PREVIEW: The New Season Starts in IowaBy: Colin Peterson | Published: October 5th 2018
Oct. 5, 2018 at IOWA WILD
After a strong 2017-18 campaign, the Manitoba Moose start off the 2018-19 season on the road in Iowa where they face the Wild. You can catch tonight’s match-up on TSN 1290, moosehockey.com/listenlive/, or on the brand new AHLTV. As a bonus, to celebrate the launch of the AHL’s new streaming platform, you can watch Friday and Sunday’s Moose games for free by visiting watchtheahl.com.
When we last saw the Moose, they were eliminated by the Rockford IceHogs in the Central Division Finals of the Calder Cup Playoffs. Altogether, the 2017-18 Moose were a success, finishing third in the Central with a record of 42-26-4-4, and making the playoffs for the first time since returning to Winnipeg. The Iowa Wild finished in fifth place in the Central at 33-27-10-6, narrowly missing a playoff birth of their own.
These two clubs know each other well, evenly splitting their eight meetings last season. Sami Niku was lethal in those match-ups scoring 10 points (4G, 6A), while Sam Anas was the most dangerous Wild player with 10 points (3G, 7A) of his own. In 2016-17 the Moose similarly started off their season in Iowa for two games, winning the first 3-1 before falling 3-2 in a shootout the following night. In 24 meetings, Manitoba holds a record of 8-13-1-2 against the Minnesota Wild’s AHL affiliate.
With off-season changes come some new faces in Manitoba’s line-up. Altogether, there are 11 players on the roster who have yet to wear a Moose jersey. One of the newcomers, centre Felix Girard, says that the transition to the new franchise has been comfortable.
“It’s been great. I think this organization is well structured, and you can see that everybody is on the same page.”
The team’s Head Coach Pascal Vincent has been impressed with the group’s energy as a whole.
“I really like it. I like the way we move, I like the new guys that we brought in. There’s a lot of new stuff for them, but they’re asking a lot of good questions and I like the synergy between the players on the team.”
While they may be new to the Moose, many of the players added are very familiar with the AHL. Alongside Girard, Manitoba brought in 1381 AHL regular season games worth of experience in Tye McGinn, Emile Poirier, Seth Griffith, Nicolas Kerdiles, Dennis Everberg, and Ken Appleby.
The Moose roster also features seven first-year players with goaltender Mikhail Berdin, defencemen Logan Stanley, Jacob Cederholm, and Luke Green, as well as forwards Skyler McKenzie, Kristian Reichel, and C.J. Suess. Of those players, McKenzie, Suess and Cederholm all made their debuts near the end of last season, while Stanley and Berdin were around the team during their playoff run. According to Suess, that familiarity with the team and league was a big help this summer.
“It was big. It’s all about the transition time and I feel like that definitely helped ease my way into it. And, you know, it’s a good team at the end of the year last year with good players, and I feel like they took me under their wing and really showed me a couple things.”
Tonight’s puck drop is 7 p.m. CT on TSN 1290, AHLTV, and moosehockey.com/listenlive/.