PREVIEW: Game 1, Go Time with the IceHogs
The Manitoba Moose (3-2) begin the Central Division Finals tonight against the Rockford IceHogs (3-0) at Bell MTS Place. Manitoba beat Grand Rapids in the winner-take-all Game 5 on Monday by a score of 5-1. It was a big night for the line of Brendan Lemieux (1G, 2 A), Buddy Robinson (2A), and Patrice Cormier (1G). Defenceman Cameron Schilling scored the game-winner with 13 seconds left in the second period. Tickets are still available for tonight’s game at moosehockey.com/tickets/ with puck drop at 7 p.m. (CT).
Manitoba’s veterans stepped up when the team needed them the most. In Game 5, the first three of Manitoba’s five goals were scored by players with over 300 games of AHL regular season experience with Patrice Cormier, Cameron Schilling and Mike Sgarbossa did the damage. Sgarbossa, Schilling and Julian Melchiori also picked up assists, while Buddy Robinson had two primary helpers in the victory.
LEADING THE WAY
Forward Chase De Leo led the Moose with seven points (2G, 5A) in five games against the Griffins in the Central Division Semi-Finals. De Leo was fourth among all AHL skaters in playoff scoring after round one. The La Mirada, Cal. native matched a pair of franchise records in Game 3 with three assists and four points. The last time a player in the organization reached both of those marks was in 2014 when Andrew Gordon posted four points in a game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and three assists against Albany with the IceCaps.
USING THE REST
Manitoba has found success lately when coming into a game well rested. Including the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, the Moose are 6-2-0-0 in their last eight games coming off more than two days without a game. That dates back to Feb. 2 when Manitoba beat the IceHogs 4-3 on an overtime winner from Nic Petan.
The Manitoba Moose outscored Grand Rapids 8-2 in the third period throughout the first round. The final frame could be a factor again in the Central Division Finals as Rockford has scored only once in the third in three games against Chicago. The IceHogs have been most dangerous in the second period when they notched six goals and only gave up one against the Wolves.
Brendan Lemieux led the Moose with six points (2G, 4A) in three gamesagainst the IceHogs this season. The Denver, Col. native was one of six Moose players to contribute multiple goals against Rockford. JC Lipon had three goals against Chicago’s AHL affiliate, and they all came in the first meeting of the year, on Nov. 28. The two forwards also combined for 273 penalty minutes in the regular season.
There’s more Calder Cup playoff action on tap for Saturday afternoon, with Game 2 between Manitoba and Rockford at 4 p.m. Head to moosehockey.com/tickets/ and come down to Bell MTS Place to cheer on the Moose before watching the Winnipeg Jets take on the Predators at 8:30 p.m. (CT) in Nashville.