After Hot Season, Utah Grizzlies Hope To Go Far In Playoffs

Apr 20, 2022, 11:03 AM | Updated: 11:43 am
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Photo: Jay Stevens, KSL Sports

SALT LAKE CITY – For the first time since joining the ECHL for the 2006-2007 season, the Utah Grizzlies have won the Mountain division.

The Grizzlies also finished on a hot streak, beating their rivals, the Idaho Steelheads and keeping the Steelheads out of the playoffs.

The team has been setting records this season as well. The Grizzlies finished the season with 42 wins, the most they’ve had since joining the ECHL. Goalie Trent Miner set the Grizzlies single-season shutout record with 7 shutouts in 28 appearances this regular season. Utah defensemen Charle-Edouard D’Astous led the team in goals and set a Grizzlies record of 26 goals by a defenseman in a single season.

Head Coach Ryan Kinasewich talked about goals and when he knew this team might be special, “With me taking over so late, we didn’t really set goals to start the year. It was kind of a whirlwind. We knew we had a solid club, so obviously, playoffs were our number one goal. There was a time in December when we were in Tulsa, and we were very short-handed, and we had guys step in, we had a great road trip. I kind of felt it then, with our team just coming together.”

One of the few Utahn-born players to ever play for the Grizzlies, Mason Mannek remembered another road trip that brought the group closer, “if you want to break it down to a moment, our trip to Rapid City over New Year’s immediately comes to mind. We got into COVID protocol issues and ended up short some of our top players and more specifically, all of our goalies. We were able to find a kid that was playing in the ACHA (club college) and he started that night. Despite all the adversities that hit us, we came out on top and won in overtime. The way we all bought into the game plan and realized we just one a game where we had an EBUG (Emergency Backup Goalie) play a full 60 plus.”

Utah Grizzlies Playoffs & Fan Attendance

If you win, they will come. As the Grizzlies kept winning, the attendance started to rise. Grizzlies Vice President Jared Youngman told  KSL Sports, “As the team keeps winning and fans keep sharing their positive experiences and memories at our game, more people want to come. Fans want to see at least one of three things; A win, a fight or a shootout. Our team consistently offers a combination of all three, giving fans a reason to come back. We had almost 16,000 fans in our two games over the weekend with Saturday night being our biggest crowd of the year with over 8700.”

Utah faces the Tulsa Oilers in a best of seven series.

Kinasewich talked about winning their division and the momentum that gives them going into playoffs, “It means a lot. Our group has been through its ups and downs along the way. It’s special to clinch and have home ice, especially with our great crowd. I think it puts our team in a great frame of mind, knowing we’ve accomplished this feat. It will give us confidence and belief that we can make a great run into the playoffs.”

The playoffs start this Friday and Saturday at the Maverik Center. Find tickets here.

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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After Hot Season, Utah Grizzlies Hope To Go Far In Playoffs