SAUK RAPIDS, Minn. – The Rochester Grizzlies inched closer to the top spot in the West Division with a big 2-1 road victory over the Granite City Lumberjacks Saturday night. This marks the third win in a row for the Grizzlies against the first place Lumberjacks.
Liam Kelly was given his third straight start for Rochester (22-8-0-0) and proved to be the key in the win.
Rochester opened the scoring in the first period with Peyton Hart, who recently signed a North American Hockey League tender with the Janesville Jets, opening the scoring at the 8:12 mark of the first. The goal marked Hart’s ninth of the season. Richard Szabo and Logan Olson added the assists.
The Lumberjacks would respond early in the second as Grant Troumbly got one past Kelly, tying the game at one justs 2:42 into the second. Kelly would shut the door for the rest of the way.
Vladislav Sorokin was sprung on a breakaway late in the second period and beat Granite City goalie David Mulligan with 2.8 seconds left in the second, giving the Grizzlies the lead. Porter Haney picked up the lone assist on a great pass. The goal was Sorokin’s 28th of the season.
Kelly and the Grizzlies were challenged in the third, getting outshot 13-9 in the final period. Kelly stood tall and made strong saves to keep the puck out of the net.
With the win, the Grizzlies (44 points) move just one point behind Granite City (45 points) for second place in the West Division. North Iowa defeated New Ulm Saturday to jump ahead of Granite City and move into first place with 46 points.
Rochester and Granite City will be back at it Wednesday in Rochester with a 7:05 puck drop. Saturday’s game marked the last time the Grizzlies would travel to Granite City for the regular season.