WAUSAU, Wis. – The Rochester Grizzlies started the second half with a bang. After sweeping the North American 3 Hockey League Showcase and then enjoying the holiday break, the Grizzlies came back Sunday evening and routed the Wausau RiverWolves 7-1. With the win, the Grizzlies are now back in first place in the Central Division.
The scoring started just 1:23 into the first as Nic Leisen shot the puck on net, having it redirect off Lucas Newman in front and past RiverWolves goalie Tyler Klatt. Jesper Hofling also picked up an assist on Newman’s 12th of the season. It would stay 1-0 for about 10 minutes before leading goal scorer Joey Fodstad found the back of the net for his 20th of the season, matching his total from last year. Fodstad was able to beat Klatt short side after gathering a loose puck at 11:35 of the first. Wausau’s Tanner Eskro would come close to cutting the lead in half as his shot beat Sean Guerin but hit the crossbar. Rochester would capitalize as not too long after, Noel Parker had time and space to beat Klatt with a wrist shot, making it 3-0. Andrejs Bogdanovs and Porter Haney assisted on the goal. Hofling made it 4-0 Grizzlies with his fifth of the season with just 21 seconds left in the second.
The Grizzlies would keep up the second period as Hunter Wilmes tallied his fourth of the season at 5:12 of the second. Zack Justice and Matt DeRosa assisted on the goal. Haney would join in on the fun by getting his 11th goal of the season. DeRosa and Heitkamp picked up the assists on the goal coming at 15:36 of the second.
Wausau would finally beat Guerin as Hayden Miller scored just 26 seconds into the third period. That would be the only blemish on the scoresheet for Guerin. Newman tallied his second of the game 39 seconds later, making it 7-1. Hofling and Leisen had the assists.
Guerin stopped 21 of 22 shots on net, improving his record to 4-2-1. Five Grizzlies (Haney, Newman, Hofling, Leisen and DeRosa) had multi-point efforts. Hofling had his first career three point game in the NA3HL Sunday evening. With his goal, Fodstad also increased his point streak to nine games, a career best for him.
Rochester now sits at 21-5-1 on the season and good for 43 points. The Grizzlies are tied in points with the St. Louis Jr. Blues but do have a better win percentage and therefore are in first place. The Grizzlies are back home Tuesday evening taking on Wausau again in a New Year’s Eve contest. Fans can win door prizes throughout the game. Beer sales will be 2 for $5 all evening. Puck drop is at 7 PM with doors opening at 6 PM.