After being down 3-2 through two periods, the Moose stormed back in the third with three straight goals, earning pancakes for all 3741 fans in attendance, and their second win of the season. (The scoreboard didn’t update to show the Condors fourth goal which they scored with 0.3 seconds to go in the 3rd).
Bakersfield Goal (1): After Brian Strait was stripped of the puck, a weak shot on net by Kyle Platzer became a precious rebound onto the stick of Joey Benik, who beat Pavelec short side, just under the crossbar.
Manitoba Goal (1): Jan Kostalek took a smart wrist shot from the point, which came through a thick screen and found the back of the net for his first of the year.
Manitoba Goal (2): Kevin Czuczman walked in from the point and made a nice pass back to Scott Kosmachuk in the high slot – the sniper released a quick wrist shot which beat goaltender Nick Ellis low glove side.
Bakersfield Goal (2): On the powerplay, Jujhar Khaira fished the puck out of the corner, gave it to Ryan Hamilton, who made a slick pass to Matt Benning who was waiting back-door for the tap-in past a helpless Pavelec.
Bakersfield Goal (3): After some good puck movement by the Condors, a mad scramble around the crease got banged in by Jere Sallinen.
Manitoba Goal (3): Jack Roslovic twirled to find space at the left half-wall, walked in, and fired a wicked wrister which beat Ellis high short-side. Credit to Brendan Lemieux with the screen in front.
Manitoba Goal (4): Julian Melchiori floated a wrister from the point and Brendan Lemieux made a great deflection to give the Moose the lead about halfway through the third period.
Manitoba Goal (5): Nic Petan collected the empty netter following a very good shift in the defensive by he and Jack Roslovic.
Bakersfield Goal (4): Jujhar Khaira beat Pavelec low glove with less than a second left, but too little, too late.
Head Coach Pascal Vincent
Ondrej Pavelec: Pavelec was solid in his first Moose start, especially in the third where he turned away the first 14 shots, before allowing the 15th past him with virtually no time left. After the game, he was cool and relaxed, even upbeat – a positive sign for a goalie who was recently demoted to the minors after playing the last 7 years in the NHL.
Brendan Lemieux: Far more assertive in his second game back from injury, Lemieux was far and away the best player on the ice for the Moose. He hit a post early, then made a great deflection out of mid-air which nearly gave the Moose the early lead; he shadowed the goaltender (Ellis) perfectly which helped Roslovic tie the game in the third, then he scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection off a Melchiori point shot. He almost gave the Moose a two-goal lead when he deftly collected a long, hard outlet pass from Anthony Peluso and drove hard to the net. Not only does he grind on every shift, but he has the soft hands, shot, and coordination to take advantage of being a constant net-front presence. He now has 3 goals in his first 7 AHL games dating back to last season.
Jack Roslovic: After being quiet in the first two periods, Roslovic came alive in the third, making a slick pass to Nic Petan in the slot which almost tied the game; just minutes later, he did tie the game, walking in from the left half-wall and releasing a great wrist shot, short side. He also stripped a Condor forward in the final minute of play, helping clear the puck which led to Petan’s empty-net clincher. The 19-year-old has 2 goals and 2 assists through his first 4 AHL games, and looks as calm and confident off the ice as he does on it.
Marko Dano: Dano made some nice plays around the net, including a nice deflection, and showed good playmaking skills to find teammates open in dangerous scoring areas. He was hard on the forecheck, stealing a puck behind the goal line and making a nice pass out front that almost connected for a goal. He does a great job of using his lower body strength, especially down low in the offensive zone. Another good performance from him tonight.
Scott Kosmachuk: He sniped one from the high slot to give the Moose the lead early in the second, then later got into a fight with Griffin Reinhart (which didn’t last long against the larger Reinhart). He’s a finisher at this level – the question is whether or not his physical limitations (at best average size, reach, and skating), will allow him to find open space at the next level.
Note: Kosmachuk left the game in the third period after a vicious hit from behind left him face down and motionless for a few minutes. No update on his status so far, but he did end up gliding off the ice without too much help.
Nic Petan: Playing on a line with Roslovic, he was also quiet for much of the game, but he rang a backhand off the cross bar in the third period, which would have tied the game. He was hard on the puck in the last minute of the game when Bakersfield had their goalie pulled, and as a reward for his good defensive play, ended up with an empty netter to seal the game. Interesting choice by Coach Vincent to have a 19-year-old (Roslovic) and a 5’8 forward on the ice in the final minute of play with a 1-goal lead, but it worked out perfectly.
Chase De Leo: He looked better than Tuesday, generating a few scoring. He looked especially good on the powerplay, making smart plays, like an intentional shot off the pad (planning for a rebound). He was victimized once in his own zone (the Condors’ third goal), as he had a chance to prevent a pass across but waved at the puck unsuccessfully.
Andrew Copp: Invisible for a second straight night. Needs to get going.
J.C Lipon: Wasn’t much of a factor in tonight’s game, though he played hard as usual.
Ryan Olsen: Made a nice screen on the first Moose goal, but took an unnecessary penalty for slashing early in the second which helped the Condors tie the game at 2. Was fortunate to play on a line with skilled guys Petan and Roslovic and showed a bit of jump in the third with a nice rush. Big guy, good skater, lacks hands and hockey sense.
Quinton Howden: Played a decent game tonight, and was noticeable in a few cases. Needs to do more if he hopes for a recall.
Anthony Peluso: Only notable event was an ill-timed penalty early in the third with the Moose down a goal and generating momentum.
Patrice Cormier: Missed two grade-A chances that came fortuitously onto his blade.
Press Box: Jimmy Lodge, Darren Kramer, Fronk (Visa issue)
Injured: Brandon Denham, Scott Glennie, Axel Blomqvist
Julian Melchiori: Melchiori finished the game with 2 assists – a quick backhand dish to Roslovic on the game-tyer, and a point shot tipped by Lemieux on the winner. That said, he needs to improve his vision and awareness in all zones and make better choices with the puck if he hopes to play at the next level.
Jan Kostalek: Rewarded on a simple, smart play – rather than trying to rip a slapper, he got a wrister on net through a few bodies and it found the twine. After being a healthy scratch in the first game of the season, Kostalek seemed to play a lot tonight, particularly in the second half of the game. He’s starting to look a bit more assertive in his second AHL season, stepping up in the neutral zone to break up plays, making good outlet passes, and getting a little more involved in the offensive zone. He needs to get a little bigger, a little faster, and make decisions a little quicker, but the raw skills and smarts are such that he might warrant a look in the NHL one day.
Nelson Nogier: Didn’t make any obvious mistakes tonight, but also didn’t play as much, as the Strait-Nogier pairing didn’t see nearly as much ice as they did on Tuesday night.
Peter Stoykewych: Quiet, steady game from a simple, steady defender.
Kevin Czuczman: Had a better game tonight, making a nice play on the feed to Kosmachuk for the Moose’s second goal. Perhaps he gained some confidence by getting a chance on the Moose PP tonight.
Brian Strait: Another giveaway by Strait on the first Condors goal of the night, Strait looked utterly lost throughout the first period. He didn’t get as much playing time in the latter half of the game, as Melchiori, Czuzcman, and Kostalek seemed to constantly be on the ice.
Injured: Brenden Kichton
Press Box: Jake Baker, Jordan Hill