By Scott Taylor/Photos by James Carey Lauder
For the second straight night, the Manitoba Moose gave the high-powered Grand Rapids Griffins everything they could handle. However, this time, the result didn’t go Manitoba’s way.
After beating the Griffins 3-1 on Tuesday night, Grand Rapids came back on Wednesday and beat the Moose 2-1 in overtime.
Playing in front of 4,747 fans at MTS Centre – and with two new Manitobans, goalie Byron Spriggs of Winnipeg and rightwinger Adam Pleskach from Beausejour, in the lineup – the Moose built a 1-0 lead midway through the second period, but couldn’t hold it and fell at 2:11 of overtime on a goal by Axel Holmstrom.
Moose goaltender Jamie Phillips was the game’s third star, making 40 saves. He kept the Moose in the game and despite the loss, Manitoba did pick up a point and finished the back-to-back two-game series with three of a possible four points against one of the best teams in the AHL.
After a scoreless first period, the Moose notched their only goal of the night at 8:46 of the second when Scott Kosmachuk scored his 11th of the season from Brenden Kichton and Chase De Leo.
But Grand Rapids scored a power play goal at 15:18 as Evgeny Svechnikov beat Phillips to tie it at 1-1.
After another scoreless period in the third, the Griffins scored the winner at 2:11 as they improved to 44-22-1-4 and oved into first place in the American Hockey League’s Central Division.
With the point, the Moose improved to 26-36-5-5 and stayed out of last place in the Central Division of the American Hockey League, two point s ahead of eighth-place Rockford. The Moose are now 3-5-1-1 in their last 10.
The Griffins outshot the Moose 42-21. Manitoba went zero-for-three on the power-play while Grand Rapids was one-for-six.
The Moose play again on Friday night as the Tucson Roadrunners invade MTS Centre for a 7 o’clock start. It’s Game 3 of a final four-game homestand. The home schedule ends for the Moose on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. against Tucson.
THE NOTEBOOK: University of Manitoba Bisons goaltender Byron Spriggs was signed to an amateur tryout agreement by the Moose on Wednesday. Spriggs dressed for the Moose as an emergency back-up at MTS Centre on Wednesday night. Spriggs, 23, completed his third season with the Bisons this season and started 22 of 28 conference games. The former Winnipeg Blues and Vincent Massey High School star from Winnipeg was sixth in the Canada West conference in Goals Against Average at 2.82, fifth in the conference with a .913 Save Percentage and third with three conference shutouts. He had a 12-8 record as the Herd finished fifth in the regular season… The Moose also signed forward Adam Pleskach to a professional tryout agreement. Pleskach, 28, has 12 goals and 25 points in 48 games with Tulsa this season. Pleskach, from Beausejour, has 111 goals and 211 points during 253 professional games in the ECHL and CHL. Prior to turning pro, Pleskach played four seasons at American International College (NCAA), totaling 59 goals and 114 points in 138 games. He was named to the Second Team All-AHA Conference and Third Team All-AHA Conference in 2013 and 2012 respectively.