The streak is over; the Manitoba Moose have lost a game. Goaltender Mikhail Berdin and the now 10-9-0 Moose can actually be beat.
Despite outshooting their Canadian rival Toronto Marlies 34-22 on Saturday afternoon at Coca-Cola Coliseum, Manitoba dropped its first contest since November 6 – a 6-4 home loss to the Milwaukee Admirals.
The game was the 11th of the month for a very busy Moose team, which had won nine of its previous 10 contests. Berdin – the AHL’s reigning Player of the Week – had his first off-game since that aforementioned contest with the Admirals. The 21-year-old gave up four goals on just 22 shots, ultimately dropping his record to 10-7-0, with a .926 save percentage and a 2.47 goals against average on the season.
Saturday’s game featured a scoreless opening frame that led to a second period that saw Toronto score the game’s first and second goals, as Winnipeg product Adam Brooks and Matt Read collected their second and third goals of the season, respectively, providing the Marlies with a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes.
Timothy Liljegren and Garrett Wilson piled on the offence for the home team, striking a minute apart, doubling Toronto’s lead to 4-0, just two minutes into the third period.
The Moose did not go out quietly, as Kristian Vesalainen and Skyler McKenzie scored back-to-back strikes less than 30 seconds apart in the middle stages of the frame. Despite a valiant effort that saw Manitoba outshoot Toronto 14-5 in the final 20, former Jets’ netminder Michael Hutchinson turned aside 32 shots for the Marlies in the victory.
The two teams will go at it once again Sunday afternoon, renewing acquaintances at 3:00 PM central in Toronto. The game will be Manitoba’s second of a six-game road trip. The contest can be viewed live on AHL TV.