ROCHESTER, MN – What a way to end the regular season. The Rochester Grizzlies controlled play from start to finish, completing the weekend sweep of the Oregon Tradesmen by winning 5-0 from the Rochester Recreation Center. The Grizzlies finish the regular season with 79 points and a record of 38-6-3.
The Grizzlies started off strong as Max Breon opened the scoring just 11 seconds into the game. Breon stole the puck from Tradesmen goalie Evan Wittchow and fired it in the net before Wittchow could recover. Rochester would continue to control play the entire period till Justin Wright scored his first of the night with 35 seconds left in the first period. Rochester held Oregon to just two shots on net in the first frame.
The second period saw no goals for either team despite both getting multiple power-play opportunities. The Grizzlies still did a stout job defensively, holding the Tradesmen to six shots on net in the middle frame.
Rochester poured it on in the third period as Wright banged home a loose puck at the end of a power play to make it 3-0 Rochester. With Adam Johnson in the box, Kade Shea buried a shorthanded goal for the Grizzlies as he knocked home a rebound off a Matthew Shaw shot, making it 4-0. Shea’s shorthanded tally was the eighth one of the season for Rochester. Kyle Bauer then converted on a power play for the Grizzlies to cap off the scoring.
Both teams saw penalty trouble all weekend with Saturday being no different. Rochester went seven-for-seven on the penalty kill in Saturday’s win while going one-for-four on the power play. Zach Wiese collected his fourth shutout of the season, stopping the 18 shots he saw.
The Grizzlies, the top seed in the Central Division, welcome the fourth-seeded Wausau Cyclones to town next Friday to start their best-of-three series in the first round of the Fraser Cup Playoffs. Friday’s game is a 7:05 puck drop while Saturday’s game is on the road in Wausau. Sunday’s game, if necessary, would be back home at the Rochester Recreation Center.