ROCHESTER, Minn. – Dylan Schneider, have yourself a night. The Rochester, MN, native provided all the offense the Grizzlies would need as he scored all four goals in a huge 4-3 win Saturday night over the Granite City Lumberjacks in front of the home crowd. The win extended the Grizzlies’ home win streak to 10 games, good for second best current home win streak and second best throughout the entire season. The Northeast Generals hold the current best home win streak at 13 games.
Coming into Saturday’s game, Schneider already had seven points in four games for the Grizzlies. He has found a home in the Grizzlies’ top six, playing on the power play, as well.
The game was set to be an intense one, with both teams in first place in their respective divisions. The season series was tied at one win apiece, with Saturday’s game the last one between the two teams in Rochester.
After a back-and-forth first period, Schneider would open the scoring at the 15:35 mark of the first period by beating Lumberjacks goalie Bailey Huber high to the glove side. Peyton Hart and Matt DeRosa assisted on Schneider’s fourth goal of the season. On the very next shift, Schneider would score from a similar spot on the ice and extend the lead to 2-0. Both goals came from inside the right win face-off dot and beat Huber short side. Hart and Noel Parker provided the assists. The goals came just 25 seconds apart.
Granite City would respond early on in the second period. Defenseman Landon Johnson sneaked one on the ice through Mathias Backstrom to cut the lead to 2-1. Johnson’s goal came just 1:42 into the second period. The Lumberjacks would continue to apply pressure in the period until Schneider gave Rochester some more breathing room. His third goal of the game came with just 2:21 left in the second period, with DeRosa picking up another assist. Schneider’s goal marked his first career hat trick in the North American 3 Hockey League. It also marked the fourth hat trick collectively as a team this season for the Grizzlies. Michael Heitkamp, Joey Fodstad and Lucas Newman have the others for Rochester.
The Lumberjacks would not go away quietly. The visitors were awarded an early power play in the third period and defenseman Kearby Larson beat Backstrom on the ice to cut the lead to 3-2. Larson’s goal came 3:40 into the third period. Schneider capped off his evening at 7:24 of the third with his fourth goal. It might have been the prettiest one of the four as it was from a tight angle with not much room. He beat Huber over his right shoulder short side to give Rochester a two goal lead again. Hart added his third assist of the night. Not even a minute later, the Lumberjacks would make a one goal game again as Johnson got his second of the evening. The shot from the point went off Backstrom’s glove and into the net.
Schneider nearly scored an empty net goal with less than a minute to play, but hit the post. Granite City would not be able to find the equalizer as Rochester held on for the victory. The Grizzlies never lost the lead all game. With the win, Rochester now improves to 21-2-1 when scoring the first goal of the game. It is now 16-1-1 at home this season. The last loss on home ice was back on Nov. 9.
The Grizzlies are starting to pull away in the Central Division. Saturday’s win improves the record to 28-6-1, good for 57 points. They are 10 points up on the St. Louis Jr. Blues, who are starting to slide a little in the standings. The Jr. Blues lost Saturday’s home game to the New Ulm Steel. Those two teams battle again Sunday afternoon.
Rochester is home again Saturday, Feb. 1 for its second annual Pink in the Rink Night. The Grizzlies will be wearing custom pink jerseys at the game with part of the proceeds from the post game jersey auction being donated to Mayo Clinic for cancer research. Fans will also be able to purchase tee shirts designed like the jerseys the team will be wearing. All of the proceeds from those sales go to Mayo Clinic, as well. For more information about the game, fans can call the Grizzlies front office during office hours (weekdays 9 AM-5 PM) at 507-722-0415.