The Manitoba Moose played in two series over the past week, racking up a 2-2 record, while facing the Charlotte Checkers in Charlotte and the Chicago Wolves at home. The Moose notched their first home win for the season versus Chicago. The Moose record now sits at 3-8-1, placing them 13th in the Western Conference. Coming up in the next week, the Moose face two series, against Bakersfield at the MTS Centre on Nov. 20 and 22, and at Lake Erie on Nov. 25 and 27.
November 7: Manitoba 3 – Charlotte 0
Connor Hellebyuck was the story of the night, picking up the 30 save shutout. The Moose got offence from Austen Brassard and Scott Kosmachuk, with J.C. Lipon chipping in an empty net goal.
Brassard opened the scoring in the second period, capitalizing on a fortuitous bounce after Jiri Fronk blasted a shot in close wide of the net. The puck bounced to Chase De Leo, who got it to Brassard in tight. Brassard made no mistake and put the puck behind Charlotte Goaltender Drew MacIntyre, giving the Moose a 1-0 lead heading into the third.
The score stayed at 1-0 until the midway point of the third. Kosmachuk blocked a point shot, and took off, breaking in all alone against MacIntyre. Kosmachuk finished the play with a forehand-backhand five hole goal. The empty netter was no easy feat for Lipon, who scored from the face off circle in the defensive zone.
Special teams fell flat on the night for both teams, as the Moose and Checkers combined to go 0/10 on their power play chances.
November 8: Charlotte 3 – Manitoba 2
Charlotte would get their revenge the next day, with a 3-2 win on the strength of a last-minute goal from Jake Chelios. Despite trailing 2-0 heading into the third, JC Lipon caught fire, scoring twice before the 10 minute mark to tie the game.
In a mirror image of the previous game, the teams finally took advantage of their powerplay oppertunities. All three of Charlotte’s goals were scored with the man advantage, with Lipon scoring once shorthanded, and once with the man advantage.
Hellebyuck was heroic on the night, facing 40 shots. The Moose only generated 18 of their own shots, still almost taking the game to extra time. The Moose took six minor penalties, including three in the third period. Halischuk was sitting in the box for high sticking when the decisive goal was scored. The Moose found themselves shorthanded 11 times throughout the series, mirroring the penalty troubles the big club has faced.
November 12: Chicago 5 – Manitoba 3
The Moose entered their series against Chicago still looking for their first home win of the season. They faced an uphill climb, as the Western Conference leading Chicago Wolves came to town, taking the first game in a back and forth affair.
Three times Chicago took a one goal lead, and the Moose responded, Chase De Leo in the first, Patrice Cormier in the second, and Jiri Fronk in the third, before Chicago took the lead for good on an Ivan Barbashev goal. Barbashev Finished off a great passing play by slamming home a rebound.
Connor Hellebyuck had a night to forget, giving up five goals on only 19 shots. The Moose were competitive throughout the game, putting 36 shots on Chicago goaltender Jordan Binnington.
November 13: Manitoba 3 – Chicago 2 (OT)
The Moose would finally win a game at home, with Joel Armia scoring on a breakaway in overtime to send the sold out MTS Centre home happy. Eric Comrie picked up the win for the Moose, his first of the season.
The Moose would open the scoring with Kosmachuk getting one past Chicago goaltender Pheonix Copley from a terrible angle on the power play. Chicago’s own special teams would respond, scoring the next two goals with the man advantage to take the lead heading into the third.
Fronk, who had looked dangerous all night, tied the game up midway through the third, with a great power move from behind the net to the slot. Both goaltenders kept the game tied and the teams entered the 3 on 3 overtime with two goals a piece, setting up Armia’s heroics.
3 Stars of the set:
3) Joel Armia: Scoring the overtime goal to finally give the Moose a win at the MTS Centre is worth a lot of praise.
2) Connor Hellebyuck: Despite performing poor in one of his three appearances, he was nothing short of spectacular in the other two. The most important player on the Moose by far.
1) Chase De Leo: Consistency is everything, and De Leo found his way on the score sheet in all four games of this set, with a goal and three assists.
News and Notes
The Moose will get a boost as two fresh faces will join the roster, Kelly Zajac and Nic Petan.
Zajac has been playing in Finland, but makes his return to the AHL. The Winnipeg Native has 61 points in 108 career AHL games, all with the Albany Devils.
Petan finds himself sent down after starting the season as a rookie on the fourth line. The move should give the Moose a much-needed shot in the arm, and the increased ice time should help Petan develop his pro game.
For the November 20 game against the Bakersfield Condors the Moose will be wearing special Wilderness Cameo jerseys. The game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off in support of Camp Manitou.