ROCHESTER, Minn. – With first place on the line, the Rochester Grizzlies certainly had a lot for which to play. So did their opponent, the Granite City Lumberjacks. The Grizzlies fell behind 3-0 after one and never could recover, dropping Wednesday’s game 6-4.
The Grizzlies (22-9-0-0) and Lumberjacks were in third and second place in the West Division respectively coming in to the night. Both teams trailing the North Iowa Bulls.
Liam Kelly earned his fourth straight start and suffered a tough bounce early in the game. Matt Moran dumped the puck in and it bounced off the zamboni doors and into the slot where Zack DeBoom knocked it into a yawning cage. Blake Spetz scored his third of the year at 13:55 of the first, making the game 2-0 Granite City. Grant Troumbly scored his 25th goal of the season at 15:31.
“We were kind of fighting the puck early. We had a bad bounce off the ‘zam’ door, came right out to the guy and (he) had a wide open net. That deflated us a little bit. Then they got another quick one, which took even more out of us. Next thing you know, we’re fighting against each other, fighting against the clock…they used that to their advantage tonight,” said Seth Bacon.
Granite City kept the foot on the pedal early in the second as Spetz scored his second of the game just 3:38 into the second. Bailey Sommers finished off a nice pass from Troumbly to extend the lead to five goals.
Rochester would respond 48 seconds later on the power play, as Seth Bacon scored his 10th of the year. Lucas Newman picked up the lone assist after winning the draw clean. The lead did not last long as Jordan Drobinski scored just 70 seconds later for the Lumberjacks, making it 6-1.
“That’s not a good time. The most important shift is after a goal. That decides whether or not the tempo will go your way. After that power play goal, we got caught in our own end, they put it in the back of our net. We were right back to where we were before,” said Bacon.
Matt DeRosa scored a late second period goal, cutting the lead to 6-2. The goal was DeRosa’s 17th of the season.
Granite City was held off the scoresheet in the third period but Rochester could not muster up enough of a comeback.
Lucas Newman cut the lead in half at 10:08 of the third, knocking a rebound past Lumberjacks goalie Matt Fitzgerald. DeRosa added his second of the game after a wonderful pass from Newman at 18:39 of the third. That would be all the Grizzlies get. Despite racking up 49 shots and holding Granite City to 38, the Grizzlies didn’t get the results they wanted.
“We were playing very perimeter based. We’re getting shots from the outside and no one’s crashing the net, no one’s getting to the dirty areas to grease the puck in, maybe bounce off the goalie’s pad…we weren’t getting the best quality. We were just throwing it glove side, giving easy shots to the goalie. We just have to fix that,” said DeRosa.
Rochester won’t have much time to fix it, as its back home Friday night taking on the Breezy Point North Stars. This was the first game of a four-game home stand for the Grizzlies.