The NA3HL tag is for the sports content from the North American 3 Hockey League, which its West Division includes the Willmar Warhawks, Alexandria Blizzard, Granite City Lumberjacks, Mason City Toros, Minnesota Loons and New Ulm Steel
Shane Soderwall backstopped the Rochester Grizzlies to the NA3HL national championship game in 2021. He was on the inaugural Anchorage Wolverines team a year ago that advanced to the NAHL national championship game in their first season as a franchise. This season, Soderwall hopes to be the go-to guy in goal for the Wolverines, who have their sights set on a return trip to the title game.
Rochester native Mike Aikens has guided the Anchorage Wolverines to the North American Hockey League's Robertson Cup, the league's final four tournament, in the franchise's first year of existence. He's done it with some names familiar to southeastern Minnesota hockey fans: Albert Lea's Campbell Cichosz, a Minnesota State commit, and former Rochester Grizzlies Collin Pederson (an Owatonna native) and Shane Soderwall.
The Rochester Grizzlies had their sights set on one goal from the start of the 2021-22 season: Winning the Fraser Cup, the championship of the North American 3 Hockey League. They came together at the perfect time and achieved that dream. Here's how they did it.
The Rochester Grizzlies won the NA3HL national championship this season. On Wednesday, they won a majority of the league's awards, including being named the Organization of the Year for a second consecutive year, having the Coach of the Year for a second consecutive season and the Goalie of the Year for a third consecutive season.
Two of the key players in the Rochester Grizzlies' run to a national championship will be moving on and up next season. Forward Ben Oakland has signed a tender with the Minnesota Wilderness of the NAHL, while defenseman Noah Roitman has committed to play for Concordia University in Mequon, Wis., an NCAA Division III program located in a northern suburb of Milwaukee.
The Rochester Grizzlies turned over more than half their roster from a year ago, lost the reigning NA3HL MVP and Goalie of the Year, as well as a high-end assistant coach who'd been with the franchise since its beginning. They also had a dozen players called up to the NAHL. None of that changed the team's ultimate goal, one they accomplished last Sunday by winning the franchise's first NA3HL national championship in its fourth year of existence.
Austin Meers scored twice and Zach Wiese was again brilliant in goal, making 17 saves, as the Rochester Grizzlies beat the Helena Bighorns on Saturday evening at the St. Peters (Mo.) Rec-Plex to reach the NA3HL Fraser Cup national championship game for a second consecutive season.
Zach Wiese made 26 saves, just 48 hours after a disappointing performance in the North American 3 Hockey League's Fraser Cup national tournament opener. His strong effort helped the Rochester Grizzlies beat the Gillette Wild 4-2 and earn a spot in the national semifinals.