JACKSON, Wyo. — The usually pesky Stingers of Bozeman ran up against a Jackson hockey team that simply outclassed them in all areas of the game. The final score Friday was deceiving. The Moose used five 3rd period goals to blow open a one-goal game and seal a 7-1 victory.
Saturday, it was all Moose all the time. Four tallies in the opening frame surged the hometown team to an 8-3 final.
Moose rent-a-goalie Jordan Nagelkirk was solid in his debut with the Moose, filling in for the injured Nick Krauss. He didn’t see a lot of action as the Moose kept pressure on in the Stingers zone for most of the weekend.
The scoring fireworks for the Moose are a result of lines gelling and D engaging. Blueliners Kristian Ophus and Brad Improta have been a welcome boost to the lineup this season. Their quickness allows offensive zone play to stay alive as they both pinch instinctively, join the play on the rush, and see the ice well. Ophus contributed 3 assists on goals Friday. Improta was good for 4 helpers the following night.
With the defense healthy, head coach Howie Carruth can move sniper Tom Hartnett back to forward. That helps fill out two solid lines.
Newcomer Jason Reese is playing his way onto the top line where a logjam of talent is beginning to develop. Between Reese, AJ Sanders, Drew Akins, Alex Dewitz, Dakota Richardson, and Hartnett—Carruth has a lot of options to mix and match his top six forwards.
And the big guns came out to play over the weekend. Sanders racked up an 8-point weekend with 2 goals and 2 assists Friday to go with Saturday’s goal and 3 assists. Akins looked sharp as well with 2 points Friday (1G, 1A) and another 4 Saturday (1G, 3A). Reese scored a couple of goals on both nights.
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