A look forwardBy: Chris White | Published: December 8th 2015
The American Hockey League season is a long and winding road made up of 76 games.
It starts in October before winter sets in and doesn’t end until April when spring shows up to help put winter in the rear-view mirror.
Along the way there are ups and downs, bright spots and sore spots. And, ideally, a chance to play playoff hockey with prospects who are closer to being NHL’ers than when the season started.
The Manitoba Moose are growing and rolling with the punches so far this season, and while their record isn’t what they’d like it to be there’s a feeling progress is being made both as a team and with individual players.
A key part of the journey of any AHL season is the schedule; if for no other reason than the simple fact it charts the path a club follows over the course of the season.
For the Moose that path taken them away from home for nearly two full weeks, but now they’re back in town and will be for much of the foreseeable future.
That’s because after a grueling six-game trek that saw them go one-and-five after stops in Cleveland, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Toronto; they’re now getting set to play 12 of their next 14 at MTS Centre.
Yeah, it’s a matter of fact that long stretches on the road have to be off-set by extended spells at home but in the “what have you done for me lately” world of pro hockey it’s notable that the bulk of what’s straight ahead doesn’t involve flights, hotels, and enemy rinks.
Starting this weekend (December 12th and 13th versus Milwaukee) the Moose are home for four games then out for just two on the road, before coming back into town for a season-high eight in-a-row.
It’s a chance for some quality practice time for this young team, and an opportunity to really made MTS Centre home as they look to climb back into consideration for a playoff place.
So far the boys have only played eight at home (2-5-1, but winners of two of their last three) while competing in 13 on the road.
This spell of home cooking will also provide some variety when it comes to opponents, something that may be most interesting to you – the fan.
The two series before the holiday break feature teams that haven’t played at MTS Centre this season in the Milwaukee Admirals and San Antonio Rampage.
Then, in what promises to be a great atmosphere on New Year’s Eve, the Moose welcome in the Iowa Wild – another squad yet to skate downtown this season.
After Iowa, its’ fellow first-time arrivals (in the 2.0 era) in Grand Rapids and Toronto before Lake Erie shows up for its second visit to Winnipeg this campaign.
And who knows, if things go as planned the Moose will be stringing wins together by the time the Monsters hit town and be in a position to exact revenge for a sweep by the Cleveland-based team here earlier this season.
Oh, I know, after all that time at home the Moose pack up and leave for their longest road trip of the season. It’s a whopping eight gamer that’s sure to test in many ways, but hey one stretch at a time.
After all, that’s the best way to navigate a long and winding road isn’t it?
The Manitoba Moose host the Milwaukee Admirals Saturday, December 12th at 7pm. Tickets are available at moosehockey.com/tickets
Tune in to moosehockey.com or TSN 1290 for complete coverage starting with the pre-game show at 6:45pm.
— Mitch Peacock – MooseHockey.com