Grizzlies drop series opener at Peoria, NA3HL Central Division race tightens
Peoria topped the Rochester Grizzlies for the fourth time this season and pulled within one point of Rochester at the top of the NA3HL Central Division standings.
PEORIA, Ill. -- The Rochester Grizzlies had trouble generating offense from the get-go here Friday and never got on track, falling to North American 3 Hockey League Central Division rival Peoria 4-1.
The loss drops the Grizzlies to 22-5-1 overall this season and pulls Peoria (21-5-2) within one point of Rochester for first place in the division.
Friday's result magnifies the importance of Saturday's rematch; the teams meet again in Peoria at 6:45 p.m.
Rochester was held to just 10 shots on goal through the first two periods.
The Mustangs, meanwhile, scored three times in the second period, Jackson Gram's goal 1:48 into the period that put his team ahead for good. Reid Lune then scored twice in a span of 3:40 midway through the period to help the Mustangs pull away.
Grizzlies' newcomer Blake Arenson scored his first goal as a Grizzly -- and his team's only goal of the night -- at 15:45 of the second to pull Rochester within 3-1.
That's as close as the Grizzlies would get, though, as Rochester Century graduate and current Mustangs goalie Cole Walter stopped 24 shots in the game, including all 15 he faced in the third period. Walter improved to 16-4-0 as the starter this season.
Peoria added an empty-net goal late in the game.
Zach Wiese made 23 saves for the Grizzlies.
MUSTANGS 4, GRIZZLIES 1
Rochester: Blake Arneson 1 goal; Peyton Hart 1 assist; Yataro Nakadate 1 assist. Goalie: Zach Wiese 23 saves (26 shots).
Peoria: Hubert Guzy 1 assist; Ibriham Arifi 1 goal; Jackson Gram 1 goal; Connor Bennett 3 assists; Luca Goulding 2 assists; Reid Lune 2 goals, 1 assist; Thomas Kayner 1 assist. Goalie: Cole Walter 24 saves (25 shots).