ROCHESTER, MN – For the third straight season, the Rochester Grizzlies start off 4-0. Saturday night’s game might not have been the way they envisioned it happening. A feisty Wausau Cyclones club battled hard and it was Luke Sawicky who came through in the end, tallying a late power-play goal to help Rochester earn a 4-2 home victory.
Much like Friday night, Saturday started off quick for the Grizzlies. An early penalty to Adam Wiggins put the struggling power play for Rochester on the ice. Coming into Saturday’s game, the Grizzlies were 1-for-9 with the man advantage on the season. Sawicky got his first of the evening after some pretty passing from Riley Dueber and Spencer Klotz found Sawicky back door for an open net. It stayed 1-0 until the 14:04 mark of the first when Erik Hernborn tipped a Per Waage point shot past Ryan Burke for his fourth of the season in as many games.
The score would stay 2-0 for most of the game as neither team found the back of the net in the second period. Rochester would have two power play opportunities in the middle frame but couldn’t convert.
Wausau took advantage and at 1:55 of the third period, Chase Chapman beat Lucas Henderson to the blocker side making it a one-goal game. An interference penalty on Ben Tschida put the Grizzlies down a man and Dylan Chapman knocked home a loose puck, tying the game at two at 7:38 of the third. Sawicky would play the hero as he corralled a loose puck in the crease at 16:29 of the third for his second power-play goal of the game. Dawson McLaughlin would add an empty net goal at 18:31 of the third, his first NA3HL goal.
The Grizzlies would finish 2-for-6 on the power play. Sawicky’s two goals now puts him at five on the season, good for the team lead four games in. Henderson stopped 12 of 14 shots to earn his third win of the year.
Rochester is home again next weekend for Friday and Saturday games against the Oregon Tradesmen. Rochester and Oregon have not played each other since the Central Division finals last season, which saw the Grizzlies win that best-of-three series two games to one. Puck drop both nights is set for 7:05 PM.