Too little, too late for Moose

Manitoba reeling after third straight loss on home ice


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The Manitoba Moose hadn’t faced much adversity this season as they steamrolled opponents and soared to near the top of the American Hockey League standings.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/02/2018 (1929 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Manitoba Moose hadn’t faced much adversity this season as they steamrolled opponents and soared to near the top of the American Hockey League standings.

Well, they’re knee-deep in it now. Because nothing seems to be going right these days for the main affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets.

The Moose dropped a 3-2 decision to the Milwaukee Admirals Monday afternoon at Bell MTS Place before 8,430 fans. It’s their third straight regulation defeat, all on home ice, and leaves them with just one win in their last seven games (1-4-2).

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Manitoba Moose Jake Kulevich gets checked by Milwaukee Admirals' Tyler Moy and Yakov Trenin during second period AHL action in Winnipeg on Monday.

This one was pretty much over before it had really started. Milwaukee scored three times in a first period that was as ugly as any the Moose have played all year. And while they showed glimpses of their old selves as the game wore on — scoring twice and just missing on several more glorious chances — it was too little, too late.

“I don’t think we ran out of time. I think we didn’t show up on time,” veteran centre Mike Sgarbossa said following the game. “The first period there, if we played in the first like we did in the second and third, it’s a different game. The outcome would have been a lot different.”

Milwaukee’s Frederick Gaudreau scored just 56 seconds into the game off a rebound given up by Moose goalie Jamie Phillips. The Admirals made it 2-0 a few minutes later on a pretty three-way passing play that ended with a Trevor Murphy goal. Then Gaudreau ripped his second of the contest with Milwaukee on a five-on-three power play with just over four minutes left in the frame.

It was a surprisingly flat start from a Moose squad that should have been more desperate, considering they were coming off back-to-back shutout losses to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

“At this point in the season, there’s no excuse for not being prepared,” Sgarbossa said. “Going into the playoffs, every period is going to matter. I think right now we have to learn we can’t take one period off, no matter how good our team is. We can’t afford to do that. I think right now we’re learning the hard way.”

Brendan Lemieux finally broke the offensive drought for the Moose when he beat Milwaukee goalie Anders Lindback with a shot just over six minutes into the middle period. It was the first Moose goal in just over 170 minutes of hockey — a stunning development for a team that had been the highest-scoring in the league until just recently.

Sure, they’re without snipers Jack Roslovic and Nic Petan, who are both on recall with the Jets. But there’s still plenty of offensive talent left on the farm.

Sgarbossa got the Moose within one with just over 11 minutes left in the third, converting a beautiful behind-the-back no-look pass from linemate Buddy Robinson for his 13th of the year.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Manitoba Moose Mason Appleton, left, and Patrice Cormier double team Milwaukee Admirals' Jimmy Oligny during second period AHL action in Winnipeg on Monday.

But that’s as close as Manitoba would get, despite hitting a couple posts in the game. They outshot Milwaukee 32-26, including 25-12 over the final two periods.

“We worked for 40. That’s not good enough,” coach Pascal Vincent said. “I like the fact they showed some character, from 3-0, that’s not easy. But at the end of the day, we’re getting paid to play 60 minutes. It’s nothing new, we’re not reinventing the wheel here, you need to show up on time. And that cost us the game.”

The Moose are now 32-14-7 with 23 games left in the regular season. They continue to enjoy a big lead on top of the Central Division despite this recent rough stretch. Manitoba returns to action on Wednesday in a rematch against Milwaukee, which improved to 26-21-5 with the victory.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @mikemcintyrewpg


Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.


Updated on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 4:43 PM CST: Updated.

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