Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Antler Banter: Season 1, Volume 26

We're a couple of weeks into the season, and the Moose are still searching for their first win. They've played a couple of teams with some good veteran players in Toronto and Ontario, so the young Moose squad would need to find a way to pick up their first win with Lake Erie coming into MTS Centre. Lake Erie, for their part, have struggled a little out of the gate as well, so the Moose could catch and overtake their division rivals with a couple of wins in Winnipeg. Lake Erie wanted to keep or increase the margin between them and the Moose, so there was definitely something to play for as we dive into the third weekend of games for the Manitoba Moose! Let's get this going!

Game 5 - Vs Lake Erie

The Moose came out and showed some excellent work early on to to put the Monsters on their heels. It would benefit the Moose when Justin Flak was whistled for hooking at 11:22, and the power-play would take over. Joel Armia provided the crowd with a reason to cheer as he scored his first goal of the season with the man-advantage at 11:57 to put the Moose up 1-0. Armia played catch with Brendan Kichton at the point before skating off the half-boards to the top of the circle where he zipped a wrist shot past Anton Forsberg for his first of the season! Connor Hellebuyck kept Lake Erie off the board in the first period despite the Moose being outshot 13-9.

The Monsters would tie this game in the second period. Lukas Sedlak skated in across the blue line and shot what appeared to be a harmless wrist shot towards Hellebuyck, but he used Chase De Leo as a screen and the shot evaded Hellebuyck for the 1-1 tie at 13:45. That seemed to energize the visitors because they took the lead just 1:28 later. Nick Moutrey picked the pocket of Jan Kostalek behind the net. Moutrey fed the puck past Ryan Olsen to a wide-open Michael Chaput who made no mistake in burying his first of the season for the Monsters for the 2-1 lead.

The two teams would trade chances through the remainder of the second period and into the third period, but both Forsberg and Hellebuyck made some good saves to keep this a 2-1 Monsters game. However, with Hellebuyck on the bench, Chaput would score his second of the night and of the season into an empty net with 47 seconds to play to seal the win for the Monsters in a 3-1 victory. The Moose fall to 0-3-1-1 on the season while the Monsters improve to 2-1-0-1 with the victory.

Game 6 - Vs Lake Erie

A Saturday night contest between these same two teams saw the Moose needing a win after dropping the opener of this two-game set while Lake Erie looked to widen the margin further on the Moose. The visitors came out firing and looked to take the lead early, but video review showed that Alex Broadhurst hit the crossbar behind Eric Comrie, so the game resumed at the 0-0 tie. It wouldn't be long after, though, when Lake Erie would take the lead. Dillon Heatherington's point shot was redirected by Ryan Craig and it found room past Comrie for the 1-0 Monsters lead at 8:38.

Joonas Korpisalo was outstanding on this night, and he thwarted a couple of excellent chances by the Moose through all three periods. He took what appeared to be a goal away from Andrew MacWilliam with an outstanding glove save and made a couple of good saves out in front on John Albert and Matt Halischuk. Not taking anything away from Eric Comrie as well who had an outstanding game in his own right, but the Moose simply could not solve Korpisalo on this night.

Sonny Milano, early in the third period, found Michael Chaput standing on the back door, and all he had to do is tap in the pass as the Monsters took the 2-0 lead at the 55-second mark. That would be more than enough for the Monsters to win on this night as Korpisalo stopped all 29 shots he faced in the 2-0 Monsters victory. The Moose would drop to 0-4-1-1 while the Monsters would improve to 3-1-0-1.

The Infirmary

Thomas Raffl and Jay Harrison were both absent from this series, so it appears as if the injuries to the Moose are starting to mount. Again, the team plays its cards close to its chest on injuries, so getting information as to what kind of injury each os suffering with is akin to pulling teeth. Just make note of the fact that these two veteran players did not play this weekend.

On The Road Again

The Moose hit the road for five divisional games as they invade Milwaukee on Thursday for a game against the Admirals before playing the Chicago Wolves twice on Friday and Sunday afternoon. Following that, they roll into Charlotte for a two-game set against the Checkers on November 7 and 8. If the Jets don't pick up a win soon, they'll be playing out the stretch before they know it.

Here's hoping the Moose can return with a winning record on this road trip so that they're back in the battle for the division lead!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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