The Manitoba Moose have found themselves in a bit of a funk since turning the page on the 2020 calendar year. After opening January by splitting a home series with the Colorado Eagles in the first weekend of the month, Manitoba has yet to win another contest.
A miniature three-game road trip through Rockford and Grand Rapids saw the Moose get outscored 11-3, losing all three contests of the tune ups. Despite playing three games in four nights, Manitoba looked sluggish, losing 4-1 to Rockford on Wednesday, before dropping back-to-back games with the Griffins 1-0 and 6-2 on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
The team returned to Bell MTS Place Monday playing the first of a four-game homestand against the Belleville Senators. Belleville proved victorious with a 5-3 triumph, but the two teams will go back at it again Wednesday, before the Laval Rocket rolls into town for a two-game, weekend set Saturday and Sunday.
Going just 4-6-0 in their last 10 games, the Moose have dropped down to seventh place in the Central Division with a record of 18-23-0. Now 41 games into the 2019-20 American Hockey League season, Manitoba remains as the only club without an overtime or shootout loss on the year.
Belleville took it to the Moose Monday night, handing the Moose their fourth-straight loss, and their fifth in six games. A high-shooting, high-scoring opening frame set the tone for a fast-paced contest that saw the visitors jump out to a 2-1 lead just 3:40 into the game.
Michael Carcone beat Eric Comrie 1:26 into the game, before Kristian Reichel tied it up for Manitoba just over a minute later. Carcone then found his second of the game 59 seconds after Reichel’s strike. Skyler McKenzie put one past Joey Daccord 8:36 into the game, but Carcone’s hot streak continued, as he completed a first-period hat trick with just under four minutes to spare.
Parker Kelly scored the only goal of the second period, giving the visitors a two-goal cushion. Brandon product Ryan White cut that lead to one with less than five minutes to play on his first goal of the season, but Alex Formenton sealed the deal with an empty-net strike ending Manitoba’s comeback three minutes short.
Comrie turned aside 35 of the 39 shots he faced in the loss, while Daccord stopped 23 of the 26 pucks shot his way. Comrie is now 0-4-0 since returning to the Moose. Counterpart Mikhail Berdin lost his start Saturday by giving up four goals on 23 shots, before being yanked from the net in favour of Comrie midway through the second period.
The Moose will now look for a do-over Wednesday evening as the two teams square off once again at 7:00 PM central from Bell MTS Place.