ROCHESTER, Minn. – The North American 3 Hockey League has announced Rochester Grizzlies goalie Mathias Backstrom as the Central Division Star of the Week for the week ending Dec. 1. This marks Backstrom’s first time winning the Star of the Week honors. Jesper Hofling was named an honorable mention for this week, as well.
The Malmo, Sweden native started two games for the Grizzlies this past weekend as they won both of them against the Peoria Mustangs. In Friday’s game, Backstrom stopped all 17 shots he saw on net in a 2-0 victory. The shutout was Backstrom’s second of the season. Saturday evening, he didn’t get the shutout but was still arguably the biggest reason the Grizzlies won. Backstrom stopped 26 of 27 shots, which proved to be the difference maker, as Rochester beat Peoria 2-1. He is the second Grizzlies player to be given the Star of the Week, as Peyton Hart was given the award for the week of Oct. 2.
This is not the first time Backstrom has been honored for his play this season. He was named an honorable mention for the Central Division for the week of Oct. 23. Backstrom was also named the goalie of the month for October. He went 2-2 during the month while posting a save percentage of .903 or better in all four starts, including an average save percentage of .935 and a goals against average of 1.97 over the final three starts.
In his first season with the Grizzlies and in the NA3HL, Backstrom is 7-2 in nine games played. He has a goals against average of 1.31, good for first in the league, and save percentage of .946, good for second. He also has two shutouts on the year, with both coming within his four most recent starts.
Backstrom and the Grizzlies are on the road this weekend taking on the St. Louis Jr. Blues for the first time this season. Saturday’s game is set for 4 PM while Sunday is slated for 1 PM. The Grizzlies and Blues are tied in points at 31. However, the Grizzlies sit in first place in the Central Division due to a better win percentage. This marks the only time this season the Grizzlies will travel to St. Louis. Rochester is back home Dec. 13 for a game against the North Iowa Bulls. Puck drop for that game is set for 7 PM from the Rochester Recreation Center.