Lucas Henderson had started two games in the North American 3 Hockey League prior to this weekend, and he had won both of them.
The Rochester Grizzlies' rookie goalie doubled his starts total and doubled his victory total over the weekend, backstopping his team to a pair of 3-1 victories in a sweep of NA3HL Central Division rival Milwaukee at the Rochester Recreation Center. Henderson, a 19-year-old from Lansing, Mich., made 15 saves Saturday to improve to 4-0-0 and, more importantly, help the Grizzlies improve to 18-1-0 this season.
Rochester remains atop the division standings, six points ahead of the second-place Oregon (Wis.) Tradesmen (14-4-0).
Milwaukee drops to 5-13-1 overall, with five of those losses coming against Rochester, and four of those by two goals or fewer.
Henderson started the season battling for the No. 2 goalie job with Kaleb Bents, behind incumbent Zach Wiese. Henderson hadn't started a game in more than a month prior to this weekend, but little rust was evident over the two-game sweep. He made 24 saves in Friday's win, and stopped 39 out of 41 shots in the wins against Milwaukee. He is now 4-0-0 with a 1.22 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage.
Henderson has done his part to make the starting goalie decision a difficult one for the Grizzlies' coaching staff on a game-to-game basis. He and Bents (5-0-0, 1.40, .949) have shown their value when in net, as has Wiese (9-1-0, 2.00, .917).
Saturday, the goaltender on the other end of the ice nearly stole the show. Milwaukee's Spencer Northway did all he could to keep his team in the game, making an incredible 56 saves on 59 shots, including 27 saves in the first period alone, when Rochester outshot Milwaukee 28-6. The Grizzlies finished the game with a 59-16 advantage in shots on goal.
Northway made 88 total saves in the two games at the Rec Center.
Rochester finally got one past him late in the first period Saturday, when Ames, Iowa, native Luke Nemeth scored his second of the season with 3:37 to play in the opening period. Grizzlies captain Justin Wright added his seventh of the season -- which turned out to be the game winner -- just 1:06 into the second period for a 2-0 lead.
Wright's linemate and fellow captain Cole Gibson came through with his third goal of the season less than four minutes later to make it 3-0 Rochester less than five minutes into the second.
Noah Hope scored Milwaukee's lone goal midway through the second, but that's all Henderson and the Grizzlies' defense allowed.
The Grizzlies take a five-game winning streak with them next weekend when they go on the road for the first time in five weeks to play a two-game series at Wausau (Wis.) on Friday and Saturday. Both games are set to start at 7:10 p.m.