Manitoba Moose Weekly Wrap Up
The Manitoba Moose entered this weekend sitting in 2nd place in the AHL with a 4-0-1 record and were looking to continue their strong play versus their division rival, the Iowa Wild. The teams will lock horns for games on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, in a match-up featuring teams at the opposite end of the standings.
The Minnesota Wild's farm team is still looking for their first win of the season, sitting with a 0-2-2 record that includes two shoot-out losses. Iowa's visit brings back a familiar face in former 2nd round Winnipeg draft pick Nic Petan to go along with their leading scorer (Sammy Walker - 3 pts). The Wild have a few of their better prospects playing in the AHL, with goalie Jesper Wallstedt (1st/2021), LW Adam Beckman (3rd/2019), Manitoban d-man Daemon Hunt (3rd/2020), and forward Michael Milne (3rd/2022).
The Manitoba Moose come into the weekend on a four game winning streak and will continue with the pattern of cycling in their 14 main forwards. To date, only Mikey Eyssimont, Henri Nikkanen, and Kristian Reichel have played in all 5 games, so guess it makes some sense that Nikkanen & Reichel will be in street clothes on Saturday afternoon.
**seems to be a late lineup change with Lambert coming out due to an illness and 15th forward Greg Meireles getting his 1st game of the season.***
On defense, the Winnipeg Jets' AHL affiliate has only swapped their 6th d-man in & out of the lineup, with Dean Stewart dressing for 2 games and Tyrel Bauer suiting up for 3 (set to play again today). Oskari Salminen will get his 4th start, putting his 3-0-0 record, 1.67 GAA, and .939 save % on the line (tied for 4th in AHL in GAA).
The Moose currently have 5 skaters averaging at least a point per game: Jansen Harkins (7 pts in 4 gm), Eyssimont (6 in 5), Kevin Stenlund (5 in 4), Alex Limoges (5 in 4), & Declan Chisholm (5 in 5). (Harks is tied for 22nd in AHL scoring at this point)
The Jets best prospects are also contributing offensively, with Nikkanen (4 pts in 5 gm), Brad Lambert & Daniel Torgersson (3 in 4), Ville Heinola (3 in 5), and Chaz Lucius (2 in 4). Defensemen Heinola and Leon Gawanke are amongst the +/- leaders on the team, with +8 and +4 respectively (Ville is 3rd in the AHL in +/-).
Manitoba entered the game with the 4th best PP and 2nd best PK in the AHL, so it should be interesting to see if their special teams impact today's match.
GAME 1: Iowa Wild (0-2-2) @ Manitoba Moose (4-0-1) Recap:
Moose Starting Lines: (italics = players on contract w/ Manitoba)
Manitoba started out well in the opening game, outshooting Iowa 13 to 8 in the opening period. Five minutes in, a Torgersson pass was intercepted at the Wild's blueline & led to a 2 on 1 for Iowa. The puck carrier opted for a shot and put it in a near perfect spot, right between the glove & helmet (by the elbow) and Salminen got a good chunk of the puck, but it still popped up and back into the net. The Moose were able to tie it up late in the 1st period with a PP goal, when Stenlund buried the rebound of a Heinola shot that hit iron.
A defensive turnover led to an early 2nd period goal for the Wild, who then scored back-to-back PP goals on the Moose's great PK. Harkins added his 5th goal of the year in the first half of the 3rd, but Manitoba wasn't able to close the gap, despite throwing 35 shots at the Wild's Zane McIntyre. Iowa gives the Moose their first regulation loss of the season, with a 5 to 2 Wild victory.
IA Goal: Swaney (3) unassisted
MB Goal: Stenlund (3) from Heinola (4) & Chisholm (4) - Power Play
IA Goal: Fogarty (1) from Hicketts (2) & Johansson (2)
IA Goal: Walker (3) from Beckman (1) & Chaffee (1) - Power Play
IA Goal: Walker (3) from Hicketts (3) & Chaffee (2) - Power Play
MB Goal: Harkins (5) from Eyssimont (5)
IA Goal: Beckman (2) unassisted - Empty Net
- Oskari Salminen's save percentage wasn't good in this one (.789) as he only faced 19 shots. Three of the goals against were from prime slot real estate (right between the face-off circles) and the other was a re-direction from just in front of the goal. So, no bad goals against, but he was probably 5 of 9 on high danger shots on the night, which can be improved upon.
- I kind of lost a bit of focus in the 3rd period and completely missed the Jansen Harkins' tally, so can't provide any description, but the guy continues to pile up points in the AHL. 8 pts in 5 games on the season after the loss to the Wild.
- Shot leaders for the game were Mikey Eyssimont (8), Leon Gawanke (5), and Kevin Stenlund (4).
- The Moose PP had plenty of opportunities in this game, but only managed 1 goal on 7 attempts. The PK ended up 2 for 4, but were able to kill off a long 5 on 3.
- Rough game for the 1st forward and defensive units, as they all ended up -2 on the night.
Coach Morrison and the team were looking to get back to winning ways on Sunday in front of a costumed crowd in Winnipeg. Roster changes included Limoges & Meireles coming out, Reichel & Nikkanen getting in, Holm to start in net, and the news that Lambert is still sick. With the Wild's Wallstedt still injured, Manitoba would once again face McIntrye.
Moose Starting Lines: (italics = players on contract w/ Manitoba)
GAME 2: Iowa Wild (1-2-2) @ Manitoba Moose (4-1-1) Recap:
The Moose came out determined to put pressure on the Wild goaltender, sending 15 shots his way in the opening period. Manitoba got a bad break early on when Reichel cleanly won a defensive zone face-off right back through Holm's legs to give Iowa an early 1-0 lead. Just before the period ended, one of the Moose's leaders, Maier, ended up pocketing his 1st goal of the season to tie the game.
Despite a great effort by the Wild, outshooting the Moose 25 to 15 in the final 2 periods, they couldn't get back into the lead. The Jets AHL team took advantage of a PP in the middle of the 2nd to take the lead and then followed that up with another goal on the next shift (Maier's 2nd). Another PP goal in the 3rd period helped Manitoba go 2 for 4 on the night and gave them a 5 to 1 victory to split the weekend series.
IA Goal: O'Leary (1) unassisted
MB Goal: Maier (1) from Gawanke (2)
MB Goal: Gawanke (2) from Harkins (4) & Eyssimont (6) - Power Play
MB Goal: Maier (2) from Sautner (2) & Polei (2)
MB Goal: Bongiovanni (2) from Chisholm (5) & Lucius (2) - Power Play
- A great game by Arvid Holm in this one, with the only goal against coming off his teammate's stick. He turned aside 33 shots, helping to raise his save % to .927. Made a few acrobatic highlight reel saves to shut down Iowa's offense. Holm and Oskari Salminen (.911) are 14th and 24th in the AHL in save percentage after this weekend's games. Salminen has the better GAA (2.27) than Holm (2.65), good enough for 16th and 22nd in the minors.
- Solid outings by Cole Maier (2 goals) and Leon Gawanke (goal/assist), both at the top of the shot leaders for the game.
- Jansen Harkins, Mikey Eyssimont, and Declan Chisholm continue to get their names on scoresheets, with them adding their 9th, 8th, & 7th points respectively. Kevin Stenlund (6 pts) and Alex Limoges (5 pts) are the other two Moose players averaging at least a point per game, though Brad Lambert is close with 3 in 4, Maier with 5 in 6, and Henri Nikkanen with 4 in 6 (Nikkanen is tied for 17th in rookie scoring).
- With Ville Heinola quarterbacking one PP unit and Chisholm/Gawanke the other, Manitoba has excelled early on this season with 8 PPG for a 28.6% success rate. Tied for 4th in the AHL. Nice snipe by Wyatt Bongiovanni on the 2nd PP goal.
- The PK units have performed just as well, with a 90.9% success rate after allowing only 3 PP goals against, while scoring 2 short-handed.
- UP NEXT: The Central Division's 1st place team (Manitoba Moose) will host the 2nd place team (Texas Stars) for a 2 game set this upcoming weekend.