ROCHESTER, Minn. – In what was certainly an important game for standings positions, the Rochester Grizzlies could not get the job done. The Grizzlies came into the night nine points back of their opponent, first place Granite City Lumberjacks, but could not gain any ground, dropping the contest, 5-1.
Heading into the evening, Rochester was one point up on third place North Iowa. The Bulls would eventually go on to beat Willmar and jump the Grizzlies in the standings, now sitting one point up on Rochester.
The Grizzlies had a full two minute five-on-three just about a minute and a half into the game. Matt Moran and Bailey Sommers each took coincidental tripping penalties. The Grizzlies could not convert on the power play. Not too long after the power play ended, Moran fired a wrist shot past Bucklin to open the scoring for the Lumberjacks. The rest of the period did not fare well for the Grizzlies as Grant Troumbly picked off a pass and beat Bucklin to double the lead for Granite City.
“A five-on-three and we don’t even generate a quality chance. We just aren’t ready to start games. It has to fall on me, I guess, for us not being ready consistently. So something has to change for us to be better to start a game,” said Head Coach Casey Mignone.
Granite City would extend the lead to 3-0 less than five minutes into the second period as Brad Amundson scored his 8th goal of the season. The Grizzlies would start to pick up their play for the rest of the period and would be rewarded for it. Vladislav Sorokin scored his 33rd goal of the season, flipping over the sprawling Lumberjack goalie, David Mulligan.
Amundson would essentially put the nail in the coffin for the Grizzlies as he scored his second of the game at 7:49 of the third period. Rochester came out with some buzz in the start of the third, too. Ryan Pogue capped off the scoring by converting a power play goal at 10:43 of the third. Rochester was unable to beat Mulligan the rest of the way.
“I think we weren’t really getting pucks to the net. We were trying to do a bunch of one-on-one stuff and trying to make everything look pretty. We just need to get pucks to the net and try to get rebounds in,” said Logan Olson.
Rochester would go on to be out-shot by the Lumberjacks 38-27. Nick Bucklin was saddled with the loss. The loss evened up the season series for the Grizzlies and Lumberjacks with each team finishing with three wins.
The Grizzlies are back home next Friday taking on the Alexandria Blizzard for the sixth and final time. The Blizzard are the only team the Grizzlies have not beaten this season.
“[We can expect in practice] a lot of execution. A lot of greasy areas, tip drills battle drills. Basically anything that’s going to get our compete level for ‘Alex’ because losing five games, possibly six, is not a good feeling,” said Matt DeRosa.
Game time next Friday is 7:05 from the Rochester Rec Center. The Grizzlies’ inaugural Pink in the Rink Night is the following night, Saturday the 16th, at 7:05. Tickets and tee shirts are available for sale at upcoming home games and during Grizzlies’ office hours during the week from 9a-5p.