Outliers Sweep Grizzlies
The Utah Outliers swept the Rock Springs Grizzlies in a pair of games during their home-and-home series over the Thanksgiving weekend. Utah won by a score of 4-1 and 3-2 in OT.
UTAH OUTLIERS 4, ROCK SPRINGS GRIZZLIES 1 (NOV 22)
On Wednesday night, the Utah Outliers and Rock Springs Grizzlies faced each other at the Acord Ice Center in West Valley Utah. The two teams engaged in a tough and spirited matchup. The first period showed the dominance of the Outliers as they came out playing aggressively and peppering the Grizzlies with some great shots and big hits.
The Outlier's strong play led them to capitalize early in the opening period when Rhyle Shevlin drilled home his second goal of the season off of the setup from Mason Keller and Magzhan Sagadiev.
Despite the fast start for the home team, the Grizzlies were able to even the score off a shot from the top of the circle that found its way into the back of the net past goalie Philip Rondina. Shots after the first period finished 9-2 in favor of the Outliers. Although the shots on goal were lopsided in the opening frame, the period would finish knotted at 1-1.
The second period saw the Outliers continue their stranglehold of offensive play but they had to wait until 11:47 into the period to get rewarded for their efforts. Forward David Utkin made a fantastic individual effort and topped it off by beating the Grizzlies goalie, Tucker Inabinet glove side for his 14th goal of the year. The Grizzlies were unable to penetrate the Outlier's net despite a couple of decent looks thanks to some solid saves by goaltender Phil Rondina.
The second period had both teams registering 17 shots a piece but both goalies stood tall for their respective teams to keep the game low scoring. The two teams headed to their dressing rooms with Utah leading by a score of 2-1 and leading in shots by a margin of 22-9.
The Outliers were able to pull away from the Grizzlies in the third period when they struck for two goals in less than four minutes. The consistent offensive pressure by the Outliers paid dividends as they converted on their high-danger opportunities.
Utah's third-period scoring started at the 6:03 mark when Carson Teckenburg deposited the puck into a wide-open net off of an amazing pass from Mason Keller which froze the Grizzlies' netminder and gave Utah a 3-1 lead. Utah's fourth goal of the night came at 9:34 when Garrett Joss found the net for his 7th of the year. The goal was assisted by Michael Schwartz and David Utkin. Utah was also bolstered by their much-improved defensive play and timely saves from goaltender Phil Rondina.
Utah's dominant play helped them pick up the 4-1 victory and gain another two points in the standings.
Utah Outliers 3, Rock Springs Grizzlies 2 (Friday, Nov 24th)
On Friday night, with Thanksgiving behind them, the two teams were back in action for another Mountain Division tilt. This matchup would take place in Rock Springs at the Family Recreation Center Ice Arena. This game proved to be a stark contrast from the Outliers dominating contest Wednesday night. For this game, the Outliers gave the nod to starting goaltender Griffin Davis who came into the game searching for another solid outing while the Grizzlies started Tucker Inabinet in net following his impressive performance on Wednesday night.
The first period started off promising for the visiting squad as they dominated the play for the first ten minutes of the opening frame. Despite controlling the run of play, Utah was unable to take an early lead due to some big saves by the Grizzlies netminder, Inabinet. The Grizzlies were eventually able to muster a response to the Outlier's impressive start when Rock Springs defenseman, Thomas Dell found the back of the net on a seeing-eye shot that beat Utah's Davis from the point. The momentum looked like it was going to swing on the Grizzlies' side until Utah's Garrett Joss was able to beat Inabinet a couple of minutes later when he finished off a great pass from forward David Utkin.
The period would wind down with the two teams tied at 1-1 and the Outliers outshooting the Grizzlies by a margin of 22-8.
The second period began with both teams sharing control of play but it was Rock Springs who found the net early at the 1:36 mark when forward Rex Baren was able to put away a backdoor goal to give the home team a 2-1 lead. Despite the quick start for the Grizzlies, the Outliers were able to find their game again and scored a shorthanded goal from Bailey Ewonus at the 8:37 mark of the second frame to even the game at 2-2. There would be no more scoring in the second period as both teams headed into the intermission to prepare for a third-period battle.
The shots after the second period showed just how close the game was with both sides registering 14 shots on net apiece. The third period saw both clubs register 10 shots a piece and the score remained even at 2-2 due to some fantastic saves at both ends of the rink. The Outlier and Grizzlies would be unable to score in the final period and the game would need to be settled in overtime.
During overtime, Rock Springs player Sean Karaman took a hooking penalty on the Outliers David Utkin halfway through the extra frame to give the Outliers a 4-on-3-man advantage.
After some impressive passing from the visiting Outliers, they were finally able to find the back of the net off of a wicked snipe from the stick of Makar Klochkov to give Utah a 3-2 OT win.
This road victory gave Utah the sweep over the Grizzlies and set the stage for them to take full possession of second place in the Mountain division heading into Saturday's game against the visiting Provo Predators.