ROCHESTER, Minn. – The Alexandria Blizzard just happen to have the Rochester Grizzlies’ number this season. Rochester had a 1-0 after one, but ultimately fell 3-2 to end the four-game home stand with a record of 2-2. With the win, the Grizzlies are now 0-4 against the Blizzard this season.
Rochester (24-10-0-0) came into the night on a high note after a great come from behind victory Wednesday over Willmar and carried that into the first period.
Vladislav Sorokin scored his 30th goal of the season on the power play after beating Blizzard goalie Kyle Hayden with not much room to score. The goal came at 10:26 of the first with Porter Haney and Logan Olson picking up the assists. Rochester would carry that lead into the second and out-shot Alexandria 9-7 in the first period.
“Our first period was actually probably one of our best in the last three or four games. We ended on a high note. So I really liked the way we played in the first and the way we ended it,” said Seth Bacon.
Alexandria would respond quickly to start the second as just 37 seconds in, Tanner Frerichs would take advantage of a two-on-one and beat goalie Nick Bucklin. Sorokin would respond at the 7:45 mark after a nice feed from Lucas Newman, giving the Grizzlies a 2-1 lead for the time being. Brett Meister knocked home an unassisted power play goal at the nine minute mark. The goal caused some controversy due to the net being off the pegs when the puck crossed the line.
The game would stay tied until 7:39 of the third period when Ike Taraszewski knocked a rebound past Bucklin, giving the Blizzard the lead. Jack Powell put the point shot on net and Taraszewski was left uncovered in the slot.
“It was a shot from the point. Essentially we need to block shots. We didn’t block very many shots tonight and they blocked a ton of shots. So blocking shots, picking up sticks, covering your guys, just a mixture of things,” said Logan Olson.
Rochester had the goalie pulled but were unable to solve Blizzard goalie Kyle Hayden, who made some desperation saves towards the end of the game to keep his team in front.
Alexandria is the only team in the West Division the Grizzlies have yet to beat this season.
“They play hard. They block shots. They’re physical. All four games they’ve gotten really good goaltending. That was the difference, blocking shots tonight. They probably blocked about 25 or 30 shots and we blocked six, maybe,” said Head Coach Casey Mignone.
The Grizzlies were unable to gain any ground on the idle North Iowa Bulls, who do not play a game this weekend. Rochester still sits one point back of the Bulls for second place and three points back of first place Granite City. The Lumberjacks are on the road Saturday taking on the Willmar War Hawks.
Rochester will have to regroup since it plays the very same Alexandria squad tomorrow night on the road. It’s a 7:10pm start time on Hockey TV. The Grizzlies’ next home game is Friday, February 8 at 7:05pm.