The Moose took on the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL Detroit) Sunday afternoon at the MTS Centre. With a 3-0-2 record in their last 5 games at home, the home club is starting to turn things around, but they faced a tough test in this skilled Griffins squad, which had an incredible run in November-December, winning 15 games in a row.
Key Plays of the Game:
The Moose were outshot 10-0 to start the game
Six minutes in, Anthony Mantha came across the blue line, and ripped a wrister from the high slot, which beat Eric Comrie low-glove. (Perhaps one which Comrie would want back).
Julian Melchiori laid a huge open-ice hit on the Griffins’ top scorer, Andy Miele
With only 2 minutes left in the first, some reckless play in the Moose end led to a giveaway – the puck came to Mark Zengerle at the side of the net and he beat a stunned Eric Comrie to put the Griffins up 2-0.
After the first period, the Moose were down 2-0, and out shot 21-6
Early in the second, Brenden Kichton broke in one-on-three and managed to drive the puck to the net; in the ensuing scramble, J.C Lipon poked the puck into the slot and Nic Petan had the goaltender out of the net, and only a player to beat – unfortunately, he shot it into the defender’s shin pads.
After a great shift by the grouping of de Leo, Petan, Lipon and Morrissey (on D) drew a penalty, Austen Brassard had a great chance on the PP – a rebound off a Nic Petan shot left Brassard one-on-one with the goalie, but he wasn’t quite able to chip the puck over Jared Coreau’s outstretched left pad.
After two periods, the Moose were still down 2-0, but they had some good flourishes in the second, out-shooting the Griffins 12-7 in the period. The line of de Leo-Petan-Lipon was excellent in the period.
Midway through the third, John Albert fanned on a pass and took a penalty to prevent a breakaway; on the ensuing powerplay, the Griffins maintained complete control of the puck, creating several great chances, until finally a puck came to Martin Frk, all alone in front of the net – he got two cracks at it, and was able to beat Comrie on the second try, putting the Griffins up 3-0.
With the Moose on the powerplay, and just 2:30 left in the game, Scott Kosmachuk fired a one-timer from the top of the left circle which beat Coreau just over the right pad, making the score 3-1 Griffins. (The goal was later credited to Austen Brassard).
With 1:30 left, and the Moose net empty, Anthony Mantha out-muscled J.C Lipon along the boards, and passed the puck to Mark Zengerle, who swerved at the blueline and shot the puck into an empty net. 4-1 Griffins.
Today’s Top Moose:
Petan, de Leo, Morrissey – This trio of 20-year-olds played a lot together, both at even-strength and on the powerplay, and displayed tremendous chemistry. While Petan is the playmaker, de Leo the shooter, and Morrissey, a bit of both, each player is versatile – they all skate well, pass well, and see the ice well too. They drew several penalties in the second period, and created the vast majority of the Moose’s good chances in the game. They were the go-to group on the powerplay, and are quickly becoming the offensive leaders on the team, along with Brenden Kichton and Scott Kosmachuk.
Thomas Raffl and Jay Harrison sat out today’s game – Raffl is awaiting clearance to play with his broken jaw and may suit up in the next few games; Harrison is out for a few weeks with an upper-body injury.
Moose Coach Keith McCambridge