Fresh off a five game road-trip which saw them win three of five, the Moose returned home for a Saturday night match-up with the Charlotte Checkers. The teams had faced each other four times prior to tonight, with a record of 1-2-1 for the home side. The team was at less than 100%, as a flu bug was going around the room, and several players were playing through the illness. Eric Comrie got the start in net for the Moose.
Just minutes into the game, Scott Kosmachuk entered the Checkers’ zone and made a nice feed to Thomas Raffl, who one-timed it from the top of the circle and beat Drew MacIntyre to put the Moose up 1-0.
Just two minutes later, John Albert and Patrice Cormier came in two-on-one – Albert delayed and passed it over to Cormier, who put a deke on the goaltender and put the Moose up 2-0 just a few minutes into the game.
On the PP, slick rookie Sergei Tolchinsky fed it over to Checkers’ captain Derek Ryan, who walked into the slot and beat Comrie low to ge the Checkers within 1.
5 minutes into the second, Eric Comrie came across the crease and made a massive stop on a two-on-one to keep the Moose ahead 2-1.
With 5 minutes left in the perio, Axel Blomqvist – fresh off a call-up from the Tulsa Oilers of the ECHL – made a great pass in front of the net to Austen Brasssard, who beat the goaltender on the low glove side, putting the Moose up 3-1.
Shortly thereafter, Ryan Olsen took a pass from Darren Kramer and got behind the defence – in all alone, he went across the crease and beat MacIntyre to the par post, sliding it past him to give the Moose a 4-1 lead.
On the powerplay, Austen Brassard controlled the puck on the right half-wall and fed a pass over to J.C Lipon, who was lurking in the slot. Lipon beat the goalie glove-side, making it 5-1 Moose.
Austen Brassard raced down the left wing and backed up the defender; rather than make a move, he ripped a wrist shot from the face-off dot, beating the goaltender on the short side. 6-1 Moose.
John Albert – doing a great Austen Brassard impression – also came down the left wing, (though with a back checker hassling him), and put the puck high short side, giving the Moose an incredible, 7-1 lead.
With the game out of reach for the Checkers, Brendan Woods took a pass at the blueline, walked in, and fired a slapper from top of the left circle which beat a screened Eric Comrie glove side. 7-2 Moose.
Tonight’s Best Moose
Eric Comrie – Incredibly solid as always, and while his team gave him good run support in the game, Comrie made many good stops in the first half of the game, when his club was only leading by a goal. Comrie continues to be the Moose MVP this season, and is putting together at least as good a rookie campaign as Connor Hellebuyck did last year in St. John’s.
Austen Brassard – A great game for him, with 2 goals and an assist, Brassard has quietly become one of the biggest producers on the team. According to his coach – Keith McCambridge – his combination of size, hands, and shot have always been there, but with growing confidence, the results are really starting to come.
Scott Kosmachuk – Known mostly for his great shot, Kosmachuk is continuing to show underrated vision and passing ability. Nearing the end of his second year in the AHL, the time is now for Kosmachuk to start racking up points, and showing that he might be able to produce some offence at the next level. In terms of his overall play, skating is the main thing holding him back.
With Jay Harrison included in the Ladd trade to Chicago, the Moose have a fairly clean bill of health. That said, with the flu bug going around this week, Julian Melchiori and Jan Kostalek sat out for tonight’s game.