After losing 4 straight games, and falling t0 6th place in the AHL’s Central Division, the Moose faced St. Louis’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. Home to the league’s most potent offence, and the AHL’s leading scorer – Kenny Agostino – the Wolves presented a tough challenge for the Moose. It was Jack Roslovic’s first home game since winning gold for the US at the World Junior Championships. Eric Comrie got the start in goal after being out recently with the flu. We also learned post-game that Anthony Peluso is likely done for the season following surgery.
Moose Goal (1): A seemingly harmless wrist shot from Peter Stoykewych hit a defender in front, but it bounced right onto the stick of Ryan Olsen, who banged it home. 1-0 Moose.
Wolves Goal (1): Fresh off his first NHL goal this week with the Blues, Wade Megan stepped off the left wall and sniped short-side, just over Comrie’s shoulder to tie the game at 1.
Moose Goal (2): On the PP, the Moose had control and were moving it around nicely, when a pass intended for someone else caromed off a Wolves’ defender came to Kyle Connor, and he put the biscuit in the basket to make it 2-1.
Wolves Goal (2): After prolonged possession in the Moose zone, Morgan Ellis snuck a point shot through traffic which beat Comrie over the right pad, blocker side.
Wolves Goal (3): Shortly after coming out of the penalty box, Bryce Gervais was sprung on a breakaway and went five hole off the backhand, putting the Wolves up with just a few minutes remaining.
Wolves Goal (4): An empty-netter with 0.6 seconds left.
G – Eric Comrie: He got beat from a bad angle on the first goal of the game – the shooter took him by surprise before he was set – but he really settled down after that and made a number of quality saves, including a few tough ones while shorthanded. He couldn’t quite squeeze the pads together on the winning goal – a breakaway that snuck through him, five-hole. (Granted, the way the puck bounced in off his stick was quite bizarre). Ever resilient, in speaking to him afterwards, he was disappointed with the result, but not with his overall play.
C – Jack Roslovic: Though he didn’t make an impact on the score sheet, you have to marvel at the way he cuts through a defence with such ease. He makes space where there is no space; he’s fleet of foot, with dizzyingly quick hands; and he’s equally adept at passing and shooting, though he prefers to pass if given the choice. The only things he needs are physical maturity, and more experience in pro hockey.
C – Chase De Leo: Easily the best Moose forward in the time that Roslovic was away at the World Juniors, De Leo continued his strong play tonight with a great all-around game. He made several big defensive plays, was very good in transition, and made smart choices with the puck all game long.
RW – Scott Kosmachuk: He was tremendous in the first period, creating several great chances for himself and others, including a beautiful cross-ice feed to De Leo on the PP, and a quick shot which hit the post with a few seconds left in the first. He wasn’t very noticeable in the remainder of the game, though playing on the fourth line with Olsen and Cormier probably doesn’t help.
LW – Brendan Lemieux: He made things happen in the offensive zone with 7 shots, including two that nearly beat Phoenix Copley. He’d have scored tonight if he could make react to the play just a little faster, but he’s only halfway into his first AHL season, so he’s still adjusting to this level. He was noticeably frustrated after the Wolves scored the eventual game winner – to give some context, Lemieux had circled the net with tremendous speed about 20 seconds earlier, hoping for a zone-exiting pass from Kevin Czuczman; Lemieux never got the puck, and later slammed his stick in frustration. Asked post-game, coach Vincent praised his passion and intensity.
Chase De Leo