WINNIPEG – Nic Petan scored with less than a minute left in overtime to help the Manitoba Moose snap their nine-game losing streak with a 6-5 win over the league leading Toronto Marlies.
The victory marks the first time in eight tries this year Manitoba (12-26-3-4) has beaten Toronto (37-8-4-0). Chase De Leo, Austen Brassard, John Albert and JC Lipon also scored for the AHL’s last place Moose. Lipon finished the game with four assists to go with his goal.
“These last couple games, it’s been pretty hard coming to the rink,” said Lipon. “We’ve been talking a lot. Everyone bought in today. You can’t be satisfied when you’re in the basement of a league. We’re taking it step-by-step to get out of there.”
De Leo started the scoring 0:47 into the game with his team leading 12th goal of the season. The Moose held the Marlies without a shot until the 8:06 mark of the first period. During that time, Manitoba racked up ten shots of its own.
“We’ve had a tendency of getting scored on early, maybe collapsing,” said Moose goalie Eric Comrie. “We’re learning how to get scored on and put it past us. I think that’s what we’re doing really well right now.”
Kasperi Kapanen tied things up just a few minutes later by squeaking a power play goal between the post and Comrie’s pad. Richard Clune later gave Toronto a 2-1 lead by beating a screened Comrie just a few seconds after a Marlies man advantage ended.
Toronto picked up where it left off just 0:20 into the second period as Connor Brown buried a power play one-timer to give the Marlies a two-goal cushion. The Moose though managed to even it up before the intermission. Brassard scored his ninth of the season less than a minute later to bring Manitoba within one. Albert then struck on a power play at the 16:24 mark of the period to make it a 3-3 game.
The Moose jumped back in front 2:21 into the third period thanks to De Leo’s second goal of the game. The rookie banged in a lose puck past an out of place Garret Sparks during a power play scramble in front of Toronto’s net. Coincidentally, the last time De Leo had a multi-goal game was the last time the Moose picked up a victory. De Leo has now scored two or more goals in a game three times this season.
“We’re all here for a reason, we all know that,” said De Leo. “Starting from up top, (head coach) Keith (McCambridge) and (assistant coach Mark Morrison) have handled this really well, stayed positive and kept us on the right track. You can even tell tonight we played with a little swagger which was key in the win.”
Manitoba’s lead though didn’t last long as Nikita Soshnikov capitalized on a power play mid-third. Lipon and William Nylander later traded goals less than three minutes apart from each other.
Petan’s overtime winner marked his fifth goal of the season.
“In the second period and a little bit in the third, we tried to play the style of game the Marlies play,” said McCambridge. “We know offensively, they have a lot more goals than we scored. We were able to play tonight the style of game you have to play to give yourself a chance to win against that team.”
Comrie and Sparks both made 38 saves in the game. Manitoba’s Josh Morrissey, Matt Fraser and Patrice Cormier all had two assists each. Winnipegger and Marlies forward Brendan Leipsic also had an assist in Toronto’s loss.
The Moose continue their six-game homestand on Tuesday with the first of back-to-back matches against the Texas Stars.