Grizzlies Can’t Hold Lead, Drop Close Game to Blizzard

ROCHESTER, Minn. – The Alexandria Blizzard just have the Rochester Grizzlies’ number. After having two separate two-goal leads, the Grizzlies dropped Friday’s game to Alexandria, 4-3. This marks the fourth loss in a row for Rochester. They also finish the regular season 0-6 against the Blizzard.

Rochester opened the scoring in the first period as newcomer Hunter Hall scored his firstĀ  as a member of the Grizzlies. Hall buried a loose puck after the feed came from Nic Leisen. The score would stay 1-0 Rochester through the first period, with Liam Kelly turning away all eight shots he faced.

“First period was just okay. We were still loose with the puck. When we were playing the right way we had some chances. We capitalized on a goal, but a lot of self-inflicted stuff in the first period,” said Head Coach Casey Mignone.

The Grizzlies doubled the lead at 7:55 of the second as Peyton Hart scored a power play goal. Hall and Brock Hildenbrand picked up the assists on Hart’s 13th goal of the season. Not four minutes later, the Blizzard would cut the lead in half as Patrick Curry scored what would be a controversial power play goal. The Grizzlies net was knocked off the pegs prior to the puck being put in by Curry.

“[The referee said] our goalie ran into the net and that the puck was going in. I’ve never seen two games in a row with the same ref the net being off by their player and they count goals. It’s hard to wrap your head around,” said Mignone.

Rochester would respond as Leisen scored his sixth of the season. Hall and Joey Fodstad assisted on the goal. Alexandria would not go quietly into the second intermission as Meister redirected a Joe Dokken point shot past Kelly with 30 seconds to go in the second.

Meister would continue to be a thorn in Rochester’s side, as he scored what would be his seventh goal against the Grizzlies this season to tie the game just 2:46 into the third. His goal came on the power play as Hall was sitting in the box for Rochester.

“I didn’t make a smart play in the corner and lost the puck and ended up taking a penalty. We went down 5-on-3 and they capitalized on my mistake. After that we were down 4-3 and just trying to come back and we were unable to do it this time,” said Hall.

Wes Johnson gave Alexandria the lead for good at 9:01 of the first after corralling a bouncing puck and beating Kelly with a snap shot. Kyle Hayden stopped the Grizzlies the rest of the way to improve to 5-0 against Rochester this season, stopping 43 out of 46 shots.

With the loss, this marks the first time Rochester has lost when leading after two periods. Heading into tonight, the Grizzlies were 19-0 when leading after two. Alexandria was just 2-13 when trailing after two.

Rochester is back at it Saturday night taking on the Breezy Point North Stars for the sixth and final time of the season as Rochester looks to end a four-game skid.

“A lot of our game tonight was pretty good. Through the first and second periods we were on them. We kind of let up in the third. I say we come in with the same game plan and strive to finish it out this time. I think the same thing is going to be just fine,” said John Rowell.

Saturday night is the inaugural Pink in the Rink night for the Grizzlies. Doors open at 5:30 with happy hour being from 5:30-7 as draft beers are two for the price of one. The Grizzlies will be wearing custom pink jerseys which will be auctioned off after the game with all of the proceeds from the jersey auction going to Mayo Clinic for cancer research. Puck drop is set for 7:05 from the Rochester Rec Center.