MASON CITY, Iowa — The Rochester Grizzlies have had this weekend's series quietly circled on their calendars since the North American 3 Hockey League schedule was released last summer.
Though a vast majority of the players from both teams in last year's Fraser Cup Final have moved on, there are enough players left on both sides who were on the ice in that game back in April, a 5-1 win by the North Iowa Bulls over the Grizzlies in the national championship.
The Bulls were rebranded in the offseason -- they're now the Mason City Toros -- and they were blown out in their home arena on Friday.
Fifteen Rochester players recorded at least one point as the Grizzlies blew away the Toros 9-4 in front of 603 fans at Mason City Arena.
Rochester built a 4-0 lead after one period and the Toros came no closer the rest of the way. The Grizzlies outshot the Toros 39-29 in the game; Rochester goalie Zach Wiese made 25 saves, while Mason City starter Erik Chaffe stopped just 11 of the 15 shots he faced before being pulled after the first period. Backup Ryan Knight made 19 saves on 24 shots.
Defenseman Matthew Shaw led Rochester (6-0-0 overall) with two goals and one assist. Five Grizzlies — including two who played in last season's Fraser Cup Final, Justin Wright and Cole Gibson — had two-point games. Gibson and Wright had two assists each, as did forward Kade Shea. Connor Mahony scored two goals, and Max Breon and Adam Johnson had a goal and an assist each.
Logan Schwarthoff, Kyle Bauer and TJ Norris also scored for the Grizzlies.
Mason City dropped to 3-2-0 this season.
The teams will meet again at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at the Rochester Recreation Center.