This is the first of what will be a weekly update of the prospects playing in the ECHL with the Utah Grizzlies. Each future post will briefly summarize the games played, and the performances of Anaheim’s players.
The Grizzlies are a perfect 2-0 in their preseason, beating their long time rivals the Idaho Steelheads (ECHL affiliates the Dallas Stars) 3-2 in regulation on Monday night at the Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah, and 2-1 in overtime on Tuesday in Idaho.
The Ducks have two prospects currently with the Grizzlies, goalie Kevin Boyle, and forward Kenton Helgeson.
24-year-old Kevin Boyle is signed to a one year contract, and comes to the Ducks from the NCAA, after concluding a stellar senior year with UMass-Lowell. In 2015-16 he had a 24-10-5 record with, with a sparkling 1.83 GAA and .934 save percentage. He also won, or was nominated for, a number of awards in 2015-16, including NCAA Goaltender of the Year, the Richter Award (finalist), Player of the Year (shared with Thatcher Demko), and Hockey East Tournament MVP. He holds the single-season shut-out record at UMass-Lowell (7), as well as the records for minutes played (2,363:34) and saves made in a single game (58 in a triple overtime victory in the Hockey East Semifinals against Providence).
Assigned to the Grizzlies on October 9th, Boyle started for the Grizzlies on Monday night, and stopped 27 out of 29 shots. He looked very comfortable in the net, and while his play was strong all around, his glove-hand looked particularly good. He appeared to be in some discomfort after a late third period scramble which lead to the second Idaho goal, but finished the remaining minute-and-a-half of the game, and made several saves thereafter. He was named third star of the game for his performance.
Kenton Helgeson returned to the Grizzlies on the 10th, and played in Idaho on Tuesday. His game was a fairly quiet one, registering no points or penalty minutes, and ending the game a -1. Although he was drafted by the Ducks as a defenseman in 2012 (187th overall in the 7th round), Helgeson switched to forward in his last year of juniors, and played 31 games in his rookie season as a forward with Utah last season. After missing the first 29 games of the season due to a foot injury, Helgeson collected five points (2 goals, 3 assists), and 41 penalty minutes in a primarily bottom six role. He also played four of the Grizzlies’ ten playoff games en rout to a second round elimination against the Fort Wayne Komets.
The Grizzlies will open their season at home on October 14th at 7 PM MST against the Idaho Steelheads, and will face them again the following day at the same time.