PREVIEW: Game 4, Fighting to Stay Alive
The Manitoba Moose (3-5) are facing elimination in Game 4 against the Rockford IceHogs (6-0) tonight. The Moose lost in Rockford for the first time this season on in Game 3 on Wednesday. They’ll have to rediscover their previous road success if they’re going to extend the Central Division Finals. You can tune in to today’s game on TSN 1290, moosehockey.com/listenlive/ and the Moose App. The pre-game show gets going at 6:45 p.m. (CT), 15 minutes before puck drop with play-by-play announcer Mitch Peacock calling all the action.
SEASON ON THE LINE
The Moose are facing elimination for the second time in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs. Their previous do-or-die game came on April 30 when the Moose captured a 5-1 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins in Game 5 of the Central Division Semi-Finals. The previous time the Moose faced the possibility of being swept was in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs as the St. John’s IceCaps. The IceCaps trailed Norfolk 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals, and fell by a 4-0 score to end the series. All-time, the Moose are 1-5 when facing a sweep in AHL/IHL playoff action. Their win came in 2002 against the Bridgeport SoundTigers to force the fourth game of a best-of-five series.
Julian Melchiori scored the lone Moose goal on Wednesday to record his first career Calder Cup Playoffs goal. Melchiori has four points (1G, 3A) in six games this post-season. It’s the Richmond Hill, Ont. product’s first run through the Calder Cup Playoffs after the veteran defender wasn’t in the lineup for two previous trips to the post-season with St. John’s.
ON THE BOARD FIRST
The first three games of the Central Division Finals have followed a similar pattern with the Moose opening the scoring, followed by four straight goals by the IceHogs (including a power play goal and an empty net goal). The Moose have scored the first goal in six of their eight playoff games and hold a 2-4 record in those contests. Manitoba is the only team in the playoffs with a sub-.500 record when scoring first (0.333). League-wide, the team scoring first holds a 31-15 record (0.674) in the playoffs. Rockford has only scored the first goal of the game in one of six games in the playoffs.
Defenceman Charles-David Beaudoin made his Calder Cup Playoffs debut on Wednesday after missing 16 regular season and playoff games due to injury. Beaudoin had last suited up on March 24 against the Stockton Heat. The rookie defender posted eight points (1G, 7A) and a plus-six rating in 36 games for the Moose this season. He is the 20th player on the Moose roster to make his Calder Cup Playoffs debut this post-season.
With a victory, the Moose will force a fifth game on Saturday night, at 6 p.m. (CT). That game will be available on moosehockey.com/listenlive/, and the Moose App.