ROCHESTER, Minn. – The Rochester Grizzlies wrapped up the preseason on a high note. Facing their old West Division foes, the Grizzlies came away with a 3-2 victory over the North Iowa Bulls from the Rochester Recreation Center.
The two teams will not see each other in the regular season, as all play in the North American 3 Hockey League is divisional play. That didn’t stop the two from playing physical throughout the contest. Friday night’s game had three periods, with the second being split into 10 minute halves. That allowed Grizzlies Head Coach Christ Ratzloff and Bulls Head Coach Todd Sanden to swap out players so most of each roster could see ice time.
The Bulls opened the scoring in the second period, as Shota Kaneko scored a power play goal, beating returning goalie Shane Soderwall. Rochester came back with its own power play goal as newcomer Jameson Folden scored on the power play, tying the game at one. Another new face, Kyle Brown, gave Rochester a 2-1 lead in the second half of the second period. Brown received a nice field from Alex Villa from behind the net and beat Bulls goalie Joseph Daninger from the near post.
Rochester tallied its second power play goal in the third period, as defenseman Logan Kroyman fired home a cross-ice feed from his defensive partner Tyler Huffer. Kroyman had a yawning cage and beat Daninger on the four-on-three power play. North Iowa would score with 50 seconds remaining in the third, but it was not enough.
All three Grizzlies goalies, Shane Soderwall, Zach Wiese and Zach Foster saw ice time in the contest, stopping a combined 24 of 26 shots. Rochester fired 27 on Daninger, who saw the net for the entire game for North Iowa.
The regular season starts next week as the Grizzlies are on the road Thursday and Friday against the St. Louis Jr. Blues. Rochester’s home opener is two weeks from tonight against the Jr. Blues. The Grizzlies play Friday the 9th and Saturday the 10th against St. Louis, with both games starting at 7:05 PM.