Moose no match for Marlies

Lose for sixth consecutive time to Toronto’s league leaders

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The Toronto Marlies, once again, showed the Manitoba Moose this is their ride and the Moose are merely passengers.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 09/01/2016 (2517 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Toronto Marlies, once again, showed the Manitoba Moose this is their ride and the Moose are merely passengers.

Yes, the Moose lost yet again to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ affiliate, 4-1, Saturday night at the MTS Centre. It’s the sixth time in six games this season the Moose have fallen to the Marlies, and rubbing salt in the wound is the fact Toronto has outscored the Moose 27-7 in that stretch.

Even with new threads — the Moose wore polar bear-inspired jerseys for a one-night promotion with the Assiniboine Park Zoo — their luck failed to change.

A pair of ill-advised third-period penalties to Nic Petan and Jimmy Lodge resulted in consecutive power-play makers for the Marlies as the Moose dug their own grave and promptly jumped in it.

The Moose were outshot handily, as well, 45-22.

“I thought we were in the game,” said forward J.C. Lipon. “But at the end of the day, you got to play that full 60 — that’s kind of been what we’re preaching. I think once we start realizing that when you’re down 2-1 you can still win the game, that’ll help us in the long run.”

The Marlies’ win pushed their league-best record to 28-7-2-0 while the Moose fell dangerously close to the league’s basement.

The Moose loss — they are now 10-19-1-3 coupled with an Iowa Wild win on Saturday has Manitoba just one point above the Wild for the unwanted recognition of league-worst.

A REVERSAL OF FORTUNES: If Friday night’s start against the Marlies was the gold standard, the Moose fell short of reaching the podium to open the second half of the back-to-back against Toronto.

The Marlies dictated much of the early pace, and looked primed to score early, if it weren’t for the stellar play of goalie Eric Comrie.

The most excitement the 8,890-strong sellout crowd saw in the first frame was a spirited scrap between former Nashville Predators forward Rich Clune and Moose tough guy, Darren Kramer.

Kramer tried to fight Clune earlier in the period after the latter took a long run at the Moose forward.

Clune was having none of it, however, and Kramer wound up in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Eric Comrie makes a save against Toronto Marlies' Josh Leivo at MTS Centre Saturday.

COMRIE CAN’T CARRY: Comrie held the Moose in the game until the third period when he was breached three times, with two of those goals coming on the power play.

You’d be hard pressed to blame the loss on Comrie, who made a number of impressive saves on the night.

Comrie endured an early barrage of rubber from the Marlies. But the former Tri-City American netminder steered aside four shots in 20 seconds to keep the tilt scoreless, including an impressive sliding pad save after a particularly juicy rebound.

In total, the 20-year-old faced 45 shots, stopping 41, as his record fell to 8-11-3 on the season.

“When you give up that many chances… I look more at the grade-A chances, and there were way too many grade-A chances in the slot areas,” said Moose head coach Keith McCambridge. “If you have to defend for that long period of time, they’re going to make you pay.

“You can’t expect your goaltender to make the kind of saves Eric had to make tonight.”

For what it’s worth, Comrie said he likes the high volume of rubber coming his way.

“It’s good for development,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun, to be honest with you.”

STREAK BROKEN: The Moose broke an ugly streak with 3:50 to go in the second period as they finally solved a Marlies’ netminder after 159:57 of play that spanned four games.

More importantly, perhaps, was Lipon’s seventh marker of the season tied the game despite the Moose playing most of the contest on their heels.

The Moose were outshot 17-8 in the period, but sprung to life on a late power play, as Lipon’s one-timer blast off a feed from Josh Morrissey beat Ray Emery cleanly.

Captain John Albert was the previous Moose to score against the Marlies, late in the third period of their Dec. 5 contest, a 3-1 loss.

WHAT’S NEXT? Thankfully for the Moose, it’s not the Marlies. But they will still face a stiff Central Division test in the Lake Erie Monsters, who will be at the MTS Centre for two games Jan. 11 and Jan.13.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Manitoba Moose defenceman Josh Morrissey collides with Toronto Marlies Zach Hyman at MTS Centre Saturday.

scott.billeck@freepress.mb.ca

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Manitoba Moose Brenden Kichton shoves Toronto Marlies forward and Winnipeg native Brendan Leipsic at MTS Centre Saturday.
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