Poor Goaltending Leads to Lopsided Loss for Utah Grizzlies


Utah Grizzlies in a game versus the Allen Americans, Friday, Mar. 12, 2021. (The Daily Utah Chronicle/Photo by Kevin Cody)

By Cole Bagley, Sports Editor


Despite taking an early 2-0 lead, the Utah Grizzlies conceded six-straight goals to the Allen Americans and dropped the first of a three-game series, 6-2.

First Period

It was hockey night in Salt Lake City as the Utah Grizzlies welcomed the Allen Americans to the Maverik Center for the first of a three-game series. 

The Grizzlies came out guns blazing as they scored in the first five minutes of play. A costly turnover in the defensive zone led to the first goal of the game as hometown hero Jared Pike buried one right in front of the net. The goal was assisted by defenseman Alex Lepkowski as the Grizzlies took a 1-0 lead with 16:54 remaining in the period.

Utah continued to lay on the pressure as they had five early shots on goal through the first 10 minutes. On another Allen turnover in the neutral zone, the puck was flipped up to Matt Hoover who was challenged by the goaltender as both players outstretched and tried to play the puck flat on the ice. Hoover pushed the puck to the right side and Matthew Boucher put it into the open net for his tenth goal of the season. The Grizzlies led 2-0 with 10:49 left in the period.

Utah Grizzlies in a game versus the Allen Americans, Friday, March 12, 2021. (The Daily Utah Chronicle | Photo by Kevin Cody)

As the period continued, forward A.J. White took a two-minute penalty for tripping. While the penalty was successfully killed-off, the Americans scored shortly after on a shot by Krystof Hrabik which deflected off the skate of one of his teammates and into the net. The goal was assisted by Spencer Asuchak and Joseph Garreffa. Despite the goal, the Grizzlies still led 2-1 with 6:40 left in the period.

With less than five minutes to go, the Grizzlies struggled to stay out of the box as Matt Hoover took a two-minute penalty for tripping. On the power-play, Kyle Topping sniped goaltender Kevin Carr from just outside the right face-off circle, tying the game at 2 with 4:19 left in the first period. The goal was assisted by Garreffa and Les Lancaster.

As the period came to a close, Allen stepped up their offensive production with 12 total shots on goal to Utah’s seven. However, the first 20 minutes ended with the score locked at 2-2.

Second Period

The action was fast and furious to begin the second period as both teams had great opportunities. Three minutes into the action, the Grizzlies would go on the power-play as Americans’ forward Garreffa went to the box for two minutes for tripping. 

Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, the power-play chances were few and far between as they continually turned the puck over in the offensive zone. The Allen Americans would effectively kill-off the penalty with 15 minutes left in the period.

Tensions rose as the period continued as Americans’ defenseman Will Lochead committed a cheap cross-check and went to the penalty box for roughing for two minutes. While Allen would effectively kill-off the Lochead penalty, the Americans’ forward Samuel Laberge would join his teammate in the sin-bin for two minutes for tripping. Again, the Grizzlies struggled on the power-play and came up empty as the period reached the halfway point. 

Not long after, the Grizzlies would commit a penalty for having too many men on the ice. While on the power-play, Jesse Mychan stuffed a juicy rebound into the net giving the Americans a 3-2 lead with just less than 10 minutes to go. The goal was assisted by Lancaster and Topping. 

Things continued to get worse for the Grizzlies as they not only served back-to-back penalties but conceded an ugly goal as well. As the puck was originally saved by Carr, it deflected behind the net where Dyson Stevenson then shot it off the back of Carr’s skate and into the goal. This gave the Americans a 4-2 lead with 2:22 left in the period. The goal was assisted by Chaz Reddekopp and Laberge. 

Immediately after the goal, the Grizzlies would substitute goaltender Carr for Brad Barone.

Third Period

While the action was non-stop, not a lot took place as both goalies stayed perfect through the early minutes of the third period. Despite chances on both ends, neither team could find the back of the net.

An opportunity came for the Grizzlies mid-way through the third as Mychan went to the box for two minutes for roughing. While the Grizzlies were able to put several high-quality shots on goal, Americans’ goaltender Jake Paterson stood tall and saved every single one during the power-play.

With just under five minutes to go, the Americans would strike again on a Grizzlies defensive-zone turnover. As the puck was picked-off, Mychan skated right in on the net and put it over the shoulder of Barone for his second goal of the night, increasing the lead to 5-2. The goal was assisted by Matt Register and Nolan Kneen. 

While Utah would eventually pull their goalie for an extra attacker, it would be to no avail as they would concede an open-net goal scored by Mychan. The goal was assisted by Corey Mackin.

On a night that started out well, not much more could’ve gone wrong as the Grizzlies lost, 6-2.

Performance of the Game

While his primary role is defense, Lepkowski contributed heavily on offense as he recorded assists on both of the Grizzlies’ goals. 

Goalie Report

Being substituted as a goalie is never an accomplishment, especially when it takes place in the second period. Before hanging up his skates and catching-glove for the night, Carr had 13 saves, a save percentage of 59% and conceded four goals. It was a rough night for any net-minder to say the least.

Barone didn’t have better luck than Carr as he conceded a goal and ended the night with only three saves. The Grizzlies will need to have better goal-tending if they are to win either of the next two games against the Americans.

On the other end, Paterson was fantastic as he faced 33 shots and stopped 31. No doubt he was the MVP for Allen as the Grizzlies had 11 more shots than his teammates’ 22 total shots. 


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