The Rockford IceHogs are going to be a very familiar team to us all in a week’s time. I feel like we can pretty much say the same of the Manitoba Moose, as well. Including tonight’s game, the Admirals and Moose have matched up in four of the Admirals last nine-games. Luckily, the next time they’ll clash won’t be until February 20th so there will be a bit of a breather on the season series.
The Moose enter tonight’s game with a record of 8-14-1-2 (19 points). Their 0.380 points percentage currently sees them in seventh place of the Central Division just ahead of the Iowa Wild (0.250 points percentage). They’re second to last in the Western Conference standings by, gasp shock awe, the same margin.
Since losing getting obliterated 9-0 against the Toronto Marlies it appears as if the Moose have found their best form of the season. They have a four-game points streak going 3-0-0-1 which includes a win and shootout loss against the Admirals in Manitoba last weekend.
Their response to the shootout loss against the Admirals was achieving a game where they scored more than 3 goals in a contest for the first time all-season. They won 5-1 over the San Antonio Rampage and came out the next night and beat the Rampage again by the final score of 3-2.
In those two games after playing the Admirals: their power-play was 57.1% (4/7), penalty kill 81.8% (9/11), they outshot their opponent 62-55, scored 5 goals in the third period alone, and in his first two-games with the team since being reassigned from the Winnipeg Jets forward Adam Lowry had a team high 8 shots.
Leading the offensive charge for the Moose is defenseman Brenden Kichton who has recorded 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists). He is followed closely by: J.C. Lipon, 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists)… and Chase De Leo, 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists).
I said it last time we faced the Moose that Eric Comrie has been the workhorse in net since Connor Hellebuyck was recalled by the Jets in late-November. So, let me put it in even bigger perspective. Comrie has played 598:39 of total ice time out of a possible 665 minutes in the last 11 games played for the Moose. That’s a whopping 89.9%. More perspective: Marek Mazanec has made the most starts for the Admirals in the last 11 games and has logged 352:25 minutes from a possible 670 total minutes (52.6%). Sometimes not over-working your goaltender is a good thing. Just a thought.
Expectations for tonight’s game? How important is it for the Admirals to win tonight knowing the tough road ahead for the rest of this month?