The Moose came into this game with the IceHogs with their backs against the wall down 0-3 in the best of seven series. Manitoba needed to be disciplined as Rockford has the best power play in the playoffs. The team would be without Brendan Lemieux who was ruled out prior to puck drop due to injury and with Sami Niku not at 100% after a massive hit in game 2.
Unlike in previous games this one began with Rockford getting the first goal of the game (the Moose had opened scoring in the previous three games). About five minute later veteran Dman Julian Melchiori scored to tie the game (it was his second goal in as many games). Unfortunately for the Moose the tie was short lived with the IceHogs regaining the lead 31 seconds later. I’ve been speaking about disicpline but that didn’t happen and the captain, Patrice Cormier, was ejected for kicking putting his team down a man for five minutes. However, it was the Moose in the form of JC Lipon who scored his first ever Calder Playoff goal to tie the game. That’s how the 1st period would end.
Just as the five minute major to Cormier was set to expire (8 seconds left) the red hot IceHogs power play strikes again to give them a 3-2 lead. And the IceHogs wouldn’t look back. Victor Ejdsell, who has been excellent from what I’ve seen of him, scored on a penalty shot to give the IceHogs a two-goal cushion. The Moose gave up their third power play goal of the game to go down 5-2 and it looked like it was end of the line. The IceHogs were lights out in the 2nd period all season long outscoring the Moose 8-1 in the middle frame.
Manitoba wasn’t able to generate much and the IceHogs scored an empty netter with just over five minutes to go in the final frame to make it a 6-2 game and that would essentially be all she wrote. Jake Kulevich did score his first professional goal with ten seconds left in the game to make it a 6-3 contest.
End of the line:
The IceHogs swept the Moose 4-0 and claimed the Central Division title. Rockford, who had a number of players thanks to the parent Chicago Blakchawks, remain undefeated in these playoffs going 7-0 to date.
1) A disappointing end to an excellent season for the Manitoba Moose as they lose 6-3 in Rockford and are swept in the Central Division Final 4 games to 0. Huge improvement in the 2017-18 regular season saw them go 42-26-4-4 after a 2016-17 season they went 29-37-5-5.
2) Vastly different team in playoffs than the one that was 1st in Central for 133 days this season. Roslovic, Poolman, Hutchinson up with the Jets. Appleton injured, Niku not 100%, Lemieux also hurt. Still managed to knock off defending Calder Cup Champs in round 1.
3) While the end of their season will sting, the Moose saw tremendous growth for this group of Jets prospects. Appleton, Niku and Spacek in first pro seasons improved by leaps and bounds. Roslovic was Roslovic which is why he’s with the Jets. Comrie too gained exp.
While the Moose season has concluded on the ice they will still have a locker clean out day and as you would expect we will have complete coverage as we recap the 2017-18 Manitoba Moose season. Thanks for tuning in all season long.
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