After dropping three-straight contests, the Manitoba Moose have now earned back-to-back victories on the road with weekend wins over Grand Rapids and Chicago.
A Friday night battle with the Grand Rapids Griffins saw the Moose double up their fellow Central Division opponent 4-2 on strong performances from forward CJ Suess and netminder Griffen Outhouse. Saturday’s 3-2 victory over the Chicago Wolves came by way of overtime, and an overtime thriller at that.
Once again the Moose found themselves outshot at the hands of their opponents, putting up 20 shots as compared to Chicago’s 28. Netminder Mikhail Berdin was sharp in Manitoba’s net, gathering his first win in four tries. Garret Sparks of the Wolves did not fare as well, giving up three goals on 20 shots.
Manitoba found the first two goals of the game, opening scoring midway through the second period on back-to-back even strength strikes by Emile Poirier and Jimmy Oligny. Curtis McKenzie responded for Chicago with four minutes to play in the frame on the Wolves’ third power play of the game.
Jimmy Schuldt tied the game midway through the third period as both Curtis McKenzie and Brandon Pirri collected their second points of the game, assisting on the Wolves’ second power play goal of the game. Chicago went 2/7 with the man advantage, while Manitoba could not capitalize on its only power play opportunity.
The Moose could, however, capitalize in overtime – and capitalize early they did. Just 18 seconds in, the American Hockey League’s second-leading scorer picked up his team-leading 21st assist of the season on a decisive Johnathan Kovacevic game-winner.
Saturday’s win improved Manitoba’s record to 12-11-0 on the season. The Moose will conclude their seven-game road trip on Tuesday evening with another Central Division battle with the Rockford IceHogs. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM central. The game can be viewed live on AHLTV.