Moose again mastered by Marlies

But Manitoba made a game of it this time around

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They had been there before — four times in fact.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/01/2016 (2460 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

They had been there before — four times in fact.

So you’d have to believe that with a 3-0 loss to the Toronto Marlies — their fifth loss to the Maples Leafs’ AHL affiliate this season — there would be little reaching for any kind of silver linings.

But that wasn’t the case on this night. Though the score will do little to flatter the home side, there was plenty to be pleased with in the Manitoba Moose locker-room after the game, including a strong first period and the simple fact they had taken the league’s powerhouse — the Marlies improved to a league-best 28-7-2-0 record — to the final minutes, even if it didn’t end with a much-needed two points.

Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press Manitoba Moose right wing Austen Brassard fishes for a puck in front of Toronto Marlies goalie Rob Madore during American Hockey League action at the MTS Centre on Jan. 8.

The loss drops the Moose to 10-18-1-3 on the year.

“I thought, for the most part, we played pretty good,” said captain John Albert after the game at the MTS Centre. “We were in the game all the way to the end, just one shot away, so we can’t get too down on ourselves.

“Obviously we would have liked to win this one, but we have to stay positive and look at good things you do in the games.”

A FRESH START: Speaking of the good things, the Moose had one of their best periods in the opening 20 minutes. It wasn’t hard to find motivation for a strong start. The Moose were embarrassed the last time these two teams met, with the Marlies skating to a 9-0 win in Toronto Dec. 6.

You could tell that game was in the back of their minds, as Manitoba came out with big pressure, dictating much of the play.

By the midway mark of the frame, the Moose were leading in shots, 11-0, with the Marlies not earning their first shot on goal until the 11:35 mark. But Manitoba couldn’t convert on two power plays, leaving them with nothing to show for the strong effort.

MINUS A FEW: The Moose were unable to take advantage of a few missing pieces in the Marlies lineup.

Most notable was forward William Nylander, who prior to sustaining a concussion while playing for Sweden at the world junior championships earlier this month, was leading the AHL in scoring with 14 goals and 34 points in 27 games.

The Marlies were also missing Kasperi Kapanen, the 19-year-old defenceman who helped Finland claim gold at the world juniors, defeating Russia 4-3 in overtime. He was given a few extra days to celebrate back home.

“They’ve got a great team and a lot of scoring depth even with missing those top guys,” said defenceman Brenden Kichton,” who admitted it was a tough two points to let slip through their fingers.

ROAD WARRIORS: Josh Leivo opened the scoring for the Marlies with his 10th of the season, scoring a power play goal at the 16-minute mark in the second; Stuart Percy then made it 2-0 with 2:21 left in the third and Ryan Rupert added an empty-net marker to round out the scoring.

The Marlies now boast an impressive 16-2-1-0 record on the road.

That’s a pretty incredible stat for a league with a grueling travel schedule, one that’s wrought with games on back-to-back nights almost every week.

Just how impressive have the Marlies been on the road?

Consider this: prior to a 2-1 loss to the Lake Erie Monsters Dec. 29, in what was their most recent road game prior to Friday night, Toronto had strung together nine straight wins on the road, a streak that spread across six weeks.

UP NEXT: Manitoba won’t have to wait long for a chance at redemption.

They welcome the Marlies back to the MTS Centre tonight. Puck drop is 7 p.m.

 

 

jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.ca

Jeff Hamilton

Jeff Hamilton
Multimedia producer

After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.

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