ROCHESTER, MN – Welcome back, Ben Oakland. After starting the season with the Minnesota Wilderness of the North American Hockey League, the reigning Fraser Cup Playoff MVP made his mark in his return to the Rochester Grizzlies. Oakland tallied two third-period goals to break a tie as the Grizzlies finished the Mason City Toros weekend sweep with a 4-2 victory on home ice.
After beating the Toros 8-4 Friday night on the road, the Grizzlies were in a battle right from the get-go Saturday. Cullen Hogan opened the scoring for the visitors just 6:37 into the first, finishing off a Carter Newpower pass on a two-on-one. Rochester would tie it at 12:51 of the first as Albert Lea native Joseph Yoon tallied his first career NA3HL goal with a slick backhand to beat Toros goalie Connor Graham. While on a late power play in the first period, Logan Kroyman, who was playing his first game since suffering a knee injury in the Fraser Cup Championship last season, put a point shot on net that bounced to Luke Sawicky and he knocked it into the yawning cage to make it 2-1 Grizzlies.
The score would stay two one until late in the second when after a lengthy delay due to a pane of glass breaking, Mason City would tie it at 18:49 of the second. Marcus Fritel found a loose puck after a net mouth scramble and beat Tate Cothern.
Oakland would tally his first of the game at 7:30 of the third, as Rochester would capitalize on a five-on-three power play. Oakland had Graham way out of position and beat him from nearly the goal line to make it 3-2 Rochester. He would also score the empty net goal with 21 seconds remaining in the third.
Oakland and newcomer Owen Van Tassel, playing in his fourth game with the Grizzlies, would each tally multi-point nights as Van Tassel picked up assists on both Oakland goals. Cothern, the Rochester, MN native and former Mayo goalie, would pick up his second win of the season as he stopped 25 of 27 shots on net.
Rochester improves to 8-2 on the season (16 points) and is off next weekend before traveling to St. Louis for two games two weeks from now. The Grizzlies are back home on Oct. 28 and 29 for two games against the Milwaukee Power.