ROCHESTER, Minn. – The Rochester Grizzlies started off the second half of the season on a high note, beating the New Ulm Steel 6-2 on home ice. The Grizzlies were trailing 2-1 after one, but scored five goals in the final two periods to bounce back.
Rochester (20-7-0-0) opened the scoring at 7:36 of the first period with Matt DeRosa picking up his 15th goal of the season. The goal came unassisted. New Ulm roared back with less than two minutes to go in the period, picking up two goals. Jack Parks scored at 18:16 of the second and Jake Ford scored a power play goal with nine seconds left in the period.
“I think we were lucky to only be down 2-1, to be honest. We were not very good, to be expected after the break, right? They had the same break, so it’s hard to blame that. We were just very individual and not really playing to our style of play,” said Head Coach Casey Mignone.
The second period proved to be a difference-maker for the Grizzlies. Richard Szabo tied the game at two off a two-on-one with Vladislav Sorokin. Szabo had an easy tap in goal.
“Vlad always passes to me. It was kind of obvious. It was a 2-on-1 and the ‘D’ dropped,” said Szabo.
Porter Haney scored his fifth of the season just 2:02 after Szabo’s goal after a great stretch pass from Seth Bacon. Haney was sprung on a breakaway and roofed a backhand past Steel goalie Henry Baribeau.
“That’s a play we work on and Bacon’s pass came right to my stick. I was able to turn without any pressure,” said Haney.
Rochester went into the third up 3-2 and did not look back that period. Peyton Hart scored an unassisted shorthanded goal, his seventh of the season, to make the lead 4-2 in favor of the Grizzlies. Szabo scored on Rochester’s third power play opportunity to make the lead 5-2.
Haney added an extra just for good measure after a nice passing play with Nic Leisen, putting his season goal total at six.
“I’ve been struggling in getting points, but it’s a relief and a weight off my shoulders,” said Haney.
Nick Bucklin shut the door the rest of the way after giving up two goals in the first period to pick up his 14th win of the season.
“Bucklin’s been awesome all year. He’s been really solid. The guys have a lot of confidence in him to not let it get out of hand. He made some big saves in the first period and made some saves in the third period, as well,” said Mignone.
The Grizzlies are back it Saturday from the Rec Center with a 7:05 puck drop against the North Iowa Bulls. Rochester now sits two points back of the Bulls for second place of the West Division and three points back of first place Granite City.