WILLMAR, Minn. – After a tough loss Saturday night at home to North Iowa, the Rochester Grizzlies are going into 2019 on a high note. The Grizzlies came away with a 3-1 road victory over the Willmar War Hawks Monday night. The win keeps Rochester on pace with North Iowa and Granite City at the top of the West Division.
Liam Kelly was awarded his second straight start for the Grizzlies (21-8-0-0) after suffering a tough loss Saturday to North Iowa. He wasn’t tested much in the first period, only seeing seven shots. Rochester gave Kelly some goal support late in the first as Matt DeRosa scored his 16th of the season with 1:40 to go in the first. Lucas Newman and Richard Szabo picked up the assists on the goal.
The second period saw a little more scoring for the visiting Grizzlies. Peyton Hart continued his strong play of late by picking up his eighth of the year at 10:01 of the second. Hart was the beneficiary of a nice pass by Porter Haney on a Grizzlies 2-on-1. Seth Bacon added the other assist for Rochester.
Rochester was awarded a late power play in the second as War Hawks forward Elijah Slagter would sit for elbowing with 54 seconds left in the second. It wouldn’t take the Grizzlies long to convert on the power play, as Vladislav Sorokin scored his 27th goal of the season just three minutes into the man-advantage. Bacon picked up his second assist of the game. Sorokin now has 10 more goals than second place on the team (Richard Szabo).
Willmar would make it close in the third as Jacob May finally solved Kelly to cut the lead to 3-1 at the 14:46 mark. The War Hawks would go on to out-shoot the Grizzlies 12-6 in the third but could not find another goal.
Shots in the game were tied at 33 apiece. Kelly picked up his fourth win of the season.
Rochester is back in action Saturday night on the road against the Granite City Lumberjacks, who defeated the Alexandria Blizzard Monday night. With that win, the Lumberjacks jump back into first place in the West Division (45 points), one point up on the North Iowa Bulls (44). The Grizzlies (42) sit two points back of second place and three back of first place after Monday night.