MASON CITY, Iowa – The on-ice rivalry between Mason City and Rochester has always been an intense one, and the recent run of championships by the two teams has only heightened the excitement.
The Grizzlies continued their hot start in defending their 2022 Fraser Cup championship, going into the Mason City Arena on Friday night and snagging an 8-4 win from the Mason City Toros, spoiling the Toros’ home opener in front of nearly 600 fans.
The only power play of the first period lasted just 22 seconds – the Toros were caught for a too-many-men penalty at 8:33 of the opening stanza, and Owen Van Tassel scored on the rush to give the Grizzlies the early 1-0 lead. Mason City got that goal back on a nifty goal from David Loahr (New Brighton, Minn./Irondale H.S.) with 2:44 remaining in the period, taking a pass from Marcus Fritel (Elk River, Minn./Elk River H.S.) and dragging it to the backhand before tucking the puck in the net to tie the game.
Mason City nearly brought a tie game into the locker room with them – with just 13 seconds to go in the period, Spencer Klotz walked the puck down the right wing, snapping a wrist shot past Zack Ortolano (Las Vegas, Nev./Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep) from the faceoff circle to put the Grizzlies ahead, 2-1.
Klotz resurfaced 3:07 into the second period, scoring in transition from the right wing to push Rochester to a 3-1 lead. Lyncoln Bielenberg-Howarth made an appearance on the score sheet a moment later, pushing one in underneath Ortolano at the 4:27 mark. Klotz appeared again to make it 5-1, completing the hat trick by jamming in a backdoor chance at the 7:38 mark.
Mason City cut the lead with 3:34 left in the period, following a slashing call against Siegel, when Cullen Hogan (Dallas, Texas/Mason City Toros) golfed in a second-chance marker at the net to send the game to the locker room at 5-2.
Bielenberg-Howarth scored once more at 5:39 of the third, extending the lead back to four goals with a wrist shot from the edge of the slot. The Grizzlies’ final two goals also came on the special teams – with the net empty and the Toros eyeing a long comeback bid, Klotz grabbed a clearing attempt and tossed it into the net to make it 7-2, and a power play goal on a tip from Zach Laurila with 7:13 to go stretched the lead to 8-2.
That was as big as the lead got – Mason City finished on a strong note behind a goal from Hogan and a feed out front from Petr Lukes (Strakonice, Czech Republic/Ontario Hockey Academy) to Ethan Peterson (Mahtomedi, Minn./Mason City Toros) in the final two minutes.
Klotz’s four goals highlighted a return to the scoring column after a scoreless weekend in Peoria last week, while Van Tassel finished with four points of his own. Rochester’s special teams were excellent in the game, going 2-for-3 on the power play and picking up a pair of shorthanded markers from Klotz.
Hogan’s two goals highlighted the Mason City effort, while Carter Newpower’s (Cottage Grove, Minn./Mason City Toros) two assists moved him into a tie with Rihards Marenis for ninth all-time on the Mason City Tier III scoring list. The Toros were far from shabby on the power play, going 1-for-3 themselves.
Kaleb Bents earned the win behind a 20-save effort, while Connor Graham (Fort Wayne, Ind./Indy Jr. Fuel U18) took the loss with nine saves on 14 Grizzlies chances in relief. Ortolano ended up with the no-decision, stopping 10 of 13.
A brief road swing begins anew for the Toros Saturday night, with a visit to the Rochester Recreation Center and a rematch against the Grizzlies. The opening puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m., with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV.
To purchase advance tickets to any upcoming Mason City home game, click here. Updated news and information on Toros hockey are always available at www.masoncitytoros.com, and by following the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Rochester 2 3 3 – 8
Mason City 1 1 2 – 4
1st Period-1, Rochester, Van Tassel 1 (Bielenberg-Howarth, Petzke), 8:55 (PP). 2, Mason City, Loarh 4 (Fritel, Larsen), 17:16. 3, Rochester, Klotz 5 (Clark, Milan), 19:47. Penalties-served by Loarh Mct (too many men-minor), 8:33.
2nd Period-4, Rochester, Klotz 6 (Petzke, Milan), 3:07 (SH). 5, Rochester, Bielenberg-Howarth 3 (Van Tassel, Strand), 4:29. 6, Rochester, Klotz 7 (Clark, Lange), 7:38. 7, Mason City, Hogan 4 (hayden, Newpower), 16:26 (PP). Penalties-McLaughlin Roc (roughing-minor), 2:04; hayden Mct (cross checking-minor), 9:16; Van Tassel Roc (slashing-minor), 15:49.
3rd Period-8, Rochester, Bielenberg-Howarth 4 (Van Tassel), 5:39. 9, Rochester, Klotz 8 9:22 (SH). 10, Rochester, Laurila 3 (Petzke, Van Tassel), 12:47 (PP). 11, Mason City, Hogan 5 (Newpower, Ralston), 18:37. 12, Mason City, Peterson 2 (Lukes, Hedland), 19:32. Penalties-Klotz Roc (head contact-minor), 5:21; hayden Mct (roughing-minor), 5:21; Strand Roc (holding-minor), 8:12; Ralston Mct (elbowing-minor), 11:29.
Shots on Goal-Rochester 12-9-6-27. Mason City 6-11-7-24.
Power Play Opportunities-Rochester 2 / 3; Mason City 1 / 3.
Goalies-Rochester, Bents 3-0-0-0 (24 shots-20 saves). Mason City, Ortolano 1-1-0-0 (13 shots-10 saves); Graham 2-1-0-0 (14 shots-9 saves).
Linesmen-Alexander Ottenberg, Ben Stark.