The Manitoba Moose looked like a different team in more ways than one on Saturday night.
Not only were they wearing orange and white jerseys in honour of the Gateway Flyers organization on Hockey Night in Manitoba, but they looked nothing like the squad that had lost three in a row.
Sergei Shirokov snapped a 12-game goal drought and the Moose played like a team possessed in a 4-2 victory over the Lake Erie Monsters in front of an announced crowd of 14,775 spectators at MTS Centre, the largest of the season.
The victory moved the Moose back into a first-place tie with the Monsters, who won 5-1 on Friday night. Manitoba is not only tied with Lake Erie, which had a five-game winning streak snapped, but it also has four games in hand.
The Moose finished their six-game home stand with a 2-4 record, but at least they’re heading out on their epic 11-game road trip, which will be split into two separate sojourns, on a winning note.
The Moose showed from the get-go that they weren’t going to be messing around. They out-shot the Monsters 17-5 in the opening period and got goals from Garth Murray and Alexandre Bolduc.
Murray ended a 10-game scoring drought with his tally, which came on a slick feed from Kevin Clark.
The hosts continued their territorial dominance in the opening half of the second, and the pressure paid off with goals by Shirokov, who hadn’t scored since coming back from the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 23, and Mario Bliznak.
Shirokov made a dazzling backhand pass to set up Bliznak, whose goal forced Monsters coach David Quinn to pull Jason Bacashihua in favour of Trevor Cann. Bacashihua turned aside 19 shots.