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Manitoba Moose Weekly Wrap Up - Three Road Games

Manitoba Moose Weekly Wrap Up

The Manitoba Moose started out their season last weekend with a 2 game set at home versus the Rockford IceHogs, coming out of it with a 1-0-1 record.

This week, the Moose boarded the bus for the first time of the year to hit the road for a 3 game back-to-back-to-back trip. It started out with popping by the "other" Windy City on Friday to face the Carolina Hurricane's AHL team, the Chicago Wolves.

The Wolves are the defending Calder Cup Champions, but have lost some key pieces of that winning squad and started out with a loss to open this season. Chicago has a couple former NHLers on their roster with Brendan Perlini and Ryan Dzingel, but also sport a few promising prospects: 2nd rounders Jack Drury (F), Vasily Ponomarev (F), Pyotr Kochetkov (G) & Jamieson Rees (F), as well as defenseman Anttoni Honka (3rd).

The Manitoba Moose have incredible forward depth and they will use that advantage to overcome 3 games in 3 days. As a result, when Manitoba stepped on the ice in Chicago, some players were left in the pressbox (Brad Lambert & Kevin Stenlund). Alex Limoges was also scheduled to be a healthy scratch, but when the Winnipeg Jets called up Dominic Toninato to cover for Nikolaj Ehlers' injury he was inserted into the lineup.

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GAME 1: Manitoba Moose (1-0-1) @ Chicago Wolves (0-1-0) Recap:

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Moose Starting Lines: (italics = players on contract w/ Manitoba)

Malott/Lucius/Torgersson

Limoges/Harkins/Eyssimont

Polei/Maier/Jones

Bongiovanni/Nikkanen/Reichel

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Heinola/Lundmark

Chisholm/Gawanke

Sautner/Stewart

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Salminen

Holm

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For the third straight game, Manitoba jumped out to a 3 goal lead and it wasn't until the 2nd period that Oskari Salminen allowed his first AHL goal against (87:31 of shutout hockey to start his North American career). The Moose held onto the lead for the rest of the game, ending with a 5 to 2 victory over the division rival Wolves.

1st:

MB Goal: Bongiovanni (1) from Maier (2)

MB Goal: Eyssimont (1) from Heinola (2) & Lundmark (2)

2nd:

MB Goal: Harkins (2) from Limoges (2) & Chisholm (3)

CHI Goal: Honka (1) from Lagesson (1) & Rees (1)

3rd:

MB Goal: Jones (1) from Maier (3) - Short Handed

MB Goal: Nikkanen (1) unassisted - Empty Net

CHI Goal: MacEachern (1) unassisted - Extra Attacker 6 on 5

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Moose Droppings:

  • Oskari Salminen has stopped 49 of 51 shots against in two starts for a .961 save % and 1.00 GAA. Didn't have much of a chance on either goal against. Oskari was a workhorse last season in Finland with Liiga club Jukurit Mikkeli, leading the league with 55 appearances and going 29-14-11 with a 2.07 GAA and a .920 save percentage. He also tied for most shutouts with 9.
  • Manitoba has killed off 15 straight short-handed situations to start the season. Impressive, but giving opponents an average of 5 PPs per game is probably not a great idea. Not only are the Moose shutting down power plays, they have scored 2 SH goals already.
  • Not all the special teams are running smoothly. Only 4 AHL teams have a worse PP percentage than the Moose's 10% (1 for 10). That's one less goal than the PK units.
  • 5 players averaging a point per game or better (Maier, Eyssimont, Chisholm, Harkins, & Stenlund). 6 others with 2 pts in 3 games, including key Winnipeg prospects like Heinola, Lundmark, Torgersson, & Nikkanen.
  • Only 1 player (Sautner) has played in all 3 games, but hasn't registered a point. A total of 12 players have dressed every game, 7 forwards & 5 defensemen.

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After picking up a win in Chi-Town, the Manitoba Moose hopped on the bus to drive north to face the Milwaukee Admirals. The division opponents faced each other 14 times last season over the regular and post-seasons, including a 2-1 series win for the Admirals to knock the Moose out of the playoffs.

The Nashville Predators lost one of last year's AHL starting goalies (Connor Ingram) to the Arizona Coyotes on a waiver claim, but the Admirals still have solid options in veteran Devin Cooley and 2020 1st round draft pick Yaroslav Askarov. Milwaukee has some key veteran forwards in Mark Jankowski, Tommy Novak, & Cole Schneider, plus some high round draft picks: 1st - Phil Tomasino and 2nd - Egor Afanasyev and Luke Evangelista. On defense they have a bunch of late round draft picks skating alongside high scoring AHL veteran Jordan Gross. Schneider just scored his 500th AHL point in Milwaukee's last game, the 97th player in the league's history to do so.

The Manitoba Moose coaching staff decided to sit Chaz Lucius and Daniel Torgersson for their first game of the season, following a fairly ineffective performance last night in Chicago. Hopefully the young prospects will be rested up and ready to go tomorrow in Rockford. Arvid Holm will get his second start of the year and look to rebound from a sub .900 save percentage game in his first game.

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Moose Starting Lines: (italics = players on contract w/ Manitoba)

Limoges/Harkins/Eyssimont

Malott/Stenlund/Lambert

Polei/Maier/Jones

Bongiovanni/Nikkanen/Reichel

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Heinola/Lundmark

Chisholm/Gawanke

Sautner/Bauer

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Holm

Cormier

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GAME 2: Manitoba Moose (2-0-1) @ Milwaukee Admirals (1-1-0) Recap:

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This game saw Manitoba only jump out to a 2 goal lead before Milwaukee made it a single goal lead late in the 2nd period (1st PP goal against in the 18th situation). The teams exchanged goals in the first half of the 3rd before the Moose finally put it away for good (5 to 2). Good to see Jeff Malott get his 1st goal of the season, as one of last year's leading scorers is off to a bit of a slow start and the PP/offense will benefit by him being in top form.

1st:

MB Goal: Chisholm (1) from Harkins (1) & Limoges (3) - Power Play

2nd:

MB Goal: Harkins (3) from Limoges (4)

MIL Goal: Jankowski (1) from Evangelista (1) & Leonard (4) - Power Play

3rd:

MB Goal: Malott (1) from Gawanke (1) & Stenlund (2) - Power Play

MIL Goal: Novak (2) from Gross (3) & Evangelista (2)

MB Goal: Reichel (2) from Sautner (1)

MB Goal: Lambert (2) unassisted - Empty Net

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Moose Droppings:

  • 19 of the 22 players who have been dressed for at least one game accumulated at least 1 point.
  • Arvid Holm had a great bounce back game and made some really good saves, plus at least 2 highway robberies. Stopped a penalty shot. Turned aside 33 of 35 for a .943 save %.
  • The Jansen Harkins' line was pretty dangerous all game, with him and Alex Limoges currently tied for the team lead in points (4) with defenseman Declan Chisholm.
  • In a game where Manitoba finally gave up a PP goal against, their own man advantage unit woke up and went 2 for 3 on the night.
  • For the blueliners, Leon Gawanke and Ville Heinola lead the way in plus/minus with +5 and +4 respectively. Four forwards are also at +4: Cole Maier, Limoges, Henri Nikkanen, & Kristian Reichel.
  • The Manitoba Moose are 2nd in the league in goal differential with +9 (18 GF/9GA) to the Ontario Reign (LA) with +12.

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With 2 road wins under their belts, the Manitoba Moose once again boarded the bus and took the short trip to the west for a match against the Rockford IceHogs on Sunday afternoon. The two AHL Central teams have already split a pair of games in Manitoba, with the IceHogs' OT win over the Moose in season opener being the only blemish on an otherwise perfect start to the season.

Rockford is led by the 17th pick of the 2020 NHL Draft, Lucas Reichel, who was drafted between the Canadiens' Kaiden Guhle and the Devils' Dawson Mercer. The cousin of Manitoba's Kristian Reichel (2G in 4 gms), Lucas has opened up the season with 4 pts in 3 games. They also rely on scoring from AHL veterans David Gust and Brett Seney. Manitoba won't be facing the IceHogs' starter, 23 yr old goaltender Arvid Soderblom, who is coming off a .919 save % in his debut AHL season, since the Chicago Blackhawks called him up.

Coach Morrison opted to send Alex Limoges and Evan Polei from the forward unit and Ty Bauer from the defense to the pressbox. Not officially confirmed at the time of writing this, but it appears that Oskari Salminen will get his 3rd start of the season. Winnipeg's top forward prospects will all be playing this afternoon, with Chaz Lucius, Brad Lambert, & Daniel Torgersson all getting into their 4th game. On defense, the big four prospects will have dressed for all 5 games after today and range between 2 and 4 points, with Declan Chisholm leading the way (1G/3A). Ville Heinola & Leon Gawanke are the shot leaders from the backend with 12 and 10 respectively, though only Gawanke has made the red light go on (1G). Simon Lundmark's 2 assists ties him in points with Heinola & Gawanke.

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Moose Starting Lines: (italics = players on contract w/ Manitoba)

Lambert/Harkins/Eyssimont

Malott/Lucius/Stenlund

Bongiovanni/Maier/Jones

Torgersson/Nikkanen/Reichel

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Heinola/Lundmark

Chisholm/Gawanke

Sautner/Stewart

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Salminen

Holm

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GAME 3: Manitoba Moose (3-0-1) @ Rockford IceHogs (1-2-0) Recap:

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Manitoba entered the game tied for 3rd in winning percentage, despite also being tied for 5th in penalty minutes (2nd in PK kill % @ 95%). The Moose looked like a team playing for the 3rd straight game in the opening period and it cost them early with a 2 on 1 goal against (first time of the season the opponents have scored the first goal). Late in the 1st, Heinola started a breakout to Lambert on the right wing. Lambo skated the puck into the O-zone and while taking a bodycheck, he chipped the puck to a pinching Ville to create a 2 on 1 with Harkins. Heinola opted for the shot, but a pad kicked out the puck...right to Harkins, who scored his 4th of the season.

Manitoba played much better in the 2nd and eventually exploded for 4 goals. The 3rd returned to IceHog domination (14 shots), but they only won the goal battle 2 to 1. Moose continue rolling with a 6 to 3 victory.

1st:

RFD Goal: Seney (2) from L. Reichel (3)

MB Goal: Harkins (4) from Heinola (3) & Lambert (1)

2nd:

MB Goal: Malott (2) from Sautner (2) & Lucius (1)

MB Goal: Nikkanen (2) from Torgersson (2) & K. Reichel (1)

MB Goal: Chisholm (2) from Heinola (4) & Eyssimont (3) - Power Play

MB Goal: Stenlund (2) from Eyssimont (4) & Chisholm (4) - Power Play

3rd:

RFD Goal: Philip (3) from Sikura (1)

MB Goal: Eyssimont (2) unassisted

RFD Goal: Seney (3) from L. Reichel (4) & Clendening (2)

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Moose Droppings:

  • Best game of the year for both Ville Heinola and Brad Lambert. Heinola had 2 assists, 4 shots, and by far the best +/- with a +4. The Finn d-man was active in skating the puck or passing it out of the D-zone, as well as jumping into rushes. Lambert only picked up a helper, but was robbed on a high danger shot and drew a couple penalties with his speed. Also was one of 6 Moose players with a positive plus/minus rating (tied for 2nd at +2).
  • Oskari Salminen once again had a solid outing, with a .903 save % on 31 shots. Manitoba spent very little of the 1st or 3rd periods in the offensive zone, so it was up to the Moose goalie to keep them in the game/keep the lead. Had no chance on the 2 on 1 goal, the second goal was a quick one timer from the high slot through some traffic, and the final marker was from the top of the face-off circle with a clear sight-line. Since his positioning so far has been really good, he makes most saves look fairly easy and did control most of any rebounds given up. Salminen did flash the ability to make the big saves on a few occasions in this game.
  • Kudos to Jansen Harkins for taking his demotion so well and really putting everything into his on-ice performance. Harks contined to be stellar and created a large portion of Manitoba's scoring chances, though he only picked up 1 goal tonight.
  • Mikey Eyssimont had a Gordie Howe hattrick in Rockford, with a goal, 2 assists, & a fight. He lead the team in shots with 5, part of a strong 1st line.
  • The 2nd line of Malott/Lucius/Stenlund played well and each of them got a point (G/A/G), but their creativity led to a handful of non-goal chances.
  • Quick nod to Declan Chisholm, who has played well offensively to start the season. His goal & assist in today's game kept him tied for the team point lead (6) with Eyssimont.
  • While the Moose's record doesn't show that the team misses guys like Johnny Kovacevic (MTL) or Jimmy Oligny (injured), it has become apparent that there is one area where those guys are missed. Through 5 games, guys like Leon Gawanke (2), Jeff Malott, Eyssimont, Kristian Reichel, Nicolas Jones, and Tyrel Bauer have all dropped the gloves in response to questionable hits from their opponents. At this point, probably Evan Polei is the only experienced fighter and it's good to see others step up. Might not want it to happen all that often though, because none except possibly Malott & Bauer are even close to being average at scrapping.
  • Powerplay went 2 for 4 and the PK didn't allow a goal in 3 chances. With the win, Manitoba returns home with 9 out of the first 10 possible points.

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