AHL Game Recap: Manitoba Moose vs. Calgary Wranglers | 02/23/2024

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The Manitoba Moose opened a weekend series against the Calgary Wranglers on Friday, February 23rd. The Wranglers travelled to the Canada Life Centre to faceoff against the Moose, both teams look to take two wins in this back-to-back contest.

The Manitoba Moose made a few changes to their lineup, Wyatt Bongiovanni and Danny Zhilkin come out for Henri Nikkanen and Nicholas Jones. Nikkanen and Jones will be paired on the fourth line with C.J. Suess. As for defenseman, Dean Stewart comes out for Tyrel Bauer. Thomas Milic starts in net for Manitoba while Dustin Wolf starts in net for Calgary.

The Moose would shuffle around their defensive pairs, Ville Heinola and Simon Lundmark would be promoted to the top line while Kyle Capobianco and Dawson Barteaux would be bumped down to the second pairing. No other changes were made.

Wranglers Strike Late, Dominate First Period

The Manitoba Moose didn’t find much success in the first period. While they maintained some extended offensive zone time three separate times throughout the first, Calgary’s defence was far too much for the Moose.

Ville Heinola had some extended shifts as he was caught on the ice and Simon Lundmark, his defence partner, was able to switch off. Lundmark would temporarily find himself paired with Ashton Sautner and Tyrel Bauer found himself temporarily paired with Heinola.

The first period remained scoreless until the final minute of the first period. Wranglers forward William Stromgren scored in a rather weird sequence where multiple players hit the ice and Moose goalie Thomas Milic wasn’t able to find the puck. Both goalies kept a scoreless first period until 19:12 and a clean record from the penalty sheet until 19:31.

Ben Jones was called for tripping with 29 seconds left in the first and the Moose power play would go to work. The home crowd was teased with a goal as the Moose weren’t able to beat the buzzer. Heading into the second period, the Moose had 1:31 left in the power play where they looked to make something happen.

Wranglers Blow Open Scoreboard, Continue Dominance

The second period wasn’t as easy for the Moose. The Wranglers would add three markers to the scoreboard and begin to run with the entire game.

Wranglers defenseman Will Reidell scored after a clean look on Milic. Reidell’s first of the season was a gift as no Moose defender was around to make sure he couldn’t get a shot off. Not too long after, Alex Gallant was in the right place at the right time as Emilio Pettersen took a shot on Milic that rebounded perfectly into Gallant’s skate. A commanding three-goal lead for the Wranglers looked to be in danger as the Moose would trail 15-8 in shots on goal and work their way to a 20-18 lead.

The Wranglers weren’t phased by the uptick in offence from the Moose as they would work their way to a 31-23 lead in the shots category. A late penalty with 2:04 left to Will Reidell for cross-checking should’ve allowed the Moose to cut the lead down to two goals. Matt Coronato found an open lane to score shorthanded on the breakaway, essentially putting the dagger into the game with 9.6 seconds left in the second period. A four-goal lead heading into the third was certainly not the outcome Manitoba hoped for.

Moose Find Energy, Thwarted

Down four goals, Manitoba had some work to do to get into the game. Calgary continued to dominate the game and an early goal from Cole Schwindt off a rebound seemed to push the game farther out of reach. A five-goal lead firmly put the game away for the Wranglers, they just needed to hear the final buzzer for it to be true.

The final ten minutes of the game displayed the best effort by the Moose. Down five goals, Jeff Malott scored twice, once on a breakaway while on the power play and the other on a nice feed from Kyle Capobianco.

Post Game Interviews

Conrad Jack

Conrad Jack is a lifelong hockey fan who is now actively writing for Inside The Rink covering primarily the Winnipeg Jets and the entire NHL second. He also covers the latest NHL News & Rumors, the NHL Entry Draft, and so much more for Inside The Rink.

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