WINNIPEG – Manitoba Moose head coach Scott Arniel was happy to see his team do some rare moves Friday night – like raising their arms after a goal.
The Moose defeated the Toronto Marlies 5-1, a victory that halted a five-game losing streak and ended an offensive drought that saw the Moose only score one goal in each of their previous seven games.
“I’m sure there’s some relief for some guys over there (in the locker-room) to know what it feels like to raise their arms again,” Arniel said. “It was good to see. It was well-earned.”
Manitoba (9-9-2) outshot Toronto 32-19 in front of 7,592 fans at MTS Centre. The Moose will try to make it two in a row when the teams meet again Saturday night.
It was a nice return to the AHL for Manitoba goalie Cory Schneider. He last played with his Moose teammates Oct. 23 because of a call-up to the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.
Manitoba veteran forward Marty Murray started the game’s scoring when he converted his fourth goal of the season by flipping in teammate Eric Walsky’s rebound past Toronto goalie Joey MacDonald at 1:59 of the first period.
Bad bounces caught the Moose eight minutes later.
Marlies forward Tyler Bozak shot the puck across the front of the net and it bounced off a teammate and a Moose defenceman before going in the net past Schneider to make it 1-1.
It was a different story in the second period, when Manitoba scored three straight goals to put the game away.
Marco Rosa, newcomer Darryl Bootland and Sergei Shirokov with his team-leading sixth goal of the season widened the gap 4-1 after the middle period.
A fight-filled third period featured Moose defenceman Neil Petruic’s first goal of the season, a slap shot at 11:23.
Arniel wasn’t impressed with some of Toronto’s physical tactics.
“That’s the way they tried to do it last year and it backfired on them last year, and it backfired on them tonight,” Arniel said of the team the Moose ousted in the playoffs.
“You know, there’s some things they do out there, you just shake your head and, you know what, we got our two points in a divisional matchup. Now we’ve got to come back (Saturday) night and do the same thing.”
Toronto (6-5-2) head coach Dallas Eakins said tempers flared after Moose winger Tommy Maxwell went after defenceman Jonas Frogren.
“Our guys took great exception to that,” Eakins said. “That’s what happens. It’s a reaction.
“We’re not going to sit and let that happen to one of our teammates and that’s what got the ball rolling.”
He expects emotions will be high right off the bat in the rematch.
But he’s also looking for a better offensive output from his players so their goalie isn’t left hanging like MacDonald was for most of the game.
“We’ve had a real challenge with our team,” Eakins said. “For some reason, they don’t want to shoot the puck.
“They’re very nice to each other, passing it around, looking for their buddy all the time rather than taking the initiative to get it on net.
“That’s something that we’ll continue to work on. And the turnovers, it’s just unacceptable. We’ll have a long chat with a few players here over the next 24 hours.”