The Moose had an opportunity to forget the sweep they suffered last weekend at the hands of the IceHogs and do some damage against a Rocket team that was sitting last in the Eastern Conference.
We anticipated some changes yesterday as it was known the Moose had recalled Jets goalie prospect Thomas Milic from the ECHL. As well we expected Declan Chisholm to be loaned to Manitoba on a conditioning assignment.
Once warm-up got underway we saw that Nicholas Jones and Dean Stewart were out. As we reported on Friday captain Jimmy Oligny is out for a long while as he’ll need surgery. Goalie Collin Delia is day-to-day as is C.J. Suess. Suspect Jets prospect Chaz Lucius was held out for one more game as they got his conditioning up as he returns from a concussion.
Starting Moose lineup:
Toninato – Zhilkin – Chibrikov
Bongiovanni – Reichel – AJF
Viel – Nikkanen – Torgersson
Capobianco – Lundmark
Chisholm – Kniazev
Sautner – Bauer
It was about as inopportune a start as the Moose could have asked for with the Rocket scoring a goal on their first shot of the game just 37 seconds into the game.
An unlucky break for Manitoba as they slow up a puck in the neutral zone which allowed Laval to grab it with speed and score a second goal just 3:33 into the 1st period and the home side was down 2-0.
Even though they couldn’t seem to create much flow they did get chances including this one by Brad Lambert off a nice pass by Jeff Malott.
When the 2nd best power play (Moose) in the AHL goes up against the 23rd ranked (Rocket) penalty kill you’d think the advantage would be obvious but the visitors capitalized with a shorthanded goal that hit a stick before it beat Oskari Salminen far side.
A nice retrieval by Nikita Chibrikov and good recognition by Danny Zhilkin of the opportunity led to another good chance by the Moose in the opening period.
Sometimes they don’t ask how they go in just that they did. Jeff Malott got the Moose on the board with a much needed goal as the 1st period came to a close.
Early in the 2nd period the Rocket thought they had made it a 4-1 game but it was ruled no goal. However, the next opportunity they made no mistake putting it into the back of the net to make it 4-1 for the visitors which chased starter Oskari Salminen from the net.
Jets goalie prospect Thomas Milic made his AHL debut in relief.
No fear from Jets prospect Nikita Chibrikov as he drove the net trying to get the Moose back into this game.
As the buzzer sounded on the 2nd period it had been an ugly, ugly game for the Moose. The lone bright spot was Thomas Milic, who kept making all the stops, in the middle frame. In total he was a perfect 11/11 during the second period.
The Moose showed a little life as they converted on the power play with Jeff Malott putting home this rebound to make it a 4-2 deficit for the home team. It was his second goal of the game.
He was almost not done there as Malott came this close to the hat trick which would have brought Manitoba within one.
And on the 17th shot against Thomas Milic gives up his first AHL goal against on the Laval power play. It turned out it was the first pro goal for Habs prospect Jared Davidson who was a former Seattle Thunderbird teammate of Milic.
The insult was added to injury as the Rocket made it 6-2 with a late power play goal during a 5 on 3.
A late hit on Nikita Chibrikov as time expired led to a bit of a melee.
The Moose fall to 4-5-0 on the season as they get steamrolled by the Rocket by a final score of 6-2. Lone bright spot was Thomas Milic looking solid in his AHL debut making 20 saves on 22 shots.
Colin Delia is day-to-day with a sore groin. Team wanting to get ahead of it. Head coach Mark Morrison says strong possibility that Chaz Lucius & CJ Suess in tomorrow AM.
Player/coach media availability:
After the game we spoke with:
Declan Chisholm runs until 2:40
Thomas Milic from 2:41 until 3:42
Head coach Mark Morrison from 3:43 until the end.
The Moose will be back on the ice tomorrow morning in front of over 7000 screaming kids as part of the school day game when they take on the Rocket in a re-match.