WINNIPEG – The Iowa Wild took full advantage of a Manitoba Moose team that was missing no less than six of their regular players. The Wild defeated the Moose 4-2 on Wednesday at MTS Centre. The Wild swept the back to back games in a battle of the leagues two worst teams. But between call ups and injuries the Moose were without five of their top forwards and defenceman Josh Morrissey.
Former Moose players Max Fortunus and Jordan Schroeder each scored in the Iowa victory. Rob Bordson and Zach Palmquist also chipped in with goals for the Wild.
Patrice Cormier and Nic Petan supplied all the offence for Manitoba in their second straight loss.
“We get in some penalty trouble, they score the 5-on-3 goal. Tough again to get momentum back.” said Moose head coach Keith McCambridge. “I thought in the third period had a real strong push but just not enough left to get ourselves tied up in that game.”
Connor Hellebuyck started in goal for the Moose but only lasted a period and a half. Hellebuyck was pulled after allowing four goals on just 18 shots. His replacement Eric Comrie made 23 saves.
The Wild are in 29th place among the 30 AHL teams but the Moose have only beaten them once in their six meetings this season.
“It’s frustrating.” Moose defenceman Brenden Kichton said. “They beat us twice in Iowa too by one goal. Frustrated there. Frustrated when any team beats us whether it’s 29th or first place team. Right now we just got to find a way to get points and that’s unfortunately not happening right now.”
Three players made their Moose debut on Wednesday. Darik Angeli, Dan DeSalvo and Brant Harris all suited up for Manitoba after signing with the team earlier on Wednesday. The trio was needed with Scott Kosmachuk, Matt Halischuk, and JC Lipon all up with the Jets. The Moose are also without injured players Josh Morrissey, Thomas Raffl and John Albert. Jimmy Lodge was also scratched.
After the game McCambridge revealed Raffl is done for the rest of the season after injuring his back on the weekend.
Just past the three minute mark the Wild opened the scoring. Zach Mitchell dropped it back for Fortunus and the former Moose blueliner beat Hellebuyck top corner with the point shot. His sixth goal of the season had Iowa out in front.
Midway through the first frame the Wild added to their lead. It started out as a 2-on-1, but Bordson left it for the trailer and Palmquist zipped the one-timer past Hellebuyck. It was his fourth goal of the season and the lead was a pair. The shots were 9-4 for Iowa in the period.
Just over a minute into the second period Schroeder showed some great patience as he out waited Hellebuyck before firing it in. His 14th goal of the season came on a 5-on-3 powerplay and the lead was three.
The Wild continued to pour it on. At the midway mark of the second Hellebuyck directed the Fortunus shot with his blocker towards the corner. Bordson was right there and roofed the shot on Hellebuyck for the Wild’s fourth goal. Hellebuyck’s night was done as he took a seat on the end of the bench, replaced by Comrie.
The Moose broke the goose egg with 9:10 left in the third. The newcomer, DeSalvo got to the loose puck and set up Cormier who buried the shot for his 13th goal of the season.
With 2:42 remaining Ryan Olsen set up Petan in slot and he hammered home the one-timer for his ninth goal of the season. Jiri Fronk also had an assist but it would end as a 4-2 final.
The Moose have two games against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday and Saturday in Michigan and hope to have Albert back in the lineup.
WATCH: The Manitoba Moose react following their 4-2 loss to the Iowa Wild