ROCHESTER, Minn. – For the second time in a week, the Rochester Grizzlies completed a comeback against the Granite City Lumberjacks. This time, the Grizzlies did after trailing 3-0 after one and ultimately coming out on top 4-3 on home ice.
The Grizzlies (14-5-0-0) were trailing 2-0 more than halfway through the first period in last Saturday’s game against the Lumberjacks.
Ryan Pogue opened the scoring for Granite City at the 7:38 mark of the first period, beating goalie Nick Bucklin on the five-hole. Vladislav Sorokin took an undisciplined cross checking penalty, on which Granite City would capitalize. Grant Troumbly scored his 16th of the season on the power play with 3:30 remaining in the first. Pogue would score his second of the game at the 17:17 mark of the first.
“I actually thought our first period was really good. One pretty selfish penalty there, they scored on it, always do on those. I honestly thought we played really well in the first period. They capitalized on a couple chances,” said Head Coach Casey Mignone.
Seth Bacon would cut the lead to 3-1 with an unassisted goal just 3:09 into the second.
“I saw no one was guarding me up top because they were all trapped down low, so I found a hole and somehow the puck found me,” said Bacon.
Sorokin would make it a 3-2 game at 8:48 of the second, as he followed up a shot and stuffed it home. Joey Fodstad and Peyton Hart had the assists. Newcomer Nic Leisen, playing in his first game with the Grizzlies, would tie it on the power play for the Grizzlies. Jack Flattum was in the box serving a boarding major. Leisen redirected Bacon’s shot from the point.
“Coach told me from the start to stay in front because the guys up on top at the point are going to rip it. He just said stay in front and that’s definitely what I like to do. I’m a big guy so I just park myself in front and tip pucks and see if I can get those second efforts,” said Leisen.
Sorokin scored a fantastic goal on a toe drag around a defender at the 1:31 mark of the third to give the Grizzlies a 4-3 lead. They never looked back.
Rochester would face an onslaught of Granite City shots towards the end of the period, but Bucklin and the defense stood strong. Bacon blocked a shot with about five seconds left in the period to help seal the victory for the Grizzlies.
Rochester is on the road next week against North Iowa Friday and Saturday. North Iowa is sitting tied atop the West Division with 30 points, same as Granite City. Rochester is now just two points back at 28.
The Grizzlies are back home Dec. 7 for Mayo Clinic Night and Teddy Bear Toss night.