Multiple Shorthanded Goals Fuel Utah Grizzlies Victory Over Rapid City Rush

Utah+Grizzlies+forward+Mathew+Boucher+%28No.+10%29+in+a+game+at+the+Maverik+Center+on+Tuesday%2C+May+4%2C+2021.+%28Photo+by+Kevin+Cody+%7C+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29

Kevin Cody

Utah Grizzlies forward Mathew Boucher (No. 10) in a game at the Maverik Center on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Photo by Kevin Cody | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Cole Bagley, Sports Editor

 

The Utah Grizzlies welcomed the Rapid City Rush to the Maverik Center on Tuesday night for the first of a four-game home stand. Thanks to four shorthanded goals, the Grizzlies bested the Rush, defeating them 5-3. 

First Period

While the action started right from the puck-drop, the two teams battled for possession over the first few minutes, as neither side could get set up in the opposition’s defensive zone. However, the Grizzlies would get the first power play of the game as Rapid City defenseman Kevin Spinozzi would sit in the box for two minutes for a delay of game penalty. 

Despite the man advantage, the Rush defended the penalty well as the Grizzlies only managed a single shot on net which was easily deflected by goaltender David Tendeck. Immediately following the Rush penalty, Grizzlies forward Matt Hoover committed a cross check and gave Rapid City the next man advantage.

Much like the Grizzlies power-play, the Rush’s man advantage didn’t amount to anything as they too struggled to get any shots on net. Utah defended their end well as they denied scoring opportunities and sent the puck sailing down the ice multiple times, effectively killing the penalty.

Just past the midway point of the period, Rapid City settled into an offensive possession inside the Grizzlies’ zone. After multiple passes, a shot was fired from the point which initially was saved by the left pad of Utah goalie Parker Gahagen. However, the puck fell to Rush forward Peter Quenneville who dangled the puck around Gahagen — who was still on the ground — and into the open net. The goal was assisted by Kevin Spinozzi and David Quenneville, Peter’s brother.

A few minutes after the goal, the Grizzlies would yet again go on the power play as Rapid City forward Stephen Baylis committed a slash. While this man advantage resulted in more shots on net than the first, Utah struggled to create any dangerous opportunities and still trailed 1-0 with just a few minutes remaining in the period. 

Over the course of the final minutes, Rapid City dominated possession and created some dangerous opportunities that required stellar goaltending by Gahagen. While Utah didn’t concede another goal, they struggled to get the puck out of their own end and the Rush applied the pressure. Luckily, the clock expired before Rapid City could increase their lead, but tensions were on the rise as the hits became more punishing and several players had to be separated at the horn. 

Second Period

To begin the second period, both teams were creating dangerous chances and threatening to score. After multiple shots on net and even one off the corner of the crossbar, the Grizzlies deflected the puck into the net off an initial pad save which had soared high into the air. However, upon further review the goal was not counted as the deflection came by a high stick and was deemed a violation. Despite the no-goal, the Grizzlies had increased their intensity and were looking much better than in the first period.

With a little less than 13 minutes remaining in the second, the Grizzlies would go on another power-play as Rush defenseman David Quenneville committed a hooking penalty. But unfortunately, Utah came up short yet again as they were unable to score on the man advantage.  

Rapid City would go on the next power-play as Hoover committed yet another penalty, this time two minutes for hooking. However, on an odd-man-rush, the Grizzlies created a shorthanded two-on-one opportunity led by Trey Bradley who passed it across the slot to Ty Lewis and he one-timed it into the open net to tie the game at 1-1. But just seconds after the Grizzlies had leveled the score, Rapid City forward Tyler Coulter passed the puck from behind the net to the slot where Avery Peterson put it top shelf over Gahagen’s shoulder, retaking the lead 2-1. The goal was also assisted by David Quenneville.

Shortly after the Rush retook the lead, Utah committed another penalty as Charlie Gerard would go to the sin bin for two minutes for hooking. Amazingly, on another shorthanded two-on-one opportunity, Grizzlies forward Travis Barron sniped Tendeck over the right shoulder from the right side of the slot, tying the game at 2-2. The goal was unassisted. 

While Utah would eventually kill off the Gerard penalty, they would concede another goal as in the final 15 seconds Peterson sent a pass right across the slot to defenseman Charlie Curti who one-timed it off his backhand and into the net, giving Rapid City a 3-2 lead. The goal was also assisted by Peter Quenneville. 

Third Period

Utah came out with a high level of intensity through the first few minutes of the third, producing four shots on goal, two of which came right in front of the net. Shortly thereafter, Rapid City would commit the first penalty of the period as Peterson went to the box for two minutes for roughing. But just like all the other Grizzlies power plays, they struggled to create dangerous chances and came up empty. 

Following the Utah man advantage, Grizzlies forward Jared Pike was guilty of a goaltender interference penalty, colliding with Tendeck as the two went for the puck. For some inexplicable reason, the Grizzlies continued to thrive playing down a man as on a third shorthanded odd-man-rush, A.J. White took a shot from the left face-off circle which bounced off of Tendeck right to the stick of Barron who buried his second goal of the night and evened the game at 3-3. 

Clearly frustrated, Rapid City lost their composure and tensions began to rise. Following a play which could’ve been called a slashing penalty against Utah, Rush defenseman Butrus Ghafari committed an interference penalty and would sit for two minutes. Finally, Utah cashed in on a power-play as after an initial shot by Cédric Paré deflected off of Tendeck’s pad, Barron tapped home another juicy rebound, completing his hat-trick and giving the Grizzlies a 4-3 lead with a little less than seven minutes remaining. 

As the Grizzlies tried to protect their one-goal lead late in the game, White committed a costly interference penalty with just three minutes remaining. However, in addition to the penalty and despite Rapid City pulling their goalie for a two-man advantage, Utah would do what they did best all night and score yet another shorthanded goal as the man of the hour, Travis Barron, stick-handled his way through multiple defenders and fired it into the open net giving the Grizzlies a 5-3 lead. The goal was assisted by Gahagen. 

With little time remaining, Utah would hold on to their lead and defeat Rapid City, 5-3. 

Performance of the Game

Barron was on a different level as the No. 1 star of the game scored four of the Grizzlies’ goals, three of which were short handed. Not only did Barron have a wicked snipe, but he also found himself in the right place at the right time as he buried two rebounds on the doorstep in addition to the open net goal. No doubt a memorable night as the forward more than doubled his season goal total in a single game, entering the night with only three. 

Between the Pipes: Goalie Report

While Gahagen did allow three goals on the night, he did save 28 of 31 shots faced (90% SP) and shut out the Rush in the third period, not allowing a single goal in the final 20 minutes. Additionally, Gahagen recorded an assist on a goal which is not something you see very often. 

A Look Ahead

With the victory, Utah improves to 24-21-5-6 on the season. They will face Rapid City three more times, the next being Wednesday night with puck-drop at 7:10 p.m. MDT. Tickets can be purchased here

 

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