ROCHESTER, Minn. – It’s been a long time since the Rochester Grizzlies dropped the season opener to the Milwaukee Power. Since then, Rochester won the previous two contests by a combined score of 11-3. Friday night appeared to be more of the same, as seven different Grizzlies scored en route to an 8-0 victory from the Rochester Recreation Center.
The Grizzlies would strike first again, which has done them well this season. Jesper Hofling made a power move around a defenseman and put a shot on Power goalie Joey Greilich. Greilich stopped the first attempt but Hofling stuffed home the rebound for his third goal of the season. Rochester’s power play would be given a chance in the back half of the first period. Noel Parker, playing in his second game with the team, connected on a cross-ice pass to Porter Haney who one-timed the shot past Greilich to make the score 2-0. Haney’s fifth goal came at 11:37 of the period. Rochester outshot Milwaukee 21-4 in the first, in what would be a continued trend throughout the game.
The second period would open up for Rochester. Hunter Wilmes, in his second game with the team, scored his first goal as a member of the Grizzlies after Joey Fodstad connected with the lead pass. Haney added the other assist on the goal coming at 9:32 of the second. Wilmes, who started the season with the Austin Bruins (NAHL) would add another right off the draw at the 13:56 mark. Matt DeRosa scored his second in as many games after beating Greilich with a wrist shot from the slot on the power play. DeRosa’s sixth of the season extended the lead to 5-0 at 16:19 of the second. Fodstad added to his team lead in goals by picking up his 13th after Wilmes picked the pocket of a Power defenseman, leaving the puck for Fodstad as he beat Greilich short side, making it 6-0 with 1:59 left in the second.
It would be more of the same for Rochester in the third period, as the dominance continued. Zak Justice scored his first goal in nine games after Fodstad sprung him free with the lead pass. Wilmes added his second assist of the game, making his point total for the evening four. Justice’s third goal came at 3:29 of the third. The Grizzlies would be given an extended power play after Power forward Ryan Hoover was given a double minor for roughing and a game misconduct. Michael Heitkamp broke his 10-game goal scoring drought as he wired a shot past Greilich to make it 8-0 Rochester on the power play. Lucas Newman and Teejay Torgrimson picked up the assists on Heitkamp’s sixth goal of the season.
The Grizzlies would still create chances throughout the rest of the game after Heitkamp’s goal came at 10:00 of the third. Rochester would go on to put up 61 shots on net in the game compared to just 12 for the Power. Milwaukee’s most shot attempts in a period was only five coming in the third. Mathias Backstrom stopped all the shots he saw and picked up the win and his first shutout in his NA3HL career. The Grizzlies finished 3/5 on the power play this evening.
With the win, the Grizzlies improve to 11-3-0-0 good for 22 points on the season. They now sit three points back from the St. Louis Jr Blues for first in the Central Division. The Blues were idle this weekend and have played four more games than Rochester this season.
Rochester is back on the road next Friday as it travels to North Iowa to face the Bulls for the first time since the Fraser Cup Playoffs last season. The Bulls ended the Grizzlies season after beating them in the West Division quarterfinals. This marks the first of four meetings between the clubs. The Grizzlies are back home Saturday, Nov. 9 taking on the Alexandria Blizzard. That game is Military Appreciation Night from the Rochester Recreation Center, sponsored by KAAL ABC 6. All military past and present military personnel get free admission with a valid ID and family members get in for just $5. For more information, call the Grizzlies office at 507-722-0415.