Updated: Mar 11
By Phillip Goodman
The Jackson Hole Moose proved their 18-4 record coming into Reno was no fluke and took both games from the Reno Ice Raiders last weekend by scores of on Friday 9-5 and 6-3 on Saturday in front of sold-out crowds. Each contest was much closer than those final tallies might indicate.
Friday’s game got off to a promising start for Reno when Bobby Watson stole the puck from a Moose defender and fed Sam Mancini wide open in front for a 1-0 lead four minutes in.
Jackson hole responded with two goals in a 64-second span to take a 2-1 lead until Chris Whitten’s Brewer’s Cabinet power play goal tied the score 2-2 with 8:42 left in the first frame.
The Moose had an answer again, netting two goals in the next minute and 14 seconds for a 4-2 Moose lead. The old cliche of a two-goal lead being the worst lead in hockey held true as Bobby Watson dangled around a defender and beat Moose netminder Robbie Leslie, cutting the deficit in half. Sam Mancini pulled a loose puck off the wall and from the right circle and fired a laser over Leslie’s blocker to tie the score 4-4.
After eight goals in the first period, the only goal of the second period came on a Moose power play even though Reno outshot Jackson Hole 18-10 in that middle stanza.
Alex Dewitz then scored two goals in less than three minutes for the Moose, extending their lead to 7-4. The Ice Raiders called a timeout with an offensive zone draw pending and on the ensuing faceoff Nick Anderson made a nifty backhand pass from behind the cage to Razmy Anderson on the doorstep for the one-timer goal.
The 5-7 deficit with 8:43 to go was the closest Reno would get as for the third time in the game Jackson Hole answered with two quick strikes in the next 90 seconds.
A few silver linings to the loss though: Reno connected on 1 of 3 power plays, only took two penalties all night, outshot Jackson Hole 46-42, and overall never gave up despite being down two goals or more at times. Patrick Kasper played incredibly well in net for Reno on both nights. Kasper had several outstanding saves on breakaways and one-timers that would have led to a wider loss margin.
Saturday’s tilt started fast and furious like Friday when Bobby Watson opened the scoring early for Reno. Andrew Peterson’s dump-in bounced off Leslie right to Watson charging the net and Watson only needed to make one move to put the puck past Leslie for the 1-0 lead.
Nick Anderson, who had been frustrated by missed opportunities on Friday night, took a neutral zone pass from Julian Herrera then lifted a backhander to the upper left corner for a 2–0 barely four minutes into the game.
From that point, it was all Jackson Hole on offense and defense. The Moose rattled off six unanswered, even-strength goals between the 15-minute mark of the first until the six-minute mark of the third. The Moose held Reno to only 25 shots all night.
Sam Mancini’s power play goal with under six minutes to play was as close as Reno would get in the 6-3 loss.
The Ice Raiders have three weeks off until the NorCal Stampede return to Reno for games on Mar. 18 and 19. Back in August the Ice Raiders hosted two exhibition games with the Stampede and the contests were incredibly heated between these long-time rivals. Reno’s regular season closes on Mar. 25 and 26 against the McCall Mountaineers. All Ice Raiders games will start at 8pm. Can’t make it to the game? Watch the game live on the Ice Raiders YouTube channel. You’ll also be able to watch highlights and full games on the channel. Make sure to subscribe to the channel.
Jackson Hole Moose @ Reno Game 17 Highlights:
Jackson Hole Moose @ Reno Game 18 Highlights:
Game Highlights by Jim Dunigan.