ALEXANDRIA, Minn. – It wasn’t the way the Rochester Grizzlies drew it up, but they managed to end the regular season with a win. The Grizzlies saw four different two-goal leads vanish throughout the course of the game but Matt DeRosa scored at 2:49 of overtime to give the Grizzlies a 6-5 win over the Alexandria Blizzard, thus ending the regular season part of the schedule.
In the final meeting between the two teams, the Grizzlies started the scoring first. DeRosa got his first of the night just 2:40 into the first period to break the ice and make it 1-0 Rochester. The Grizzlies couldn’t convert on a five minute major power play roughly midway through the first, as Blizzard forward Wesley Johnson was booted from the game for checking from behind. Rochester did manage to convert while down a man. Devin Hays scored the 16th shorthanded goal of the season for the Grizzlies at 17:38 of the first. Porter Haney assisted on the goal.
The teams managed to trade goals in the second period, each getting two. Mathias Branton and Ryne Mohrman scored for the Blizzard while Michael Heitkamp and Nic Leisen tallied the goals for Rochester. Leisen’s goal came with 40 seconds left in the second period to give Rochester another two-goal lead, making it 4-2.
Alexandria would not go away, as Austin McNeil cut the Rochester lead to 4-3 at 2:49 of the third period. Joey Fodstad made it 5-3 Grizzlies with his 28th goal of the season coming at the 9:20 mark of the third. Just 19 seconds later, Nolan Westra made it a one-goal game with his 14th goal of the season. The home team managed to roar back and tie it up at 16:40 of the third period as Brandon Connett scored his 39th goal of the season.
DeRosa managed to prevent further heartbreak as his second goal of the evening was the overtime winner. DeRosa and Peyton Hart had a 2-on-0 rush and nearly blew it, as Blizzard goalie Ville Hyttinen made the initial save. DeRosa got the puck back and beat Hyttinen on the second chance to end the game.
DeRosa finished with two goals while Hart tallied three assists. Heitkamp picked up a goal and two assists in the game. Sean Guerin surrendered five goals on 37 shots but managed to pick up the win.
Rochester took the season series over the Blizzard, finishing 3-0-1 against them this season. The Grizzlies end the regular season at 37-8-1-1 at 76 points. The first round of the Fraser Cup Playoffs start this week for the Grizzlies as they travel to Peoria to play the Mustangs Thursday at 6:45 PM for game one. Game two will be from the Rochester Recreation Center at 7 PM Saturday the 14th.