2018-19 Rochester Grizzlies Inaugural Season
Grizzlies team picture from their inaugural 2018-19 Season.
In their inaugural season, the Grizzlies finished the Regular Season with a record of 31-15-1, good for 63 points. That led to a third-place finish in the tough West Division and a spot in the Fraser Cup Playoffs. The Grizzlies enjoyed a 10-game win streak during the regular season, as well. During the inaugural season, Grizzlies players volunteered throughout the community with such organizations as Rochester Youth Hockey Association, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, and more.
Grizzlies team picture from the 2019-20 Season.
During the 2019-20 campaign, the Grizzlies made the switch from the West to the Central Division of the NA3HL. At the helm for the Grizzlies would be First-Year Head Coach Chris Ratzloff, who joined the team after the departure of Casey Mignone. Ratzloff and the Grizzlies saw immediate success as the team would finish the Regular Season with a record of 37-8-2 (76pts) and the Franchise’s first Central Division Regular Season Title. Grizzlies Goaltender, Mathis Bäckström would be named the NA3HL Goaltender of the Year for his performance during the 2019-20 Season. Bäckström finished the season with a record of 18-5-0, a 1.55 GAA, .939 SV% and 4 Shutouts. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies and the NA3HL postseason would be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grizzlies team picture from the 2020-21 Season.
After the cancellation of the 2019-20 Playoffs, the NA3HL announced that the 2020-21 Season would be played. The Grizzlies would win their 2nd straight Regular Season title after finishing with a record of 34-5-1 (69pts). During the Central Division Playoffs, the Grizzlies would sweep the Oregon Tradesmen in the division semifinals and would win the division final 2 games to 1 over the Peoria Mustangs to clinch the organization’s first-ever Division title and a trip to the Fraser Cup Playoffs. The Grizzlies would be the #1 seeded team going into Pool Play at the Fraser Cup Playoffs. After beating the Texas Brahmas (4-3) and the Oklahoma City Blazers (3-1), Rochester would find themselves in the Fraser Cup Semifinals against the Sheridan Hawks and would ultimately secure their first-ever trip to the Fraser Cup Finals with a 7-1 victory over the Hawks. In the Fraser Cup Final, the Grizzlies would match up with former West Division rival, the North Iowa Bulls. After a hard-fought battle, North Iowa would end up on top as the Grizzlies would see their season end as National Runner-Ups. Rochester would finish the 2020-21 campaign with an overall record of 41-7-1 (83pts). For the second straight season, a Grizzlies’ goalie would be named the NA3HL Goalie of the Year, as Shane Soderwall would win the Award. Soderwall finished the 2020-21 season with a record of 26-3-1, a 1.52 GAA, .943 SV%, and 7 shutouts. That wouldn’t be the only award a Grizzlies player would receive, as Grizzlies Captain and Forward Peyton Hart would be named the NA3HL Forward of the Year and the League’s Most Valuable Player. Hart totaled 28G-31A-59P in 49 games played during the 2020-21 Season. Chris Ratzloff would also be named the NA3HL Coach of the Year and the Rochester Grizzlies would be named the 2020-21 Organization of the Year.
Grizzlies team picture from the 2021-22 Season.
After the heartbreaking end to the 2020-21 Season, the Grizzlies looked to bounce back and return to the Fraser Cup Finals. After the departure of Assistant Coach Mike Aikens, Tyler Veen joined Head Coach Chris Ratzloff behind the bench as the team’s new Assistant Coach. For the 3rd straight season, the Grizzlies would secure the Central Division Regular Season title with a record of 38-6-3 (79pts). Rochester would match up with the Wausau Cyclones in the Division Semifinals and would sweep the series 2-0 to set up a match-up with division rival, the Oregon Tradesmen in the Central Division Finals. It would take three games, but in the end, the Grizzlies would secure their 2nd straight trip to the Fraser Cup Playoffs and make another run towards a Fraser Cup Championship. Rochester would match up with the Northeast Generals and the Gillette Wild in Pool Play. Rochester would drop game one of pool play, 5-2, to Northeast and would find themselves in a win-or-go-home scenario against the Gillette Wild but would battle and that contest 4-2 to advance to the Fraser Cup Semifinals against the Helena Bighorns. In the second meeting of the season between the two teams, Rochester would outlast Helena 4-2 to advance yet again to the Fraser Cup Championship against the Granite City Lumberjack, who the Grizzlies also met earlier in the season. In the first meeting between the two clubs at the NA3HL Showcase, Granite City would come out on top by a final of 3-2. Rochester would be looking for a different outcome this time around and with the help of a 29 save shutout by Zach Wiese, the Rochester Grizzlies would win their first Fraser Cup Title in franchise history. Grizzlies’ forward Ben Oakland’s performance at the Fraser Cup earned him the Fraser Cup Playoffs Most Valuable Player award. For the third straight season, the Grizzlies would have the NA3HL Goalie of the Year, this time Zach Wiese would win the title. Wiese finished the 2021-22 season with a record of 27-4-2, a 1.74 GAA, .928 SV%, and 5 shutouts on the year. Defensemen Noah Roitman would win the NA3HL Defensemen of the Year title and Forward Kyle Bauer would be named the leagues Rookie of the Year. Chris Ratzloff would be named the NA3HL Coach of the Year and the Rochester Grizzlies would be named the Organization of the Year for the second straight Season.
2022-23 Fifth Anniversary Season
The Grizzlies will be celebrating their Fifth Anniversary season in Rochester during the 2022-23 Season.