WINNIPEG – The losses continue to pile up for the struggling Manitoba Moose. After the conclusion of the All-Star break the Moose opened a six game homestand with a 6-2 loss to the Toronto Marlies on Thursday at MTS Centre. It was the ninth consecutive defeat for Manitoba and the AHL leading Marlies have beaten the Moose in all seven of their meetings so far this season.
“Obviously the losing streak effects you some way or another.” Moose captain John Albert said. “You try to stay positive as much as you can. It’s hard when you lose games cause everybody obviously wants to win. It’s just the fact we didn’t string a full game together and right now it’s not happening.”
“To get out of it I think you just got to work harder and play a full 60 minute game.” Patrice Cormier said. “I think that’s what’s been missing in our game.”
Nic Petan and Jiri Fronk scored goals for the Moose while starting goaltender Eric Comrie was chased from the game in the second period after allowing four goals on 21 shots.
The Moose sit dead last in the AHL with a record of 11-26-3-4.
“Obviously not happy. Anytime you’re winless in nine games there’s not a lot of smiles in that dressing room.” Moose head coach Keith McCambridge said. “Not being able to have the success that we want there’s frustration there.”
Mark Arcobello scored two goals for Toronto. Josh Leivo had two assists and he has been a thorn in the side of the Moose this season. In their seven meetings he has four goals and eight assists. Antoine Bibeau made 23 saves for Toronto.
The Marlies had a 5-on-3 powerplay midway through the opening period. Winnipeg’s Brendan Leipsic spotted T.J. Brennan down low and he roofed a rocket one-timer behind Comrie. William Nylander also picked up an assist on the powerplay marker. It was Brennan’s 19th goal of the season.
Only a minute later playing 4-on-4 Connor Brown appeared to extend the Marlies lead as he whacked in a loose puck in front of Comrie. But the referee immediately signalled no goal because of goalie interference. It was 1-0 after one period with the Marlies outshooting the Moose by a slim 8-6 margin.
Four minutes into the second period the Marlies came flying into the Moose zone and Leivo found Arcobello who fired it in lower blocker side. His 19th goal of the season made it a 2-0 Marlies advantage.
The Marlies soon added to their lead. Zach Hyman hooked up with Nikita Soshnikov at the hash marks and he ripped the shot past Comrie for his 16th of the campaign. The Marlies led by three.
Only moments later Arcobello took the puck off the boards and fired the shot upstairs for his second goal of the game and his team leading 20th of the season. That was the end of the line for Comrie. Jussi Olkinuora took over in the Moose net.
But a change in goalie wouldn’t change the momentum. Another odd man rush just two minutes later led to another Marlies goal. On a 2-on-1 Nylander sent it over to Kasperi Kapanen who had the gaping net to score his seventh of the season. It was a four goal second period for Toronto and the Marlies were up by five through two periods. The shots were 17-10 in favour of the Marlies in the middle frame.
The Moose finally found the scoresheet 2:37 into the final stanza. The first shot went wide but Petan tucked in the backhand for his fourth goal of the season. Scott Kosmachuk and Peter Stoykewych garnered the assists to make it 5-1.
With under four minutes remaining Albert centred the puck to Fronk who buried the shot to make it a three goal game. Jan Kostalek had the other assist.
But with just 1:20 remaining Hyman scored into the empty net to give the Marlies a 6-2 victory.
Ryan Olsen was ejected in third period after getting assessed a five minute major penalty for spearing.
Matt Halischuk played his first game with the Moose since mid-January. Halischuk cleared waivers earlier on Thursday after being re-assigned by the Winnipeg Jets. He was a minus-1 with no shots on goal while playing on a line with Albert and Cormier.
The Moose get another crack at the Marlies on Saturday starting at 2:00pm at MTS Centre.
WATCH: Head Coach Keith McCambridge along with forwards John Albert and Patrice Cormier discuss the teams frustration after a ninth straight loss