ROCHESTER, Minn. – It was do or die for the Rochester Grizzlies. They chose the former as the Grizzlies edged out the North Iowa Bulls, 4-3, in game two of the best-of-three series. The Grizzlies lost game one on the road, 4-2. Friday’s game got away from Rochester as it was up 2-1 for about half of the game. This time, the Grizzlies had to come back.
The pace started out strong for the Grizzlies as they applied pressure but couldn’t crack Dysen Skinner. Unlike Friday night, we wouldn’t see a goal till late in the first period. Jarod Blackowiak scored his second of the series, beating Nick Bucklin from the slot. His goal was similar to the tying goal in Friday’s game. Shots added up in the first as Rochester would put up 19 compared to 14 for North Iowa.
Rochester killed off a penalty that carried over into the second period and seemed to get some momentum from it. Nic Leisen scored just 1:24 into the second with Joey Fodstad providing a screen. The second period would explode for more offense. The Bulls cashed in on the power play as Matt Dahlseide was the beneficiary of a beautiful feed from Cam Fagerlee and he tapped the puck in past Bucklin. Not two minutes later, the Grizzlies answered. Vladislav Sorokin intercepted a pass and danced through the defense to feed Oskar Stahl for an easy tap-in goal, tying the game up. Shortly after the goal, Rochester would go on the power play. Hunter Hall blew a wrist shot past Skinner at 8:16 of the second, giving Rochester the lead.
The Bulls came out stronger in the third period, as expected. However, Matt DeRosa would extend the lead to two with a dandy of a shot. DeRosa would make a move around one defender and roofed the puck short side on Skinner. The lead would stay at two for most of the period. Nick Johnson sprung some life into the Bulls with a breakaway goal at 14:34 of the third. That’s all the Bulls would get, as Bucklin stopped the door the rest of the way.
Rochester would finish with 50 shots on net while North Iowa would put up 40. Both teams only had 27 in Friday night’s game. Saturday night’s game sets up an exciting finale set for Sunday from Mason City. The winner of this series will go on to face the winner of Granite City and Alexandria. Both of those teams will also have a game three Sunday as Alexandria won in overtime to stave off elimination.
Game time is set for 6:30 from Mason City. The game can be found on Hockey TV for those not able to travel.