ROCHESTER, MN – It didn’t take long for Ben Oakland to make himself known with the Rochester Grizzlies. A veteran of 62 NAHL games, Oakland joined the Grizzlies this week and led the way with two goals and an assist as Rochester took down the Milwaukee Power 5-1. Cole Gibson chipped in a goal and two assists, as well.
Gibson would start the scoring just 33 seconds in for the Grizzlies, finishing off a nice centering feed from Oakland and chipped it up and over the glove of Power goalie Spencer Northway. Gibson’s 11th of the season was also assisted by Mason Thingvold. Rochester would hold the 1-0 lead until the 9:44 mark of the first when Layten Liffrig knocked home a pass from Lyncoln Howarth to make it 2-0 for the home team. The play started with Ian Vannelli sprawling out to keep the puck in the offensive zone for the Grizzlies.
Rochester would really clamp things down in the second period, eventually holding Milwaukee to just four shots on net compared to 14 in the first. Howarth scored the first highlight-reel goal of the period for the Grizzlies, as he tucked home a backhander past Northway after receiving the puck from Liffrig. Luke Morrisette added an assist on Howarth’s third goal of the season. Later in the period, Oakland would do his best to one-up Howarth, finishing off another beautiful move to make it 4-0 Rochester at 18:14 of the second.
Max Erstad would make it a 4-1 game early in the third for the visitors. It would stay that way until Oakland collected his second at 10:27 of the third to cap it off for the Grizzlies. Zach Wiese stopped 21 of 22 shots on net, as the Grizzlies held the Power to just eight shots combined in the final two periods. Northway fought off 50 of 55 Rochester shots on net.
The Grizzlies now move up to 28-6-2 (58 points) and still sit on top of the Central Division. Rochester and Milwaukee finish off the season series Saturday evening at 7:05. It’s also the last of a six-game homestand for the Grizzlies.