ROCHESTER, Minn. – That’s the way the Rochester Grizzlies wanted to start the Fraser Cup Playoffs. After having their playoff run cut short last season due to the pandemic, the motto for the Grizzlies has been “unfinished business” and they showed it with a great start to the best-of-three series over the Oregon Tradesmen, winning 9-1 on home ice.
Oregon would open the scoring just 5:53 in the first period as Drew Robertson’s point shot hit off a Grizzlies’ player and got past Shane Soderwall. The lead would last just over five minutes, as both teams were fairly evenly matched throughout the first half of the period. Joey Malugani tied the game at one at 11:09 of the first, as his pass attempt across the net mouth went off a Tradesmen player and in the net. Peyton Hart would give the Grizzlies the lead for good just eight seconds later, finishing off a pass from Joey Fodstad to make it 2-1. Rochester would rattle off two more goals in the period as Cole Gibson and Hunter Wilmes both found the back of the net for the top seeded Grizzlies.
The goals would not stop in the third as Gibson tallied his second of the game on a backhand at 7:03 of the second, giving Rochester a 5-1 lead. Teppei Ueno finished off a highlight reel play as he skated out of his own zone, split the Oregon defense and beat goalie Hunter Adams, making it 6-1 Rochester. Hunter Wilmes then continued the domination for the Grizzlies at 13:05 of the second, beating Adams high to the glove side.
Rochester would add on two more for good measure in the third, as Garrett Smith and Hart would make it 9-1 for the Grizzlies. Rochester clamped down defensively in the third, only allowing seven Oregon shots on net.
The win marks the 13th in a row for the Grizzlies dating back to the end of the regular season and gives Rochester a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series. Shane Soderwall stopped 23 of the 24 shots on net while 14 Grizzlies players found the scoresheet.
Game two is Saturday night at 7:05 from the Rochester Recreation Center. For game tickets, be sure to check the Grizzlies’ website and find the single game tickets tab. Game three, if necessary, will be Sunday on the road in Oregon.