After a 6-3 win for the Moose over the Stowe Slugs on Friday, Saturday’s game at Snow King Sports and Events Center was an unexpected barnburner. Ultimately, the second game of the series ended in a 12-9 win for the Moose, the highest scoring game of the season so far.

A nail-biting first period saw the visitors from Vermont score four goals in the first six minutes. With three goals scored handily in under three minutes, spirits were low among Moose fans. But a mid-period power-play goal by Jason Reese began an uninterrupted streak of goals for the Moose. Reese played a particularly strong game, scoring five goals and pulling off a natural hat trick in the first period. The period ended with the Moose up 5-4, the teams matching one another with 12 shots on goal.

“We’ve always been slow starters and that’s definitely something we’ve got to fix by the end of the year,” Moose player AJ Sanders said of the team’s shaky start.

Tension ramped up even higher in the second period with a high number of penalties and goals. The first half of the period was once again strong for the Slugs, who scored three uninterrupted goals. Their streak was ended, again, by Reese with a goal just over halfway through the period. Moose player Dakota Richardson followed with a power-play goal just two minutes later. A short-handed goal by Alex Dewitz gave the Moose a one-goal lead in the final five minutes of the period, but it was tied up by the Slugs in the final two minutes. The period ended with an 8-8 tie, two penalties for the Moose and four for the Slugs. The high-scoring first two periods and the neck-and-neck shots on goal left crowds on edge and goalies exhausted.

The game concluded with a third period ruled by the Moose. While the Slugs scored only one final goal midway through the period, the Moose dominated with four goals scored by Dewitz, AJ Sanders, Richardson and Reese. The Slugs made final attempts at catching up in what some fans described as “the longest 30 seconds of all time,” but ultimately the Moose gave their fans a show, scoring their final two goals both in the last minute of the game.

Back in the locker room, the team was understandably exhausted following such a high scoring match. Reese, a Moose-newcomer and former pro, scored five of the team’s 12 goals. Despite his MVP status, Reese credited his teammates for the team’s success.

“With teammates like Dakota and AJ, it’s super easy to play with guys like that,” he said.

Sanders took the game as a lesson. Although the Moose pulled out the win, according to Sanders, there is still work to be done.

“We just need to come out there with a little more fire,” Sanders said.

Coach Bob Carruth was proud of the team’s win, but also saw room for improvement.

“A win’s a win, but it’s bittersweet,” Carruth said. “The thing is, when teams come and play the Moose, they bring their all, and that was a great team from Vermont tonight.”

The Moose are looking forward to a much needed break as they head to Phoenix for a team trip next weekend. The team will be back at it the weekend of Feb. 7 for a series against Holy Cross.

Contact Mariel via sports editor Chance Q. Cook at 732-7065, sports@jhnewsandguide.com.

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