Struggling Moose still perplexed at Iceplex


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THE move to the Bell MTS Iceplex hasn’t been kind to the Manitoba Moose thus far.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/03/2021 (740 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THE move to the Bell MTS Iceplex hasn’t been kind to the Manitoba Moose thus far.

The visiting Stockton Heat sure are enjoying their time there, though.

The Moose remain winless at the Iceplex after losing their third straight to the Heat Thursday night, falling 2-1. The four-game series will conclude Saturday afternoon before the Winnipeg Jets’ AHL affiliate gets a little break before welcoming the Laval Rocket for four games starting next Thursday.

The current plan is for the Moose to play the remainder of their home games in 2021 at the Iceplex. Moose head coach Pascal Vincent said it’d be nice to get that first win in their new digs out of the way.

“We’re going to keep pushing, we’re going to keep working hard, we’re going to get ready for that game (on Saturday) and I think we deserve a win,” Vincent said after the game.

“But we want to stay in the present and we want to stay in the moment. We want to make sure as a team — and for the individuals on that team — that we get better every game… If we do things right, we’re going to be in a position to win that game.”

All three losses against Stockton have been one-goal games, with the first two defeats coming in overtime.

“Every game was a different story. We had our chances, they had their chances,” Vincent said.

“Special teams was a factor in all three games. I can’t tell you there was one or two things. Both teams played well… We were in all of those three games. We could be sitting here and be on the winning side for three games. We’re not, but I feel we could’ve won all three games.”

The Moose trailed the entire way as the Heat led 2-0 before the team in blue scored late in the second period when forward Cole Maier struck for his fourth on the season. Manitoba outshot Stockton, who are based out of Calgary this season, 25-20, but couldn’t convert on any of their five power-play opportunities. The Heat were also able to slow down Moose rookie forward Jeff Malott, who entered the night on a three-game goal streak.

“Lots of the power play is just touching the puck, moving the puck quick, and bringing pucks to the net,” Vincent said.

“I felt the timing was a little bit off. The reaction was a little bit off. The way we released the puck was a little bit late. But all the things I mentioned, we can correct that.”

It hasn’t all been bad news for the Moose this week. The club welcomed back forwards Kristian Reichel and Marko Dano from injury in Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime loss. Thursday also saw a key forward return to the lineup as Kristian Vesalainen, the Jets’ first round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, made his season debut after being out with an injury. Vesalainen was minus-one on the night with one shot on net and was a harsh critic of his performance after the game.

“I think it was the worst game I played in a long time. I don’t know what was going on,” said the Finnish forward. “Maybe because I haven’t played a lot this year. That might be one (reason), but I don’t want to make excuses. You have to be ready every time you get the time to play. It just wasn’t there.”

Stockton sits on top of the Canadian Division while the Moose, 6-7-2, who play their next 14 at home, are in fourth place out of the five teams. The recent influx of forwards returning is a big plus, but Vincent said it does take time to get everyone back into the swing of things, especially with limited practice time.

“Yes, it is a challenge, but it’s part of the game,” said Vincent.

“It’s part of figuring out how we can still be winning hockey games and how they can develop themselves… It is a challenge.”

Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...


Updated on Thursday, March 11, 2021 11:38 PM CST: Adds photo

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