The Manitoba Moose (28-36-5-5) look to spoil Cleveland’s playoff chances as they open their final two-game set of the season in Ohio against the Monsters (38-28-4-4) at 6 p.m. CT.
The Moose wrapped up the home portion of their schedule last Sunday (Apr. 9) with a 4-3 win over the Tucson Roadrunners – giving Manitoba points in four straight games. Francis Beauvillier got the Moose scoring started while Darren Kramer, Ryan Olsen and JC Lipon also added tallies. Eric Comrie made 28 saves for his 18th win of the season while also picking up his first career AHL assist on Olsen’s goal.
Coming into today’s matchup, the Moose have a solid 3-1-0-2 record versus the defending Calder Cup champions. Their last matchup on Feb. 12 saw the Moose come away with a narrow 2-1 shootout victory in the Buckeye State. Dan DeSalvo had the clincher while Scott Kosmachuk scored in regulation.
Playing in Front
Picking up seven of a possible eight points in four games last week, the Moose did not trail for any amount of game time during those four contests. Going 3-0-1-0 against Grand Rapids and Tucson, Manitoba improved its record to 19-13-4-2 when scoring the first goal. The Moose entered the third period with the lead in three of those games, winning all three. Manitoba is 23-1-1-1 when leading after two periods of play.
Career High for Olsen
Ryan Olsen’s game winning goal on Sunday was his seventh marker of his season, setting a new career high for the third-year pro. The Delta, BC native scored most of his goals at MTS Centre, with six of seven coming on home ice. Olsen has 11 points (7G, 4A) in 56 games, two points off his 65-game career- high total from last season.
The Monsters come into this series with their playoff lives on the line as they sit fifth in the Central Division and tied in point’s percentage (.568) with the Charlotte Checkers. Both teams have two games remaining this season. Cleveland’s PK has fared well, sitting third in the AHL at 86.2 per cent. Sonny Milano leads the offense with 46 points (18G, 28A) in 61 games. Anton Forsberg is carrying the load between the pipes for Cleveland. Through 49 games, the Swedish netminder has 26 wins and a goal against average of 2.27 and an impressive 0.926 save percentage.
The Moose close out the 2016-17 season tomorrow night with a re-match against the Cleveland Monsters at 6 p.m. CT. Listen to all Manitoba Moose road games on moosehockey.com/listenlive. Tune in 15 minutes before puck drop for the pre-game show with Mitch Peacock.