Heat's on wannabe Moose in pre-season tilt

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:29 PM ET

It was the first test for the Manitoba Moose on Friday night in Abbotsford.

"Some guys passed, and some guys failed," head coach Scott Arniel said yesterday from the B.C. city. "That's what exhibition games are for."

The expansion Abbotsford Heat downed the Moose 5-2 in the pre-season opener for both squads. They meet again tonight at Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre in the pre-season finale for both.

In other words, there isn't a lot of time for the players on the bubble to make an impression on Arniel before Friday night's season-opener against the Houston Aeros.

Arniel said more than a few hopefuls were not at their best in Friday's setback.

"Obviously early on in the year, in the first game, there's a little apprehension and guys are a little unsure," Arniel said. "I felt we got better as the game went on."

The Heat, who iced a lineup that will be similar to their opening-night roster, took a 3-0 first-period lead on a pair of goals from Carson Germyn, one of them shorthanded, and another from Swedish sensation Mikael Backlund.

Germyn buried his hat-trick tally in the second period, and David Van Der Gulik made it 5-0 early in the third period.

Derek LeBlanc and Dan Gendur replied for the Moose in the third period.

Adam Munro started in net and allowed four goals. Winnipeg native Rejean Beauchemin replaced him midway through the second.

Asked whose stock rose in Friday's game, Arniel mentioned forwards LeBlanc and John Swanson, and defenceman Andrew Thomas.

Considering the parent Vancouver Canucks will send at least 10 more players down to the farm in the next few days, there aren't many roster spots up for grabs.

Then again, the Moose used 51 players last season, so everyone on the pre-season roster could end up getting playing time in Winnipeg this winter.

"This is where we get a good idea of who fits into our style of play," Arniel said. "If they played bad (Friday) night and they don't play (today), it doesn't mean they're not call-up guys."

Arniel will incorporate more veterans into tonight's clash, since it will be their only game action before Friday's home-opener. That group includes Mike Keane, Pierre-Cedric Labrie and Travis Ramsey.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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