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The Manitoba Moose, a 40-win team, came into Quicken Loans Arena riding an eight-game win streak. The Moose left Cleveland with the streak intact following a 7-2 victory over the Monsters on Tuesday night.
The Monsters came out quick as they seemed aware of the Moose’s hot streak. A Johnny Boychuk slapper from the point on the power play made Manitoba pay early when Wyatt Smith tipped in the disc from the doorstep. Chris Stewart and Boychuk were each credited with the assists on Smith’s 15th goal of the season at the 3:04 mark of the first.
“I don’t think a lot of guys would do that. Some guys want to make plays and some guys might be afraid of getting in front of the net. I have been doing that my whole career and I’ll continue to do that,” said Smith.
The Moose began their scoring when a puck trickled into the net off a shot from Jannik Hansen with less than a minute remaining in the period at 19:12. Credited with the assist on Hansen’s marker was Brad Moran.
Manitoba opened the second period similar to how they ended the first, scoring in the first minute. Left wing Mark Derlago cleaned up the doorstep off a wrister from the left circle by Moran at the 0:59 mark of the second.
The Moose added to their 2-1 lead with another marker at the 3:57 mark on a goal from Pierre Cedric-Labrie. The Labrie tally was assisted by Greg Rallo and Michael Grabner.
To continue the second period scoring flurry, Manitoba put another puck in the back of the net off the stick of Derlago at 11:56 of the second frame. Moran was given the lone assist, his third of the contest.
The third period bred much of the same for the Moose as they attacked early and often. The fifth goal by Manitoba was potted by Grabner at the 1:29 mark. Assisting on Grabner’s marker were Colby Genoway and Danny Groulx.
The sixth Moose tally was generated from a slapper at the left circle by Rallo that landed in the back of the net to push the lead to 6-1 in favor of the Moose. The helpers were given to Genoway and Shaun Heshka at 4:49 of the third.
To continue the scoring tear, Manitoba posted a seventh tally at the 12:00 mark off the stick of Groulx. Assists were credited to Genoway and veteran defenseman Nolan Baumgartner.
A little late period magic stopped the scoring barrage of the Moose when Lake Erie’s Jamie Lundmark found Eric Healey in the slot for his 21st goal of the season. T.J. Hensick was also given a helper on Healey’s tally at the 13:34 mark of the third.
Monsters goalie Mike Wall was lifted after 44:37 in goal following Manitoba’s sixth tally. In his start, Wall made 29 stops on 35 shots. Tyler Weiman came in to take Wall’s spot and made three saves on four shots. Manitoba netminder Drew MacIntyre turned away 26 of the 28 that he faced for the win.
“It seemed like they out-played us from the start of the game to the end of the game. That was the difference, tonight had nothing to do with systems. It was a matter of Manitoba coming in here and beating us to the loose pucks and being physically hotter on the play than we were,” said Monsters head coach Joe Sacco.
The Monsters now head to Grand Rapids to face the Griffins on Wednesday night. Lake Erie then returns home on Friday, March 28th to face the Toronto Marlies at 7:30 p.m. for another Dollar Dog Friday.
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