The Moose completed a stretch of 17 straight games in the Central Division this week. With games against Iowa, Milwaukee, and Chicago, all teams that are chasing the Moose in the standings, the Moose had a great opportunity to gain some more separation in the Central Division standings.
Last Saturday, the Moose opened a weekend series against the Iowa Wild. A back and forth game ended up going the Moose’s way with a 5-4 overtime win. The Moose had control in the first two periods, opening up a 4-1 lead after 2 periods. However, 3 Wild goals in the first 9 minutes of the 3rd period allowed the Wild to steal a point, and only drop 1 point in the standings from the Moose. Brendan Lemieux and Michael Spacek each scored twice, with Lemieux scoring the overtime winner on the powerplay with just 9 seconds left in OT. Steve Mason, making a rehab start coming off injury with the Jets, had a pedestrian start, allowing 4 goals on 22 shots.
The next night, the Moose once again got off to a good start, but could not sustain it, giving up 3 unanswered goals for the second straight night in a 4-3 loss. Buddy Robinson scored his team leading 23rd goal of the season in the loss, while Sami Niku added his 11th, and Peter Stoykewych scored his 7th. Eric Comrie had a tough outing, giving up 4 goals on 28 shots in the loss. With the loss, the Moose moved their record to 6-6-2 after 14 games in the 17 game stretch against the Central.
On Wednesday, the Moose hit the road to face the Milwaukee Admirals in a school day matinee. After falling behind early in the game, the Moose battled back, before ultimately losing 3-2 in a shootout. JC Lipon snapped a 12 game scoreless drought, scoring his 11th goal of the season, while Sami Niku scored for a second straight game, his 12th of the season. Eric Comrie stopped 20 of 22 shots in regulation, but allowed goals on both shootout attempts to take the loss.
On Saturday, the Moose headed to Chicago to take on the second place Chicago Wolves. The Wolves had closed the gap to 4 points behind the Moose for 1st in the Central. After giving up a late 1st period goal, the Moose were able to lock down defensively, and a late 3rd period powerplay goal by Nic Petan gave the Moose a 2-1 win. Peter Stoykewych scored for the second time in the last 3 games to tie the game in the second period, his 8th goal of the season. Eric Comrie gave up just 1 goal on 23 shots for the win.
Last night, the Moose headed to Des Moines to face the Iowa Wild for the third time in just over a week. Neither time was able to build more than a 1 goal lead in the game, and a powerplay goal midway through the 3rd period by veteran Cal O’Reilly handed the Moose a 4-3 loss. Jan Kostalek scored for the 1st time in 15 games, his 2nd of the season. Mike Sgarbossa added his 14th of the year, and Michael Spacek scored his 12th of the year for Manitoba in the loss. Eric Comrie gave up 4 goals in 28 shots in the loss.
“Everyone is in it for the same reasons. Everyone wants to win, and everyone’s going to come to work hard every single game. To be in every game is good. We aren’t getting blown out by anyone by any means. We’re in every fight. We’re in first place for a reason. We did it the right way early in the year. We’re going through a little bit of a downfall now. I think we’re going to get hot at the right time and ride a good wave in the playoffs.”
– Moose forward Buddy Robinson after the 4-3 loss to Iowa last Sunday
Moose rookie and 2015 2nd round pick Jansen Harkins has found a regular lineup spot as the season has progressed. After scoring 75 goals and 242 points in 4 seasons with Prince George of the Western Hockey League, Harkins has 2 goals and 13 points in 42 games this season.
News and Notes
- At the AHL Trade Deadline, the Moose acquired F Bobby MacIntyre from the Cleveland Monsters in exchange for F Kale Kessy. The 21-year old MacIntyre, in his 1st professional season, has 16 goals and 31 points in 38 games this season with Jacksonville of the ECHL. He has also appeared in 5 games with the Monsters this season and provides the Moose some additional forward depth heading towards the playoffs.
As of March 11th, 2018
The Moose now begin a stretch of 6 straight games against Pacific Division teams, as they head to Austin, Texas on Wednesday to play the Stars, before heading to San Antonio on Friday to play the Rampage.