Moose blue-liner talks talk, walks walk

KEN WIEBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:23 AM ET

Upon his arrival for a conditioning stint that could last up to two weeks, Aaron Rome was quick to point out he had no qualms about having to play five games in six days with travel.

It's one thing to say it, but the veteran blue-liner went out and walked the walk.

After not seeing game action for roughly three weeks, Rome gave the Manitoba Moose blue-line a huge boost by providing 24-to-28 minutes per game and producing four goals -- including two game-winners -- and an assist in five games.

DECISIVE GOAL

Rome's fourth goal was the decisive marker in Sunday's 4-3 victory over the Rockford IceHogs, which allowed the Moose to come away with one win in three games to wrap up the road trip.

"He's so polished, he's a veteran guy who has played the game," said Moose head coach Scott Arniel. "He has the ability to make plays under pressure and he has great vision and a great shot. He's helped our power play and he's logged lots of minutes. That's why he's here."

The Moose flew home Sunday night and were given yesterday off, since they don't play until Friday against the Norfolk Admirals at Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va.

Rome will remain with the Moose through the next two games and is expected to return to the Vancouver Canucks after that.

Although Arniel wasn't thrilled about giving up three power play goals on Sunday, he was happy to see his power play score three of their own.

"If teams want to act like idiots and do what they did, you have to make them pay and we did," said Arniel. "You work at it and work it, but with all the different personnel we've had to use on our power play, it was nice to get rewarded.

"Like I've said before, we've created opportunities and showed lots of good things, but ultimately it's about scoring goals. You can have puck possession, get your shots and chances, but you still need to put the puck behind the goaltender. It can take such relief off of guys by doing that."

Another one of the positive developments for the Moose on Sunday saw Russian sniper Sergei Shirokov snap a seven-game drought and score his team-leading 10th goal of the campaign.

Shirokov also leads the Moose with 20 points in 28 games, which leaves him tied for 26th in the AHL scoring derby.

Three former Moose players are in the top 10, Jason Krog of the Chicago Wolves is sixth (25 points), Jason Jaffray of the Abbotsford Heat is tied for seventh (24 points) and Mark Cullen of the IceHogs is tied for 10th (23 points).

The 15-12-4 Moose, who have played more games than anyone in the AHL, enter the week second in the North Division standings, five points behind the Rochester Americans, who have played six fewer games.

CLOUTIER SUSPENDED: IceHogs goalie Dan Cloutier received a one-game suspension for his actions in Sunday's game against the Moose.

Cloutier, playing his first game in over a year after recovering from a pair of hip surgeries, lost his cool during the second period after Guillaume Desbiens was pushed into him.

Cloutier, who signed a pro tryout offer after going to training camp with the Detroit Red Wings, punched Desbiens with his blocker and was given a match penalty at the time.

"I came here to get some minutes and play," Cloutier told the Rockford Register Star. "I would have liked to have played more minutes. I've been known for being a guy who sticks up for himself. It's hard to change that part of my game. At the same time, it was a selfish play on my part because I did come here to play and took myself out of the game."


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