Manitoba Moose (16-9-1-1) @ Texas Stars (8-11-3-1) Recap - Jan 7th
The Manitoba Moose will be taking on the Texas Stars tonight in a battle of Central Division rivals. The two teams are on opposite ends of the division standings, with the Moose sitting in 2nd place, while the Stars are in the 6th.
The Manitoba coaching staff continues to have to deal with a carousel of players coming in and going out of the lineup. For tonight's contest, the Moose will be without the services of Declan Chisholm, Leon Gawanke, & Evan Polei (Covid protocols). However, they will be adding a couple of forwards in Luke Johnson & Ty Pelton-Byce, allowing them to dress 11 forwards and 6 defensemen. Mikhail Berdin remains unavailable, so Evan Cormier will get his 3rd straight start while the Moose added yet another goalie on a PTO (Hayden Lavigne) to back him up. See the complete projected lines below.
The Texas Stars have managed a winning percentage of .435 so far this season, barely keeping them out of last place. They have played just 23 games, the fewest of any of the Central Division teams. While they are coming off a win, the Stars are just 3-5-2 in their past 10 games.
Texas will have a quality goaltender in net tonight, as former Dallas Star Anton Khudobin will get the start. The Stars roster includes long-time AHLers Alex Petrovic and Curtis McKenzie, 1st rounder Ty Dellandrea (13th in 2018), and 3rd rounder Oskar Back (75th in 2018).
Moose Projected Line Up
1st Period Recap:
- Manitoba opened up with the 3rd forward line and 2nd defensive pairing to start the game.
- Heinola and Nogier had a miscommunication in the defensive zone resulting in a good chance for Texas, but Cormier was there to make the save & cover up.
- The 3rd line had the Moose's first shot and scoring chance when Poganski & L. Johnson broke out on a 2 on 1. The d-man took away the pass, so Poganski wristed a shot that was gloved by Khudobin.
- On their third shift, the 3rd line once again controlled the puck as they pressed for the game's opening goal. They cycled the puck for a bit, before L. Johnson passed a puck from the sideboards to the slot and Poganski ripped a shot on net. The puck may have deflected slightly off a defender, before beating the Stars' goalie to give the Moose a 1-0 lead with 14:21 to play.
- Moose Goal: Poganski (5) from L. Johnson (2) and Samberg (4)
- The 4th line got caught in Manitoba's end, spending a shift chasing the puck. Texas d-man Gleason made a couple of moves along the blueline and Pelton-Byce took a hooking penalty to stop him from skating into the slot.
- The Moose won the face-off on the PK and were able to clear the zone. The Stars came right back and were able to get set up, but only managed a long-range shot before Heinola was able to ice the puck. Samberg was able to clear the next attempt and the teams returned to even strength.
- At the midway point of the 1st, the Stars are leading in shots (4-3) and the Moose are winning on the scoreboard (1-0).
- Heinola sent a long cross-ice pass in the neutral zone to hit a streaking L. Johnson. He released a quick shot from the face-off dot and Khudobin blockered the puck away.
- Another save by Cormier on a quality shot from the low slot, gave up a little rebound but Kovacevic kept a Star player from getting their before the Moose tender could cover.
- With 6:47 remaining, Eyssimont got called for a trip when his stick got into a Texas defenseman's skates.
- Maier used his stick to deflect a shot off a Texas face-off win and Manitoba was able to clear the puck. They kept the Stars out of their zone for 30 seconds before briefly allowing Texas to get set up. The best chance of the man advantage came on a 1 timer from the right face-off circle, but it sailed high.
- The 2nd line spent a shift trying to get out of the Manitoba end and the 3rd line couldn't end Texas' dominance on their shift either. Cormier made a big save on a shot from the low slot, kicking a rebound out to his right. Another Star was there to pick it up and immediately shot at the open net. Cormier flew across the crease and managed to get a blocker on the puck, deflecting it out of play.
- The Moose 2nd line had a pushback shift after a period of Stars dominance. They had a glorious chance when Eyssimont set up Burgess for a shot from the slot that was blocked by a defender.
- A turnover in the neutral zone led to a counter-attack from Manitoba. L. Johnson skated down the right wing and rocketed a slapshot off the inside of the post.
- Lundmark made a solid play in the D-zone, taking a hit after making a good exit pass on a Texas dump in.
- Moose pushed for a last second goal and nearly got it when Samberg fired a pass from the left point to Maier in front of the net, deflecting the puck and narrowly missing the net. Manitoba was trailing in shots (10-6) with Texas controlling most shifts when the Moose 3rd line wasn't on in the opening period.
- Manitoba Shot Leaders: Poganski/Maier (2)
2nd Period Recap:
- L. Johnson was racing for a loose puck in the neutral zone, but he was stopped when a Texas player slashed his stick out of his hands, sending Manitoba to their 1st PP chance of the game.
- The Moose struggled with their passing and couldn't find a way to carry the puck into the Stars zone. Right at the end of the PP, L. Johnson was able to weave his way in and set up Lundmark for a shot, but it hit traffic in front of the net. Manitoba failed to capitalize with the man advantage.
- Oligny intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and skated it in, wristing a shot off Khudobin's shoulder from the high slot.
- A good shift by the 3rd line resulted in Poganski setting up a pinching Lundmark for a 1 timer that Khudobin was able to kick out with a pad.
- Cormier had to make a save off a snapshot from the midslot after the 1st line had trouble exiting the defensive end.
- A beautiful passing play by the Moose saw Heinola skate the puck into the Texas end before threading a pass across the ice to Poganski. Poganski immediately dropped the puck to Luke Johnson, who blasted a shot that Khudobin just got a piece of.
- The teams traded chances, with the other Johnson (Isaac) getting denied on 2 attempts from the side of the net and then Samberg sliding to break up a Texas 2 on 1.
- With 8 mintues to play, Texas was still leading in shots (13-9), however Manitoba was still holding onto the 1-0 lead.
- A Manitoba rush saw Eyssimont & Meireles pass it around before setting up Burgess for a shot that tested the Star keeper.
- Eyssimont denied on a rebound chance after Meireles won an offensive zone face-off.
- Just under 5 minutes to play, Heinola got caught for a cross-check in front of his net, sending the Stars to the third PP of the game.
- Texas able to get set up immediately, but their first shot was from long-range and Cormier had a clear lane to see it. The Stars won the draw again and this time Cormier had to stop a point shot through traffic. Manitoba finally won a face-off and briefly cleared their end. Texas came back and tested Cormier twice more on point shots, but neither could beat the Moose goalie. Despite getting 6 shots on net with the man advantage, Texas couldn't find the tying goal.
- Manitoba were able to control most of the final minute of the 2nd, but a failed dangle by Kovacevic at the Stars blueline led to a 2 on 1. Samberg did a so-so job, stopping the pass initially but eventually Texas found the trailer in the low slot. Only an utter robbery by Cormier kept the Moose in the lead as the period ended, with the Stars holding a 20-11 advantage in shots.
- Manitoba Shot Leaders: Poganski, Eyssimont, Maier, Lundmark (2)
3rd Period Recap:
- Maier won a race on the forecheck to get the puck behind the net, sending a pass out to Jones in front of the net. Jones could only poke the puck towards the net, but it trickled wide.
- Moose got stuck in their end after Kovacevic lost an edge and Texas took advantage. Veteran AHLer Petrovic sent a pass from the blueline by 2 Moose defenders before Karlstrom was able to deflect the pass by Cormier to tie the game up at 1 with 17 minutes left in the 3rd.
- Stars Goal: Karlstrom (4) from Petrovic (4) and Gleason (9)
- Texas looked to build on their momentum, once again getting a quality shot from the midslot that Cormier was able to stop.
- Pushback shift by the 3rd line led to a brief Moose attack, but too many missed passes in the neutral zone were killing most chances before they could develop.
- 8 minutes into the 3rd period, Texas had taken control of the game, outshooting Manitoba 7-2 in that span.
- The 4th line had a good grind shift, but Lundmark got caught out of position when the Stars flipped the puck down the ice. Only a big save by Cormier stopped the breakaway attempt (though Lundmark was also all over the Texas player's back too).
- The 3rd line was able to gain the Stars zone and Nogier found himself at the point with the puck. Having no clear lane to the net, Nogier threw a shot hard off the back boards. Malott outmuscled his defender and collected the ricochet, banging it in the net before Khudobin could come across. Manitoba took a 2-1 lead with 10:20 to play (shots 30-15 for Texas).
- Moose Goal: Malott (9) from Nogier (2) and Meireles (10)
- The 4th line started a shift well, with Jones getting a chance from right in front of the Texas net. Though it ended poorly when Jones misplayed the puck in his own end, making Cormier stop another Texas chance.
- After some back and forth play, the Stars got another shot from the high slot, but Cormier made a shoulder save through traffic.
- At this point in the game, Texas was on the attack and Manitoba for the most part was defending in the neutral & defensive zones. Some nice forechecking by Poganski killed some time, Lundmark with a good gap in the neutral zone allowing him to break up an attack, and quite a bit of yapping after each whistle.
- A Star player made a nice move at the offensive blueline and beat the man covering him, but Heinola came across quickly to take the puck away.
- 2nd line spent a shift in the offensive zone and they were followed up by the 1st line. A bad bodycheck by L. Johnson from behind on Tuft resulted in a scrum. Manitoba came out of it short-handed with just under 3 minutes to play.
- Texas was able to control the puck for the opening 30 seconds, but couldn't get a quality chance before Cormier was able to cover. Goalie was pulled for the extra attacker and they won another face-off to control the puck. Jones made a great play at the blueline, pressuring the defender and poking the puck by him. Jones was all alone on the empty net to give the Moose a SH goal to increase the lead to 3-1.
- Moose Goal: Jones (3) unassisted - Short Handed & Empty Net
- Cormier called on yet again to make a save on a shot from the midslot before the penalty expired.
- Poganski was able to add another empty net goal on a shot from the defensive side of center to give the Moose a 4-1 lead.
- Moose Goal: Poganski (6) unassisted - Empty Net
- Manitoba Shot Leaders: Eyssimont (4), Poganski (3)
- Final Score: MANITOBA 4 TEXAS 1
- Shots: MANITOBA 19 TEXAS 35
- Luke Johnson was quite noticeable coming back from a long lay off and he was the best forward on either team in this game. He had only played 5 games before getting injured, so had missed the past 22 before wreaking havoc in his return tonight.
- Interesting play by Heinola in the 2nd. During a battle behind his own net, he ended up dropping his stick. He stayed there after the puck moved away to try to retrieve his stick, however the puck ended up coming right back to him. He quickly picked up his stick, but it was the wrong way around. With a forechecker bearing down on him, the young Finn opted to rifle the puck around the boards with the knob of his stick. Pretty impressive to get that much power with the wrong end of a hockey stick.
- Maybe the Jets should look at signing Evan Cormier to a contract. The 24 year old had a very strong game in this one, making multiple saves on high danger chances. A 4th round pick by the NJ Devils in 2016, he has been named one of the Stars of the Game in all 3 starts (1st, 3rd, & 2nd).
- Manitoba's PK had another good game, killing off all 4 powerplays. Though Texas did have more zone time than the Moose typically allow. Manitoba's PP units didn't look very good in their only chance.
- 3 Stars of the Game:
- 1st: Austin Poganski - Manitoba (2 goals)
- 2nd: Evan Cormier - Manitoba (34 of 35 saved)
- 3rd: Jeff Malott - Manitoba (goal)
- A solid start to the 6 game road trip, with a 2-0-0-1 record so far.
- Up Next: Manitoba Moose @ Texas Stars on Saturday, Jan 8th @ 7 PM CST.