ROCHESTER, Minn. – It’s been since Nov. 7 since the Rochester Grizzlies have played a game at the Rochester Recreation Center. Friday’s game marked the first of six home games in the month of January for the Grizzlies, and it did not end the way they wanted it to. After coming back from a two-goal deficit, Rochester fell in a shootout to the St. Louis Jr Blues, 4-3.
The two teams met last weekend in Missouri with Rochester taking both of those contests, continuing to dominate the season series up till this point. Coming into Friday’s game, the Grizzlies were 6-0 against the Jr Blues in the 2020-21 season.
Rochester started off the scoring at 5:23 in the first period, as Logan Kroyman got a lucky bounce off the back boards and the puck bounced off Jr Blues goalie Owen Carlson and into the net. Kroyman’s goal came on the man advantage for Rochester with Dylan Schneider and Matt DeRosa picking up the assists. St. Louis would get its own fluke goal, as Riley Howse flipped the puck in from just past the center ice line and it bounced past Zach Wiese and into the net, tying the game at one. The Jr Blues would then capture the lead with Joey Boccardi getting his first of the season with 4:26 to go in the first period.
St. Louis came out strong in the second period with Howse getting his second of the game at the two minute mark, beating Wiese high to the blocker side. Rochester would continue firing shots on Carlson, but had trouble beating the Esko, MN, native. Eventually, while shorthanded, Justin Wright found the back of the net with 2:10 to go in the second to make it a one-goal game. Wright’s goal is the seventh shorthanded goal by Rochester this season, good for second in the North American 3 Hockey League. Tommy Gordon tallied the lone assist.
Throughout the third period, Rochester kept peppering Jr Blues’ goalie Carlson. Eventually it would be a mad scramble in front of the net before Cole Gibson found a loose puck and jammed it past Carlson to tie the game.
The teams would go to overtime with St. Louis carrying over a brief power play, which the Grizzlies would kill off. Neither team found the back of the net in overtime which would result in the first shootout of the season for Rochester. It was in the third round where Joey Solimando roofed the puck on Wiese, giving the Jr Blues a 1-0 lead in the shootout. Joey Fodstad was stopped in the final round by Carlson.
Rochester sits at 18-3-0-1, good for 37 points on the season and first place in the Central Division. The two teams do battle again Saturday evening at 7:05 from the Rochester Recreation Center.