Trying for a Split in IowaBy: Daniel Fink | Published: October 7th 2018
The Manitoba Moose are in Des Moines, Iowa for their second matchup of the weekend against the Iowa Wild. Tune in to the contest through the Moose App, moosehockey.com/listenlive or take advantage of this weekend’s free preview of AHLTV, the AHL’s new streaming service.
Opening Night didn’t go the way the Moose wanted. Heading into the third period tied 1-1 with the Wild, Manitoba had a chance to grab an opening night victory against a division rival. Unfortunately for the team in blue, Iowa went on to score three times in the final frame and down the Moose 4-1.
Despite the loss, it was a chance for the Moose to get a feel for their game against a true opponent rather than in practice or the club’s intersquad game. For forward Dennis Everberg, who was playing his first game in antlers, there was a lot to take in.
“Opening night… that’s what it felt like too. We didn’t have any preseason games with the Moose, and I would say it felt it was all new with the season starting.”
The veteran of nearly 400 games across the hockey world knows having everything in place doesn’t happen overnight. Especially with so many new faces, in the lineup.
“When you look at game 30, you go on the ice and everything is in place. We’re getting there, to our play-style and how we are supposed to act on the ice.”
Including Everberg, a total of seven players made their regular season debut for the Moose on Friday: Logan Stanley, Felix Girard, Emile Poirier, Seth Griffith, Skyler McKenzie and Tye McGinn. Both Stanley and McKenzie were making their regular season professional debuts. McKenzie previously had experience with the Moose in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs.
With 26 players on the roster, and some opening night bumps and bruises from a physical game against the Wild, there’s a good chance of some lineup changes for today’s rematch. Forwards Nic Kerdiles, Kristian Reichel and Kale Kessy did not dress for Friday’s tilt, while defenders Charles-David Beaudoin, Jacob Cederholm and Luke Green weren’t in the opening lineup. Having all those available skaters certainly presents Pascal Vincent and his coaching staff with options.
C.J. Suess scored the lone Moose goal on opening night, carrying over momentum from a strong preseason with the Winnipeg Jets. JC Lipon picked up one of the helpers, the 110th of his career, and needs just one more assist to move into a tie with Brenden Kichton, Brandon Reid and Jimmy Roy for sixth on the franchise’s all-time assist leaderboard. Tucker Poolman also nabbed an assist and has points in each of his past four AHL games, going back to 2017-18.
One specific area the Moose will be looking for more success is special teams. Manitoba didn’t cash in on seven power play opportunities, and surrendered a shorthanded goal, on Friday. The penalty kill took care of the first two Iowa power plays, but surrendered an insurance goal to Landon Ferraro late in the third. Special teams were a strength of the Moose throughout the 2017-18 season as the power play (20.8%) ranked second and penalty kill (83.1%) sat 15th in the league.
The Moose return home following today’s game and will have the week to prepare for Friday’s Home Opener against the Belleville Senators (7 p.m. CT). Tickets for the 2018 Home Opener are available at moosehockey.com/tickets.