WINNIPEG – A two week stint with the Winnipeg Jets seems to have elevated Scott Kosmachuk’s game. Kosmachuk scored two goals as the Manitoba Moose defeated the Charlotte Checkers 2-1 on Monday at MTS Centre. Kosmachuk now has three goals in two games with the Moose after after making his NHL debut with the Jets.
The Moose have won three of their last four games.Charlotte defeated Manitoba 6-2 in part one on Saturday.
“I thought it was a real strong game.” said head coach Keith McCambridge.
“Obviously the special teams were strong, able to get a powerplay goal there this evening. The addition of Brenden Kichton helps that from the previous game. Penalty kill again being able to limit the chances against. I like the way we played. I thought we played real hard against a team in Charlotte that is fighting for their playoff lives.”
Connor Hellebuyck won his fourth consecutive start. He stopped 26 of 27 shots for the victory and made a few key saves in the final minutes to preserve the victory for Manitoba.
“I thought we played really well.” Hellebuyck said.
“I think we’re a new group and the way we’re coming together quickly is a good sign of the guys in here. I thought we were good on the forecheck and when we needed to make changes, I think we made them good and quick.”
John Muse started in goal for Charlotte and made 20 saves.
Charlotte opened the scoring with the game just 86 seconds old. Zach Miskovic let go of the slapper from the blueline and Derek Ryan got his stick on it to re-direct the puck past Hellebuyck. Ryan’s 23rd of the campaign had the Checkers in the drivers seat.
It was the only goal of the period as the Moose outshot the Checkers 11-8.
Midway through the middle stanza, John Albert carried in on the 2-on-1 and took the puck right to the net. Muse made the save though to keep it a one goal Checkers advantage.
Only minutes later, Kosmachuk brought the puck into the Checkers zone and he fired in the shot low blocker side on Muse. It was his second goal in his second game since getting returned by the Jets and his 16th goal of the season. Sean Escobedo had the only assist for his first point with the Moose.
It was tied 1-1 after 40 minutes. The Checkers carried the play for most of the period thanks to three powerplay opportunities. They had an 11-5 advantage in shots in the second.
Seven minutes into the final frame, Albert spotted Kosmachuk at the faceoff dot. Kosmachuk snapped the shot past Muse for a powerplay goal. It was his second goal of the game and 17th of the season to give him the team lead. Kichton picked up the other assist.
With less than 10 seconds left, Chase De Leo hit the goal post with the empty net. Hellebuyck then had to make a huge save just as time expired to seal the 2-1 triumph.
“A little close there but the guys battled it out for the full 60 there.” Kosmachuk said. “And we came back from being down one and that’s the result we got.”
Eric Comrie is nursing a lower body injury and did not suit up for Manitoba. Jussi Olkinuora dressed as the backup after getting recalled from the Tulsa Oilers earlier on Monday.
Ryan Olsen, Jiri Fronk, Jan Kostalek, Thomas Raffl, Aaron Harstad, Justin Breton, Darik Angeli, and Peter Stoykewych were also scratched for Manitoba. After the game McCambridge said both Olsen and Stoykewych are done for the rest of the season.
The Moose now head out on the road for two games, Wednesday and Friday against the Iowa Wild.
WATCH:Head Coach Keith McCambridge and Moose players discuss a 2-1 victory over the Charlotte Checkers