WINNIPEG – The Manitoba Moose broke a one-all deadlock in the third period as they exploded for three goals in the span of just 2:37 en route to a 5-1 victory over the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday afternoon at MTS Centre. The win ended a three game losing streak for Manitoba.
In just his third game with the team Winnipeg Jets prospect Brendan Lemieux recorded his first AHL point with an assist in the third period, and then he notched his first pro goal just 64 seconds later.
“It’s been exciting, it’s been fun, it’s been a good process for me so far.” said Lemieux.
“I’m just happy to be apart of the learning process at the end of this year and kinda get a taste of pro. So it’s been a great experience for me and get to know the guys a little bit more just from being here during the season as opposed to just the camp.”
Austen Brassard scored two goals in the victory including the empty netter to seal the deal. The Moose have won all three meetings against Rockford this season.
“I thought everybody was just working hard.” Brassard said. “I thought we were working as a group, competing on pucks, keeping it simple, getting pucks to the net. Coms (Eric Comrie) played a great game and then we capitalized on our chances offensively.”
Scott Kosmachuk had a goal and an assist in his first game back in the lineup after missing two games with an injury. Newcomer Sean Escobedo also scored his first goal with the Moose.
“I thought it was a real strong game.” said head coach Keith McCambridge. “I thought from top to bottom it was one of those ones that we were able to give our crowd something to be real pleased about.”
Ville Pokka scored the only goal for Rockford. Moose goaltender Eric Comrie was rewarded with the game’s first star after stopping 32 of 33 shots.
“I think more than anything we were playing good all night.” Comrie said. “The bounces just weren’t going our way, and all of a sudden a couple bounces went our way and ended up in the back of the net.”
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The Moose opened the scoring at the 7:20 mark of the first period. John Albert sent the puck in front of the net. It came to Kosmachuk and he fired the shot past Mac Carruth for the game’s first goal. Aaron Harstad also had an assist on Kosmachuk’s team leading 18th goal of the season.
It would be the only goal of a first period that saw Rockford outshoot Manitoba 14-10.
The one goal Moose lead stood up until the 6:29 mark of the middle frame. Comrie made the first save on Vinnie Hinostroza but Pokka was right there to deposit the backhand for a powerplay goal. His ninth goal of the season was also assisted by Mark McNeill. It was 1-1 after 40 minutes. The Moose led in the shot department 12-7 in the second stanza.
Just 1:21 into the third period, Lemieux flung a pass in front and a wide open Brassard picked the top corner for the go ahead goal. Brassard’s 14th of the season was assisted by Lemieux and Dan DeSalvo. It was Lemieux’s first career AHL point.
Just 64 seconds later Lemieux whacked in the rebound for his first AHL goal. Kosmachuk and Chase De Leo drew the assists and the Moose had some breathing room up by a pair.
Less than two minutes after that, Brandon Denham threw the shot towards the IceHogs goal and Escobedo re-directed the puck past Carruth. It was Escobedo’s first goal with the Moose and the just the second AHL goal of his career. The Moose had three goals in the span of just 2:37. Manitoba had a 4-1 lead forcing the IceHogs to use their timeout.
With less than two minutes remaining, Brassard scored into the empty net for his second goal of the game and 15th of the season as the Moose picked up a 5-1 win.
Former Moose Matt Fraser was held pointless in his return to Manitoba after being apart of the Andrew Ladd trade back in February.
The Moose play their final home game of the season tomorrow afternoon with the rematch against the IceHogs.
WATCH: The Manitoba Moose react following a 5-1 win over the Rockford IceHogs.