Frozen Fury Thrills Utah Hockey Fans As Kings Take Down Golden Knights
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Take a sold-out Vivint arena add equal parts LA Kings fans and Las Vegas Golden Knights fans (maybe more Knights fans) sprinkle in jerseys from almost every other NHL team, then just a pinch of Utah Grizzlies and Utah Jazz jerseys and you have the recipe for a perfect night with the NHL in Salt Lake at the “Frozen Fury”.
The LA Kings brought their pre-season home game known as the “Frozen Fury” to Salt Lake last night. Vivint arena held activities outside the arena prior to the game and seemed to have the party rocking for two hours prior to faceoff.
After warmups, most of the arena was talking about how many veteran players Vegas had dressed compared to LA. During the national anthem, at the “Gave proof through the KNIGHT” portion of the song, it seemed like most of the arena yelled “KNIGHT” as Vegas fans do.
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It looked like the LA Kings might be in trouble.
For the first several minutes the Kings owned the puck and used their speed to keep the Knights pinned in their own zone. 1:45 into the first period the Kings Brendan Lemieux picked up a rebound off a shot from Austin Strand and beat a sprawling Robin Lehner for the first goal of the game.
Lemieux spent several of his summers in Park City training with his NHL legend father, Claude.
“I remember coming here to Park City, Salt Lake, putting on hockey schools here. It’s so beautiful here, I really enjoy it.” Lemieux told KSL Sports. “Tonight, had a little more of a regular-season feel to it. Playing in front of a crowd that doesn’t get to see us regularly made it that way for us. They know hockey and know when there’s a good scoring opportunity and they get loud for that. They were supporting both teams and it was just fun. Plus, we haven’t played on front of a large crowd for so long it just made it fun.”
The Kings got their second goal 1:48 into the second period when Vilardi fed Lias Andersson a great pass and Andersson faked going backhand top shelf and deked Lehner for an almost empty net tap in.
The rest of the second period was highlighted with video messages from Snoop Dog, Will Ferrell, Steve Carell and other LA celebrities leading the crowd in “Go Kings Go” chants in typical LA style.
The third period saw the Knights change goalies and change effort. The Knights started the period with physical play, stole the momentum and we almost saw a fight between the unlikely pairing of Mark Stone and Adrian Kempe. Stone had to be separated from Kempe.
The Knights used that momentum to create a breakdown in the Kings defense with a series of quick passes that left Danill Miromanov alone streaking in and firing a perfect bar down shot to beat King’s goalie Garret Sparks for the first time 4:30 into the 3rd period. Sparks saved 18 of 19 shots on the night and looked solid for the Kings facing the Knights, who he played for last season.
The Kings seemed to take the Knights will out of the game five minutes later when Arthur Kallyev and Quinton Byfield, both found themselves digging for a rebound and the puck beating Knight’s goaltender Dylan Ferguson for a power-play goal. It was a photo finish to see which Kings stick actually scored the goal. The Knights had spurts of effort after that, but in the end, they didn’t even pull their goalie to give the final push.
The Kings won 3-1.
After regulation, the fans were treated to a 3-player shootout, which the Kings also won.
The real winners on the night were the hockey fans in Salt Lake. A sold-out Vivint arena (they held back the seats with a restricted view of the ice) a solid fan base for both the Kings and the Knights makes Utah a perfect venue for these games.
Passionate fans filling an arena, spending money on tickets, jerseys, and food is a perfect recipe for Utah to grow as a hockey market.
Utah Puck Report is a podcast all about Utah hockey, from interviews with NHL stars to which Grizzlies players are about to take the next step, Utah Puck Report has everything for a Utah hockey fan. Find it wherever you find podcasts or on KSLSports.com. The show is hosted by KSL Sports’ hockey insider, Jay Stevens.
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