lot of persistence to bounce back from Friday's defeat and get back to their winning ways. Connor Graham stood tall in the net and registered 23 saves for his team.