ROCHESTER, MN – It felt like playoff hockey Friday evening from the Rochester Recreation Center. The Rochester Grizzlies battled the feisty Oregon Tradesmen and came away with a 2-1 win. Ben Oakland and Layten Liffrig scored the goals while Zach Wiese stopped 18 of 19 shots in the win.
Neither team scored in the first period despite Rochester controlling much of the play. The Grizzlies put up 17 shots in the first and held the visitors to just seven. Tradesmen goalie AJ Adleman was strong in the first period with key saves to keep it a 0-0 score.
The second period was where all the action was. Abe Laggis converted on a five-on-three power play for the visitors, knocking a loose puck past Wiese to open the scoring. Per Waage had his stick break on the play, which virtually made it a five-on-two for Oregon. Rochester answered just over three minutes later as Oakland knocked home a rebound off a Cole Gibson shot to tie the game at one. Kade Shea added the other assist. Liffrig’s 14th goal of the season came on the power play at 12:44 of the second period. Liffrig took advantage of time and space and cut to the front of the net, beating Adleman between the legs.
Rochester held on in the third period with some late-game dramatics. Wiese made several key stops while Oregon actually scored but time ran out just before the puck was tipped past Wiese.
The Grizzlies move to 37-6-3 (77 points) and will meet the Tradesmen again Saturday evening at 7:05 to wrap up the regular season.