ROCHESTER, MN – Going into Saturday’s game against the Mason City Toros, the Rochester Grizzlies were 0-1-1 when trailing after two periods. It hasn’t happened often this season, but when it has, the Grizzlies haven’t won. Their opponent, the Toros, were a perfect 15-0-0. All that changed Saturday. The Grizzlies scored three third-period goals to come back and earn a big 6-4 win over their rival Mason City.
The Toros opened the scoring at 6:44 of the first when Shota Kaneko snuck the puck past Zach Wiese to give the visitors the lead. Mason City would have that lead for most of the first until a turnover led to a Grizzlies goal. Cole Gibson picked off a clearing attempt and dished the puck to Layten Liffrig who beat Nathan Dickey high to the blocker side on a partial breakaway.
The game would open up in the second period for both teams. Sota Isogai gave Mason City a 2-1 lead at 9:33. Gibson would tie it back up for the Grizzlies less than a minute later at 10:31, redirecting a point shot by Per Waage. Just 35 seconds later, Kyle Bauer would knock home a power-play goal for Rochester to make it 3-2. To make things crazier, just 20 seconds later, Nik Howell capitalized on a bad Wiese turnover and fired it home before the goalie could collect himself, tying the game at three. That marked four goals combined in less than two minutes. Isogai would then capitalize on the power play with 52 seconds left in the second, making it 4-3 Mason City.
Rochester would then storm its comeback in the third as just 28 seconds in, Justin Wright finished off a pretty pass by Liffrig from behind the net and hammered it home, tying the game 4-4. Just 51 seconds later, Liffrig would dance through three Toros players, get a shot on net and Bauer was the first one there to knock home the rebound and make it 5-4 Rochester. That goal was the 20th of the season for Bauer, the first Grizzly to make that mark this season. Gibson would add on his second of the game at 16:58 of the third.
The Grizzlies head into the NA3HL Showcase in Blaine, MN at 23-2-1 (47 points) and first place in the Central Division. Their action starts Monday the 21st at 2:15pm against the Northeast Generals. For the schedule and ticket information, head to the NA3HL website.