PEORIA, Ill. – The fans in Peoria were certainly treated to a couple exciting games this weekend. However, it would be the road team with the last laugh in both games. The Rochester Grizzlies went into Peoria and swept the weekend series after winning Sunday afternoon 2-1 in a shootout with Lucas Newman providing the winning goal.
The win Sunday marked the third win for Rochester at Peoria in what also was the final time the Grizzlies would play the Mustangs on the road in the regular season.
The scoring would start in the first period for both teams. Clayton Shultz picked up his second goal of the season as his wrist shot beat Mustangs goalie Cole Walter at 11:11 of the first. Ethan Noonan and Porter Haney tallied the assist for the goal.
The lead wouldn’t last too long, however, as Peoria would strike while shorthanded. Quinton Murphy scored his first of the season after Austin Keil passed the puck cross ice to Murphy and he beat Grizzlies goalie Mathias Backstrom to tie the game at one. The goal came at 14:23 of the first period.
Neither team would find the back of the net for the rest of the game, but penalties were a story again. The second period saw three instances of matching penalties between players on the Grizzlies and Mustangs, in what surely is becoming a budding rivalry.
Backstrom and Walter were strong the rest of the way for their respective clubs, with both goalies having to make key saves to keep the game tied at one.
Overtime saw both clubs with a couple opportunities, but neither would find the back of the net. This marked the first time this season Rochester would head to overtime. The Grizzlies only appeared in four overtime games last season, finishing 3-1 in those games.
Joey Fodstad would get first crack in the shootout for Rochester but missed wide. Backstrom proceeded to stop Tristan Trudel to keep it scoreless in the shootout. Newman beat Walter with a nice move back to his forehand, tallying what would be the lone goal in the shootout for either club. Backstrom stopped the final two shooters to clinch the win. This marked the first time in franchise history the Grizzlies have been in a shootout.
With the win, the Grizzlies improved to 8-2-0-0 on the season, good for 16 points and second place in the Central Division. They sit seven points behind the division-leading St. Louis Jr. Blues, who have played four more games than Rochester.
The Grizzlies are back home Saturday to start and home-and-home with the Granite City Lumberjacks. Friday’s game is a 7pm puck drop and is First Responders Night from the Rochester Rec Center. All first responders get free admission with a valid ID, while family members get in for just $5. Fore more information, call the Grizzlies front office at 507-722-0415.