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Moose can’t solve Checkers in 4-3 loss

A recap of the 4-3 loss.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Kozub (Manitoba Moose)

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.

Scoring Summary

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.

Quick Hits

– 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.)

Post-game audio:

Brandon Tanev

Kevin Czuczman

Brendan Lemieux

Coach Vincent

Next Moose Action

The rematch comes swiftly – Friday night, 7 pm at MTS Centre.