ROCHESTER, Minn. – It looked like the Rochester Grizzlies were on the verge of their first loss to the Willmar War Hawks of the season. An undisciplined penalty by Willmar forward Cameron Knolwton, two late power play goals and the Grizzlies came away with a 3-2 victory.
Coming into the game, the Grizzlies were 4-0 against the War Hawks this season. Dylan Svoboda opened the scoring for Rochester (24-9-0-0) with his second goal of the season after a juicy rebound was kicked out to him by War Hawks goalie Nelson Schiiler. John Rowell and Colin Mehren picked up the assists on the goal.
The score would not change throughout the first, with the Grizzlies out-shooting Willmar 13-12.
The War Hawks opened the scoring just 1:41 in the second as Hunter Hall continued his hot streak, burying a feed from Ian Zaleski. This would extend his goal streak to four games. He would score his second of the game at 8:28 of the second after Grizzlies goalie Nick Bucklin let a rebound go out to the slot.
Play was relatively even among both teams for the third period. Colin Mehren took a tripping minor with 5:21 left in the third, putting Rochester in a tough spot down one with not much time remaining. The Grizzlies caught a break, however, as Cameron Knowlton jumped Seth Bacon after a clean hit and negated the War Hawks power play. As a result, Knowlton was given seven minutes worth of penalties up on the board. This gave the Grizzlies a power play for the rest of the game, as one was a five-minute major.
Going into the third, the Grizzlies were 0/3 on the power play. With time running out, Matt DeRosa got the tying goal as he redirected in Porter Haney’s point shot with 23 seconds left. Haney then scored was would be a highlight reel goal, getting through the Willmar defense and beating Schiiler with seven seconds to go in the third.
Coming in to Wednesday’s game, the Grizzlies were 2-7 when trailing after two. The second win came Friday after Rochester won 5-4 over Breezy Point after being down 2-0 after the second.
With the win, the Grizzlies are now at 48 points and one point back of second place North Iowa and three back of first place Granite City. Rochester is back home Friday taking on the Alexandria Blizzard and are 0-3 against the Blizzard this season. Game time is 7:05 from the Rochester Rec Center.