ROCHESTER, Minn. – Cody Reagle didn’t have a point in seven games coming in to Thursday’s home game against the Alexandria Blizzard. The forward from Bay City, MI responded by providing a goal and two assists in a 3-1 win over the Blizzard, extending the Grizzlies’ home win streak to 12. That’s still good for the second-longest current win streak and second overall this season, trailing only the Northeast Generals.
The game had a slow start to it, with both teams seemingly not starting the game off on a high note. Rochester’s first goal would prove that notion even further. Luke McKinch, who was playing forward this game due to injuries up front, let a simple backhand go towards the net. Blizzard goalie Ville Hyttinen whiffed on his attempt to knock the puck into the corner and it beat him five-hole to give the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead. The goal would be McKinch’s first of his NA3HL career. Clayton Shultz and Reagle assisted on the goal.
Reagle would find the back of the net late in the second period to double the lead to 2-0. Devin Hays’ shot got blocked in front and Reagle was there to pick it up and he beat Hyttinen up high for his fourth of the season. Joey Fodstad also provided an assist, for his 45th point of the season. Reagle’s goal came at 15:38 of the period.
Things got interesting in the third period, as Alexandria cut the lead in half at 9:23 of the third. Jered Sanborn’s shot from the point took a bad bounce and got underneath the blocker of Mathias Backstrom. It looked like Backstrom was trying to settle the puck to cover or it send it into the corner, but it crept underneath his armpit and in the net to cut the lead to 2-1. Shortly afterwards the Grizzlies were sent to the penalty kill as Ethan Noonan sat for cross checking, possibly giving the Blizzard a chance to tie the game. Rochester would kill off the ensuing penalty kill.
The Grizzlies would put it out of reach with 4:27 to go in the third, as captain Peyton Hart walked in all alone and beat Hyttinen to make it 3-1. Matt DeRosa and Reagle assisted on Hart’s 12th of the season. The Grizzlies tightened it up on defense afterwards, not allowing Alexandria many good scoring chances even with the extra attacker.
Backstrom earned the win in net, stopping 28 of 29 shots. He is now 15-4 on the season. Meanwhile the Grizzlies improve to 31-8-1 (63 points) and are eight points clear of second place St. Louis Jr. Blues in the Central Division. The Grizzlies still have one less game played than the Jr. Blues.
Rochester is back in action Saturday on the road taking on the Coulee Region Chill. Puck drop is set for 7 PM. The Grizzlies have three games against the Chill remaining this season, including the next home game, which is Friday, February 21st. That game is set for 7 PM from the Rochester Recreation Center.