BLAINE, Minn. – After two strong games to open the NA3HL Showcase Tournament, the Rochester Grizzlies dropped Tuesday’s finale to the Peoria Mustangs, 2-1.
The Grizzlies (19-7-0-0) controlled play to start the game, earning three straight power play opportunities. Despite some good looks, nothing came to fruition on any of those three power plays.
Peoria would open the scoring late in the first period as Brandon Hay beat Nick Bucklin with a backhand with just 49 seconds remaining in the first period.
The score would remain the same throughout the second period, as neither team could crack the scoreboard. Both Bucklin and Peoria goalie Luke Weberg made quality saves to keep it a 1-0 game after two.
The Mustands would extend their lead to two goals as Zachary Eddington put one past Bucklin at 4:59 of the third period. Vladislav Sorokin cut the lead in half with a great move to the inside, slipping the puck past Weberg. The goal was unassisted and came at the 9:51 mark of the third. This marked Sorokin’s fourth goal in the Showcase.
Rochester was unable to solve Weberg in the final half of the period despite getting solid looks on net and even after pulling Bucklin for the extra attacker.
With the loss, the Grizzlies fell to 2-1 in the NA3HL Showcase Tournament. The West Division as a whole finished 18-3 throughout the Showcase.
Rochester is back home Friday, Dec. 28 for a 7:05 game against New Ulm and the next night at 7:05 against North Iowa.