Coming off a successful road trip where they picked up 5 of 8 points (2-1-1) against divisional rivals Rockford and Milwaukee, the Moose came home to take on another divisional foe, the Charlotte Checkers. The Moose came in with a record of 2-2-2 against Charlotte this season, including a 2-1 win in their most recent meeting. The home side was sloppy early on, making a few egregious giveaways that led to Charlotte goals. The Checkers held 3-1 and 4-2 leads, but the Moose were able to tighten things up, getting as close as 4-3 late in the second. From there, they had 11 shots in the third, including a few tremendous chances in the slot – one off the post by Chase De Leo while shorthanded, several dangerous ones off the stick of Kyle Connor, and a final shot in the dying seconds by Brandon Tanev, who for a fleeting moment, thought he had tied the game. They out-shot the Checkers 38-27 overall, but it wasn’t enough to overcome their early-game mishaps.
Moose Goal (1): Brendan Lemieux deflected a Kevin Czuczman point to shot to put the Moose up 1-0 just 2:27 into the first period.
Checkers Goal (1): An absolutely brutal giveaway by captain Patrice Cormier gave the Checkers a glorious change in the slot, and Lucas Wallmark buried by Comrie.
Checkers Goal (2): Another giveaway – this time by Julian Melchiori – led to some extended zone time for the Checkers. Connor Brickley took a nice drop pass from Philip Samuelsson – son of Ulf – and beat a screened Comrie.
Checkers Goal (3): Another point shot found its way through – this time, a deflection in the slot by Andrew Miller.
Moose Goal (2): J.C Lipon threw a wrist shot towards the net and Patrice Cormier used a cheeky back heel to tip the puck past Daniel Alshuller.
Checkers Goal (4): While shorthanded, Danny Kristo picked off an errant Moose pass, walked into the slot and beat Comrie over the left shoulder.
Moose Goal (3): Kevin Czuczman – having a game – slid down the left side of the Checkers’ zone and appeared to shoot the puck intentionally off a Checkers d-man and in. His third point of the night.
– While his 6 game goal scoring streak ended tonight – he had 10 goals over that span – Kyle Connor was dynamic again tonight. Not only did he finish with 4 shots, but it was the quality of those shots, and the way he came to them; they say players have a nose for the net, well Connor seems to have a nose for the slot – he just keeps driving the puck there, using tremendous speed, quick hands, and surprisingly long reach. Head Coach Pascal Vincent noted that he was clearly their best player tonight.
– Brendan Lemieux scored the opening goal of the game, and was one of the more noticeable players for the Moose. He had 3 shots, was hard on the forecheck, and had a few good opportunities in and around the slot that didn’t fall his way. A good game for him overall.
– Eric Comrie was human tonight. He got beat clean on the winning goal – a nice snipe by a former high-end prospect, Danny Kristo – and also had one squeak through him on the second goal of the game. You can’t pin the loss on him, but if he comes up with a more Comrie-like game, the Moose might have come away with at least a point.
– Based on his skill set, Jack Roslovic was “just ok” tonight. He’s always noticeable because his skating and puck handling are so dynamic at this level, but didn’t create a ton of offence. He had a secondary assist on Czuczman’s goal, but was mainly held in check.
– While Nelson Nogier isn’t known for his offensive ability, he was seen deep in the offensive zone a number of times tonight. He skates skates very well for a guy who’s 6’3, 210, so perhaps it’s something he should start doing more often. He does have 12 points in 52 games, which is pretty good for a blueliner who’s WHL high mark was 21 back in 15-16. (By contrast, Jan Kostalek had 43 points in 57 GP in his last season in the QMJHL, and yet he had only 9 points in 52 GP last season, and 6 points through 47 games this season.)
Next Moose Action
The rematch comes swiftly – Friday night, 7 pm at MTS Centre.