JACKSON HOLE, WYO – The Jackson Hole Moose continued their winning way, besting a strong hockey club from Stowe, Vermont over the weekend.
The Moose took both games against the Slugs to improve to 14-6 on the season. Both were one-goal victories following similar patterns. The Moose got out to early leads and began to fade a bit in the final periods. Jackson did not score in either third period, hanging on both nights to close out the Slugs who pulled their goalie in the waning moments both nights.
Friday, the Moose took a 3-1 lead into the first intermission. They led 6-3 after two, and eventually nursed a 6-5 win out of the night.
Chase Wharton’s one-timer from the point on the power play in the second period ended up being the game-winner. Fitting, as this team has missed the calming presence of the stay-at-home defenseman.
Wharton returned to the lineup and the pairing of he and Christian Ophus pits a puck-moving d-man with a banger that ate monster minutes over the weekend. Coach Howie Carruth skated just four defensemen against the Slugs—Sam Barret and Nate Goss-Woliner were the other pair—a main reason the Moose tired toward the end of both games.
Forwards Kyle Krauss and Jake Leitner each had 3-point nights with a goal and two assists for both. Team leading scorer AJ Sanders was in on five of the six Moose goals (1G, 4A). The Slugs were led by former career minor leaguer Graham Mink. The power-forward put up impressive numbers (253 goals) over a 12-year professional career, including a handful of games with the NHL’s Washington Capitals.
Both goaltenders were sharper Saturday. Moose netminder Nick Krauss saved his best stops for the third when he stonewalled Stowe’s attempted comeback.
Leitner and Krauss again tallied for the Moose in Saturday’s win. AJ Sanders added two assists. Team captain Brian Upesleja was simply a beast Saturday as well, registering a goal and an assist, while backing off Stowe time and again with his bullrushes to the net.
Stowe traveled well, bringing a strong contingent of old high school hockey friends that included three former Moose players—Luke Sisler, Spencer Morton, and Chris Donza.
Next for the Moose is a weekend set with the Cleveland Lakeside Metals February 9-10.