ROCHESTER, Minn. – That’s the home opener the Grizzlies were looking for. After a scoreless first period, the Grizzlies stormed back to score seven unanswered goals, topping the Wausau RiverWolves 7-0 at the Rochester Rec Center. This marked the first meeting between the two new Central Division rivals.
Shane Soderwall earned his second straight start after picking up the victory over Peoria last Saturday. He didn’t face much action in the first period, as Rochester held Wausau to just four shots. The Grizzlies peppered RiverWolves goalie Tyler Klatt with 13 shots. Neither team had a penalty, as well.
Wasau was awarded two early penalties to start the second, which Rochester killed off with ease. After that, it was all Grizzlies. Defenseman Michael Heitkamp continued his hot streak, opening the scoring at 11:10 of the second as he fired a slap shot from the point past Klatt. Clayton Shultz picked up the assist as he put it on a tee for Heitkamp. Josh Hoffman scored his first of the season, beating Klatt clean with a wrist shot at the 13:55 mark. The Grizzlies would tack on two more as Heitkamp scored his second of the game, followed by Nic Leisen deflecting in a Heitkamp point shot.
Heitkamp would complete his hat trick at 5:28 of the third, scoring with ease from the point. This marked the first hat trick scored by a defenseman in Grizzlies team history.
Joey Fodstad and Hoffman scored late goals for Rochester. The Grizzlies had six players with multi-point efforts tonight (Heitkamp, Lucas Newman, Leisen, Fodstad, Hoffman and Peyton Hart). Soderwall stopped all 13 shots he saw to earn his first career North American 3 Hockey League shutout.
These two teams are back at it Saturday night from the Rochester Rec Center, once again, at 7. It will be the second of eight meetings between the two teams.