Once again, the Moose travelled south to Grand Forks for an annual two-game exhibition showdown against the Iowa Wild at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. A back and forth opening first game was taken by the Wild, who held a slight shot advantage, topping Manitoba 29-25 in that regard.
Will Bitten opened the scoring early for Iowa, capitalizing just 1:14 into the game on a nice feed from Luke Johnson. The Wild then added another, going up 2-0 midway through the second frame as Dmitry Sokolov put one past Adam Carlson on a delayed penalty.
The Moose finally found the twine at 19:38 of the third period, cutting into Iowa’s lead with 22 seconds to play. Jansen Harkins and Alexi D’Aoust picked up helpers on Cole Maier’s goal, making the eventual final game score seem somewhat more favourable for Manitoba. Carlson stopped 27 of 29 shots, while Kaapo Kahkonen turned aside 24 of 25 pucks directed his way for the Wild.
The two teams will duke it out Saturday afternoon in a rematch from the Ralph at 2:00 PM central. Saturday’s game will be the final preseason tune up for both teams, as Manitoba then opens the 2019-20 AHL regular season on Friday, October 4th in San Antonio, before taking on the Texas Stars the following day. The Moose host their home opener on Friday, October 11th from Bell MTS Place as the Toronto Marlies roll into town for back-to-back games.