About last night: that didn’t go to plan. The Milwaukee Admirals lost 4-1 to the Chicago Wolves on the road. While the Wolves winning at the Allstate Arena is nothing new, now having won eleven straight games on home ice, the method in which the Admirals was also depressingly nothing new. The Admirals continue to shoot themselves in the foot during games which stunts positive momentum swings and forces them to rally from behind. The Admirals can’t afford to do that at all these next two games. The Manitoba Moose are dangerous enough on their own without any added help.
The Moose enter this game with a record of 30-10-3-2 (65 points, 0.722 points percentage). That record has them leading the Central Division and Western Conference standings. The only team in the entire league with a better record are the Toronto Marlies (0.744). The Moose arrive to Milwaukee after defeating the Rockford IceHogs at the BMO Harris Bank Center in overtime 4-3 to extend their winning streak to four games.
Tonight and Tuesday night will be the fourth and fifth meetings of the season between these two. The Moose have gone 2-0-0-1 with their lone defeat being a 4-3 shootout loss back at Bell MTS Place. Their lone trip into Milwaukee came back on 11/25/17 when Eric Comrie stopped all 30 shots in a 3-0 shutout.
Comrie worked in last night’s overtime win over the IceHogs. He stopped 37/40 shots on goal in the road effort. This season he has a record of 14-7-1-1 in 22 starts with a 2.62 goals against average and 0.917 save percentage. His goaltending partner tonight is Jamie Phillips who made a start against the Admirals back on 12/10/17 in Manitoba. That was his first start of the season in the AHL and only his third appearance overall. He stopped 32/33 shots in a 6-1 win for the Moose.
What has been a huge strength for the Moose all season long has been its incredible offense. The Moose enter this game as the highest scoring team in the AHL having produced 165 goals in 45 games. The next closest team to them, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, are still 10 goals behind in that respect. The Moose back up the offense though by conceding the second fewest amount of goals against in the AHL, as well. They have given up 108 goals on the season. Only the Marlies, who have allowed 87 goals against in 45 games, can say they’re better off.
The leading scorer for the Moose at this point is first-year pro Mason Appleton. The 22-year old Green Bay native has 43 points (16 goals, 27 assists) in 45 games this season. He is followed by last night’s overtime hero Nic Petan who has 40 points (11 goals, 29 assists) in 38 games.
Appleton isn’t the only AHL rookie for the Moose that is doing an incredible job this season. Sami Niku was selected in the seventh round of the 2015 NHL Draft by the Winnipeg Jets after a journey through the JYP system in his native Finland. He made the leap to North America from Finland this season and isn’t just the highest scoring rookie defenseman but is fourth in the league overall: 30 points (8 goals, 22 assists) in 45 games.
What are your expectations for tonight’s game? Will the Manitoba Moose provide the Milwaukee Admirals a threat great enough for them to snap out of their funk tonight? What can the Admirals do to slow down the Moose that so many teams have struggled to do?
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