Moose open season in Grand Rapids
The Manitoba Moose kick off their 2017-18 season Friday night at 6 p.m. CST in the first of a two-game weekend series against the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Moose played well to end off the year, going 4-1-1-0 in their last six games. The team’s youth was a focus in 2016-17, allowing for some young stars to assert themselves in the lineup. Kyle Connor (25G, 19A) was named the team’s rookie and player of the year, while Jack Roslovic led the team in scoring (13G, 35A). Both players have a chance to improve on their numbers from last year and take the AHL by storm in 2017-18.
The Moose went 1-2-1 against the Calder Cup Champions last year. The two teams wound up at opposite ends of the Central Division standings, with Grand Rapids finishing in second place (47-23-1-5), while Manitoba finished in seventh (29-37-5-5). They’ll quickly become familiar with one another this season, as the games on Friday and Saturday are just the first of eight meetings this campaign.
Manitoba’s roster has undergone a shift this off-season, bringing in some more experienced AHL players like Buddy Robinson, Brody Sutter, and Cam Schilling. Robinson has played 278 AHL games (59G, 64A), Sutter has 230 games (41G, 51A), while Schilling sits at 355 (26G, 72A). The other thing the two forwards have in common is size, with Robinson measuring 6’6” and Sutter coming in at 6’5”.
IN THE NET
Eric Comrie returns for his third season as the Moose’s starting goalie. Having played 97 games in the last two seasons, the former AHL All-Star is poised to continue his progression. Comrie will share the net with Michael Hutchinson, a veteran of the AHL who excelled in the 2014 Calder Cup playoffs with the St. John’s IceCaps. In 111 AHL games he posted a .917 save percentage and a 2.51 GAA.
THE BOOK ON THE GRIFFINS
|The Griffins’ leading scorers Matt Lorito (22G, 34A) and Ben Street (25G, 30A) are back with the club this season, as is former Winnipeg Jet Eric Tangradi playing his third season with the club (45G, 55A in 126 games). In goal, Grand Rapids has one of the most experienced tandems in the AHL, with Jared Coreau (.920 SV%, 2.41 GAA in 110 games) and Tom McCollum (.907 SV%, 2.73 GAA in 244 games.) The team is a Calder Cup contender again this season and should be a strong early season challenge for the Moose.
After the two games in Grand Rapids, the Moose’s home opener take place Friday, October 13th against the Cleveland Monsters at 7 p.m. CST. For tickets to all Manitoba Moose home games, visit: moosehockey.com/tickets. Make sure you’re there on time to get your L.E.D. bracelet.