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GRIZZLIES DEFEAT RUSH IN PENALTY-FILLED AFFAIR

Monday, February 15th
GRIZZLIES DEFEAT RUSH IN PENALTY-FILLED AFFAIR

(WEST VALLEY CITY, UT) – Mikhail Stefanovich broke up his opposition’s shutout with 3:02 left in the game, but the Utah Grizzlies won 5-1 over the Rapid City Rush on Monday afternoon behind 32 saves from Ryan Faragher, 2 goals from Ryan Walters, and three assists from Alex Krushelnyski.

Utah jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period, receiving the first tally of the game just less than 3 minutes in. On a breakdown behind the Rush net, Alex Krushelnyski found TJ Syner in front of the Rush goal, but his initial attempt was denied by Rush net-minder, Sam Marotta. However, the rebound came actively out to Erik Higby in the low slot, who put the puck by Marotta to lift the Grizzlies to a 1-0 lead 2:51 into the game (Krushelnyski and Syner got the assists). The Rush got back on their horse offensively, creating multiple chances, including Danick Gauthier’s shot that clanked the post moments after the Grizzlies got on the board. With less than three minutes to play in the period, Cody Ferriero was denied of an opportunity towards the Utah net, and slashed his assailant following his scoring chance. Utah capitalized on the only power play awarded to either team, with Ryan Hayes finishing a tic-tac-toe passing play in the slot just 37 seconds into the man-advantage to propel the Grizzlies to a 2-0 lead at the end of the first (Alex Krushelnyski earned his second assist on the tally, while Charlie Sarrault recorded his first).

Utah’s special teams would triple the advantage in the second frame, capitalizing on their second straight power play midway through the period. With 9:38 gone by, Ryan Walters fired a one-timer off the post and in behind Marotta, giving Utah a 2/2 power play at that point, and a 3-0 lead over the Rush (Shayne Taker and Eric Knodel earned the assists).

The Grizzlies added their last two tallies nine seconds apart before Ryan Faragher surrendered a goal to the Rush. Ryan Walters notched his second of the night at 7:21 of the third period, followed by his captain, Brent Gwidt, who scored just his second of the season at 7:30 on a sharp-angle shot to put Utah up 5-0 (Syner earned his second assist and Krushelnyski his third on Walters’ second, while Phil Pietroniro earned the lone helper on Gwidt’s). Following Gwidt’s goal, a massive skirmish broke out, and chaos ensued with Cody Ferriero pounding Utah’s Erik Higby in a fight at center ice, while Sam Marotta linked up with Utah’s Kenton Helgesen in a separate bout. 104 of the game’s 120 PIM came in the third period, with 42 coming in that sequence of events alone at 7:30 of the third. Marotta, assessed 2 minutes for roughing, 5 for fighting, and a 10-minute game misconduct for continuing the altercation left the game, prompting Danny Battochio to substitute him for the remainder of regulation. After more fights broke out at 10:18, the Rush ended Faragher’s bid for perfection with 3:02 left in the game. Lindsay Sparks and Dan O’Donoghue connected with Mikhail Stefanovich, who knocked a rebound by an outstretched Faragher to put the Rush on the board, which brought the game to its eventual 5-1 final in the Grizzlies favor.

Sam Marotta stopped 26 of 31 shots in 47:30 of game time, suffering the loss. Danny Battochio stopped all 4 shots he saw in 12:30 of relief.

The Rush end this road trip on Wednesday night in Boise, squaring off against the West Division-leading Idaho Steelheads. Puck drop at CenturyLink Arena is slated for 7:10 p.m. MST.

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