By Peter Richins
The Salt Lake Tribune
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Not only are the Utah Grizzlies the hottest team in the league, they also have the hottest rookie.
Forward Matt Craig is in his first year as a professional, having played last year at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. After a little more than a month as a pro, Craig is leading all ECHL rookies in goals (10) and game-winning goals (three). He also is tied for first in points (15) with Reading’s Greg Hogeboom.
Craig’s stats, however, concern him less than his team’s success.
“I don’t try and think about it too much, as long as the team is winning,” Craig said. He knows he has done well, but he prefers to pass the credit around.
“The coaches have put me in a good situation to be able to produce, and so far I have,” Craig said. It certainly helps that Craig plays on the same line with Barrett Ehgoetz, another rookie. The players have developed some chemistry on the Grizzlies’ second offensive line, and it has paid off: Both players are at plus-7 when on the ice.
Coach Jason Christie is not surprised his rookies have performed so well.
“That’s what you expect of them, to be ready to play every night,” Christie said. “The biggest thing is, can they keep that level of play up?”
His question will be answered in part Thursday as the Grizzlies play host to the Stockton Thunder. With a victory, the Grizzlies will tie the franchise record for consecutive victories, a mark set in 1995.