The Skinny: The 17-18-2-1 Moose played host to the 15-10-3-1 San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues. The Moose came in riding a hot streak, with a 4-0-0-1 record in their last 5 games. Similarly, goaltender Eric Comrie – who got his 5th straight start in goal – has been in excellent form of late, giving up 2 or fewer goals in 6 of his last 8 games, including 2 shutouts.
Manitoba Goal: A San Antonio defender’s errant pass came off the skate of Seth Griffith and found Jansen Harkins, who turned and fed a cross-ice pass to Logan Shaw, who beat Jared Coreau five-hole. The goal came after just 10 seconds of play – the fastest goal in Moose history to start a game.
San Antonio Goal: Joey LaLeggia fed a beautiful pass over to Austin Poganski in tight and he tipped the puck past Eric Comrie to tie the game up at 1.
Manitoba Goal: Kristian Reichel got the puck at the blueline and fed a streaking Hunter Fejes; Fejes came in all alone and buried high blocker side to give the Moose a 2-1 lead.
Manitoba Goal: With 2:58 left to play, Brent Pedersen made a power move, driving wide and cutting in across the crease; the initial shot was stopped, but he gathered his won rebound and roofed it to give the Moose a commanding 3-1 lead late in the game.
Manitoba Goal: J.C Lipon got the empty-netter to end things, 4-1.
#23 Michael Spacek – it wasn’t a memorable game for “Spach”, no shots, no points (aside from a phantom assist he was initially given on the Fejes goal, which was actually Reichel’s), and no memorable plays, aside from taking a high-stick to the face late in the third. That said, he remains second on the team in scoring with 26 points in 37 games.
#26 Jansen Harkins – seemingly a different player from early this season, Harkins is now playing in the top-6 and making big offensive contributions. He assisted on the first goal today, bringing his point total to 6 in just the last 5 games. He also has 5 goals in his last 10 games. He’s more confident and assertive with the puck, and is now 5th on the team in active scoring with 14 points. After major struggles in his first season and a third, there are definite signs of life for the 2015 2nd round pick.
#43 Skyler McKenzie – his speed and tenacity are a welcome addition to every game, and his slick hands will one day allow him to put up some points in the AHL, and perhaps beyond. At this time, he’s back to playing bottom-6 minutes, and given the linemates and lack of powerplay time, the points are a little tougher to come by.
#3 Tucker Poolman – now in his 4th game back from injury, Poolman is the experienced hand on the Moose defence, and playing #1 minutes. He looked very solid today, showcasing strong decision making and anticipation, as well as good skating and puck handling. Assuming he can stay healthy, he’s certainly in line for a call-up later this season if the need arises.
#7 Logan Stanley – With Schilling and Niku away from the team, Stanley is playing top-pairing minutes, and getting time on both special teams units. He’s contributing offensively, with 9 points on the season, including 2 goals in his last 4 games, and is averaging nearly 2 shots per game – far more than most rookie defenceman. (Granted in augmented ice time). He’s getting comfortable skating with the puck in open ice, without over-handling it. Overall, he’s made tons of progress from the start of the season. If he can improve his first few steps and get a bit stronger for work in the corners, the Jets could certainly have a third pairing defender here.
#36 Nelson Nogier – as with Stanley, Nogier is getting a huge opportunity recently, playing top-4 minutes. His play today was adequate and unremarkable, with no obvious mistakes made. As far as promotability, he doesn’t have the puck skills or passing ability to help the offensive attack (he has 4 assists in 37 games), or the hockey sense to be fantastic defensively. He’s pretty steady at the AHL level though.
#1 Eric Comrie – he continued his rock solid play today, challenging shooters effectively, eating up rebounds, and stopping every puck that he had a shot at. His save percentage is currently at .922 – the best mark thus far in his AHL career, and tied for 3rd in the AHL overall.
Next Game Action:
Sunday, January 20 at 2:00 pm, versus the San Antonio Rampage at Bell-MTS Place for the Star Wars game to wrap up the six-game home stand.