After falling twice to the Stars in Iowa in the first two contests of the season, the Moose relied on a jam-packed home crowd and their offensive firepower in order to pick up their first home victory of the year.
With the Belleville Senators in town for an inter-conference showdown at Bell MTS Place, the Moose stepped up their game, delivering a strong performance both on the defensive and offensive side of things. The 0-2-0 Senators did end up outshooting Manitoba by one shot, but the flow of the game stayed rather consistent throughout.
Goaltender Eric Comrie rebounded nicely from his back-to-back season-opening losses, and put up a strong 30-save performance. Belleville’s Mike McKenna also played well, but ultimately let in one more goal than Comrie, falling in defeat after stopping 28 of 30 pucks directed his way.
Newcomer Seth Griffith and the Moose got things going right away, as the 25-year-old collected his first goal for Manitoba just 3:22 into the first period. Cameron Schilling picked up his 100th career AHL assist on the play. Rudolfs Balcers knotted the game up at ones late in the second period, but Sami Niku and Seth Griffith put in a combined power play effort to get Mason Appleton his first of the campaign, the eventual game-winner just five minutes into the final frame.
Taking a page from their parent Winnipeg Jets’ notebook, Manitoba killed off all six of their short handed situations, while capitalizing on one of four power play opportunities on the evening. The Moose and Senators go right back at it Saturday evening as the teams do battle once again from downtown Winnipeg in the second game of a back-to-back. Puck drop is set for 6:00 P.M. central from Bell MTS Place.