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Moose outbattled by Wild in 4-3 loss

Recap of the Moose loss.

March 4, 2018 – Manitoba Moose vs. Iowa Wild

The Moose took on the Iowa Wild in a matinee affair at Bell-MTS Place. It was a rematch of Saturday night’s game which saw the Moose blow a 4-1 lead in the third period, but ultimately prevail in overtime. Sami Niku entered the game tied for first in AHL scoring among defencemen, while Brendan Lemieux was also riding high with 10 goals in his last 10 games. Eric Comrie got the start in goal.

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Game Recap

Just 2:30 into the first, a great forecheck by new signee, Brett Welychka, gave the Moose possession in the Wild zone; Brody Sutter fed it back to Peter Stoykewych, and he wristed a harmless looking shot through traffic which beat screened Wild goaltender, Steve Michalek to put the Moose up 1-0. Then the Moose got into penalty trouble, with 2 minor penalties on the same sequence by Nic Petan (high-sticking) and Brendan Lemieux (unsportsmanlike conduct), which put the Moose down 5-on-3. The Wild took advantage, as Zach Palmquist took a wrist shot from the high slot which beat a screened Comrie on the blocker side. Another Moose penalty by Michael Sgarbossa again put the Moose down a man, but they were able to kill it off without much ado. Later in the first, a strong forecheck from J.C Lipon created a chance out front, and the puck trickled back to the point where Sami Niku came across the blueline and slapped a rolling puck through a screen, beating Michalek to give the Moose a 2-1 lead. Shots after the first period were 12-9 in favour of the Wild, but the Moose took a 2-1 lead into the second.

The Moose were again on the defensive early in the second, after Cam Schilling took a roughing penalty – their 5th minor penalty in just over 20 minutes of play. They were able to kill it off, and began a 5-minute stretch where they controlled play in the Wild end. However, the Wild were able to break that momentum, when a shot off the rush created a rebound for Pat Cannone, and he got just enough of a rolling puck to squeak it by Eric Comrie. Initially the referees didn’t know if the puck went in, but upon review it was clear that it did. A few minutes later, the Moose came in 4-on-2 and Mike Sgarbossa put the puck on a tee for Tucker Poolman, but Poolman hit the post. The Wild then took the lead, after Eric Comrie stopped a point shot but left the rebound sitting out front for Ryan White – who was all alone with no defenders in sight, and slid home the rebound. 3-2 Wild. The Wild almost went up 4-2, as Viktor Loov drove to the net and nearly tipped a puck home, but instead, he barreled into Comrie and was called for goaltender interference. On the ensuing powerplay, Nic Petan hit the post on a one-timer at the right dot off a great one-touch pass from Sami Niku. The Moose had good zone time and a few other chances, but they weren’t able to tie the game heading into the second intermission. Shots after two were 26-22 for the Moose.

Early in the third, Zack Mitchell snuck behind Peter Stoykewych and took a breakaway stretch pass, then came in all alone and froze Eric Comrie on a forehand deke to put the Wild up 4-2. But the Wild were caught with too many men, and the Moose made them pay instantly, as a Tucker Poolman slapper created a rebound for Buddy Robinson, and he batted the puck out of the air and past Steve Michalek to get the Moose within 1. The teams then exchanged minor penalties, with the Moose afforded an abbreviated powerplay opportunity, but they weren’t able to make much happen. With 8 minutes left, and the Moose on the penalty kill, J.C Lipon picked off a cross-ice pass in his own zone and had a 3-zone breakaway, but he was robbed on the glove side by Michalek. The Wild then took themselves off the powerplay with a tripping call, but again, the Moose weren’t able to generate very much on a shortened powerplay. With just over 1:30 to play, the Moose pulled Comrie to go 6-on-5 – the combo of Petan-Cormier-Robison-Appleton, and Spacek and Niku on the points generated good pressure, and went out with a fight, but the Wild were able to keep most of their attack to the outside, and laid out to block a handful of scoring chances.

Scoring Summary

Official game sheet link

Game Notes & Other News

-Eric Comrie was solid early in the game, facing 5 penalty-kill situations in the first 22 minutes of play, and allowing just 1 goal. He got eaten up on a few rebounds in the second, the first of which he could have kicked to a safer place, but the second of which he simply needed some support from his defencemen. It wasn’t a sparkling performance overall, but by no means was he at fault for the loss.

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-Sami Niku created some offence tonight, scoring a goal on a point shot, and almost setting up another on a clever pass to Nic Petan which drew iron. With his 41st point of the season, he took over first place in scoring among AHL defenders – an impressive accomplishment for a rookie, albeit one with a few years of pro experience in the top professional league in Finland.

-Tucker Poolman hit a post tonight, and spent a good chunk of time down in the offensive zone trying to make plays. The more he plays, the more confident he seems in taking risks and making plays in the offensive zone. He also began to assert himself physically as the play became more aggressive, and threw his weight around in an effective way.

-Mason Appleton was mostly ineffective in today’s game. His line with Nic Petan and Patrice Cormier created very little at even-strength. The most memorable play of the day was a hooking penalty he took in the third which probably saved a goal, as his man would have been all alone in front with a juicy rebound.

-Michael Spacek had a similar game to Appleton, as he wasn’t able to make much of an impact. He only had one shot attempt on the powerplay using his patented one-timer from the left point, and wasn’t able to hit the net. His line was a little better than Appleton’s, but overall, most of the offence today came from the powerplay or the bottom-6.

-Nic Petan controlled the puck on the powerplay, and was shooting the puck more than usual, though he was unable to beat Michalek. As for his play away from the puck, he’s either growing edgier, or he’s been told to “raise his compete level” – coming into Saturday’s game, he 8 penalty minutes in 39 games; he’s now taken four minor penalties in the last two games (three on Saturday, one today).

-Brendan Lemieux stayed out of  the box in yesterday’s game, but that didn’t last long. He took a 2-minute minor along with a 10-minute misconduct early in the game, and was benched for the rest of the game. But not only was he not on the ice, he actually wasn’t even present on the bench for the remainder of the game.


Buddy Robinson

Coach Vincent

Next Game Action

March 7th at in Milwaukee against Nashville’s AHL club, the Admirals.