Grizzlies in must-win situation after Game 1 loss

The Rochester Grizzlies lost a playoff game at the Rochester Recreation Center for the first time in franchise history on Friday. Now they must win two in a row to keep their season alive.

Rochester Grizzlies logo
Rochester Grizzlies

ROCHESTER — The Rochester Grizzlies had never lost a playoff game at the Rochester Recreation Center prior to Friday night.

Now the Grizzlies must win two in a row to keep their season alive.

The Oregon (Wis.) Tradesmen scored the first two goals of Game 1 of the North American 3 Hockey League Central Division Finals, then held off the Grizzlies' second-period push to win 4-1 at the Rec Center.

It marked the first time in the five-year history of the Grizzlies franchise that they lost a playoff game on their home ice. Rochester is now 11-1 all-time at the Rec Center in the postseason, but the more pressing number immediately is "two," as in the number of consecutive games it must win to keep its season going.

Game 2 of the best-of-3 division finals is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Oregon. If the Grizzlies win, a Game 3 will be played at 5:05 p.m. Sunday in Rochester. If the Tradesmen win Saturday, they'll head to St. Louis next week for the Fraser Cup national championship tournament and the Grizzlies will head into the offseason earlier than hoped.


The Grizzlies fared well in their most recent trip to Oregon, when they lost the opener of a two-game series in overtime, then won the second game 4-1.

On Friday, Rochester had trouble beating Tradesmen goalie Tyler Fromolz, who stopped 25 of 26 shots he faced.

The only goal he allowed came late in the second period, when Grizzlies forward Luke Sawicky scored his third goal of the playoffs with 5:44 remaining in the period. Spencer Klotz and Erik Hernborn had the assists.

But Oregon had already built a two-goal lead by that time, thanks to first-period goals by Dayne Deanovich and Nathan Walker.

Following Sawicky's goal, the score remained 2-1 for the final five-plus minutes of the second period and more than 17 minutes of the third.

The Tradesmen scored the key goal, though, as Cooper Routheau netted his first of the playoffs with 2:46 to play. Ben Parent added an empty-net goal with 30 seconds remaining to make it a 4-1 game.

Tate Cothern made 21 saves in the loss for the Grizzlies (35-11-5 overall, 2-2-0 postseason), the defending Fraser Cup champions who won the regular-season division title for a fourth consecutive year.

Oregon (34-10-6, 3-0-0) is seeking its first postseason division championship and first trip to the Fraser Cup.


BOX SCORE: Oregon Tradesmen 4, Rochester Grizzlies 1

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