WINNIPEG, MB – It was an important two-game set for the Manitoba Moose as they welcomed the Charlotte Checkers to town for a two-game set. The Checkers are a team that Moose have played well against and were looking to go on a run as with the hopes of climbing back into the playoff picture.
The Moose jumped out to a fast start in the opener Thursday night, as super pest Brendan Lemieux tipped home a point shot past Charlotte goalie Daniel Altshuller just two minutes into the game.
Things went sour fast for Manitoba as Charlotte scored three unanswered goals in the opening period as Lucas Wallmark, Connor Brickley, and Andrew Miller all found the twine past Moose netminder Eric Comrie before captain Patrice Cormier redirected his 10th goal to make it 3-2 after twenty.
In the second, Danny Kristo gave the Checkers some breathing room with a shorthanded tally to make it 4-2. Minutes later, Kevin Czuczman ripped a blast from the point past Altshuller to pull the home team to within one at 4-3 heading into the third.
The Moose continued to press for the equalizer but couldn’t beat Altshuller who made 35 stops in a 4-3 win.
In the rematch Friday night, the Moose came out sleeping as the Checkers did all their damage in the opening twenty minutes scoring three goals in the first eleven minutes chasing Moose starter Eric Comrie after he allowed 3 on 12 shots.
Lucas Wallmark scored a shorthanded marker, Brickley scored his second in as many nights and Trevor Carrick scored.
After the third goal, the Moose made the goalie switch and Jamie Phillips entered the game. Kyle Connor broke in alone in the final minute and scored a beauty his 19th to make it 3-1.
The Moose came out flying in the second and fired 18 shots at Charlotte netminder Tom McCollum who was standing on his head throughout the game.
In the final frame, Charlotte iced it as Andrew Miller sniped one top shelf on Phillips who allowed one goal on 17 shots in the 4-1 loss.
The Moose fired a season high 50 shots on McCollum who made 49 saves and was named the game’s first star as the Charlotte Checkers completed the series sweep and buried the Moose farther back in the playoff race.
Manitoba will have a day off before welcoming the Toronto Marlies on Sunday afternoon.