WINNIPEG, MB – Time is running out on the Manitoba Moose as they continue the chase for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. For the previous two nights, they welcomed in the Rockford IceHogs, one of the teams they are chasing in the standings, for a two-game series.
Currently, the Moose are sitting in last place in the western conference with a .425 points percentage. Interestingly, the Moose are on pace to have three more points this season than when they collected 50 losses last year.
In the opener Tuesday night, both teams came out running and gunning early but it was the visitors who jumped out front on a power play as Brandon Mashinter beat Moose goalie Eric Comrie with a shot to make it 1-0.
Just under three minutes later Mashinter pounced on an Erik Gustafsson rebound for his second of the game and 11th of the year to give the IceHogs a 2-0 lead.
Rockford goalie Jeff Glass snuffed out numerous chances as the Moose were 0-for-3 on the power play early in the contest.
Manitoba bounced back in the second as newly signed Nolan Zajac, a Winnipeg native, finished off a beauty tic tac toe play from Jack Rolovic and JC Lipon to pot his first AHL goal.
Scott Glennie scored his seventh 35 seconds later after a beauty set up by Quinton Howden to square things at 2-2.
In the third, the IceHogs took over the play and got goals from Kyle Baun and Martin Lundberg to take a 4-2 lead before Moose defender Brian Strait had a nice solo effort shorthanded and beat Glass with wicked shot to get the Moose within one at 4-3.
After pulling Comrie with a minute to go and setting up a couple of set plays the Moose were unable to get the equalizer and dropped a heart breaker 4-3.
In the finale last night, the Moose came out looking like they had a chip on their shoulder and took the physical play to the IceHogs outshooting them 11-4 in the opening twenty.
At one point early in the second, the Moose were outshooting the IceHogs 19-5 before they finally started to get some chances.
Both goalies were making big saves as Lars Johansson was keeping the IceHogs in this one as was Eric Comrie for Manitoba although the play was tilted in Manitoba’s favor most of the game.
After sixty with the game scoreless, the fans were treated to extra time and after 3-on-3 solved nothing we were going to a shootout.
Spencer Abbott was the lone shooter to score as he beat Comrie with a sneaky move and gave the IceHogs the sweep and the two points in a 1-0 win.
Special teams was the key in this two-game set as the Moose were unable to capitalize on there chances once again.
It will be a long road and they will have to go on an amazing run to get close to the playoffs now.