The Grizzlies had three games this week, winning 4-3 in OT and 3-2 in the shoot out against the Colorado Eagles on Friday and Saturday, and losing 5-3 to the Tulsa Oilers last night.
After having been scratched for two games, Helgesen was excellent in both games against the Eagles. On Friday, he was prominent on the first wave of several penalty kills, and was even on the ice in the final minute of a tied game. Thanks to Eric Springer’s absence for a large part of the game, and Phil Pietroniro’s five-minute penalty during that time, the Grizzlies were short two defensemen. Fortunately for them, Helgesen was drafted as a defenseman, and he stepped up in a big way, filling in on the back end several times during that stretch. He was rewarded for his efforts with an assist on Erik Higby’s goal.
Helgesen was even better on Saturday where he was named first star, and had another terrific night doing double duty for the short-handed Grizzlies. Coach Branham had nothing but praise for the young player.
“He’s done tremendous. He’s come a long way from last year. And we’ve utilized him in the front, we’ve utilized him on the back end, he scored a huge goal for us today, he’s played big minutes. He has definitely come to play this year. He’s done a fabulous job.”
The flexibility Helgesen gives the Grizzlies by being able to play forward and defense has been a big benefit to the team in the past two games.
“It’s tough to do,” Branham added. “You have to think differently, so for him to just do that is great. He’s had a great season so far.”
Helgesen’s goal was a short-handed point shot through a screen for his first of the year.
He now has three points in four games, and is a +2 with three shots. He was scratched against Tulsa to allow some other players to get into the lineup.
Boyle has been up with the San Diego Gulls where he made one start, a 3-2 OT loss to the Manitoba Moose. He made 27 saves, putting up a GAA of 2.93 and a SV% of .900.
Thompson made his ECHL debut in last night’s game against Tulsa, immediately after joining the team. He finished the night with zero shots or points, and a -2 rating.