Preview: On the Road AgainBy: Colin Peterson | Published: January 23rd 2019
Jan. 23, 2019 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS
The Manitoba Moose (19-18-2-1) renew their rivalry with the Grand Rapids Griffins (23-13-3-4) tonight at Van Andel Arena. It’s the start of a three-game road trip that leads the club into the AHL All-Star break. Tonight’s game will be available on TSN 1290, moosehockey.com/listenlive/, the Moose App, and streaming live on AHLTV.
This meeting with the Griffins will be the sixth of the season for Manitoba, but only the second away from Bell MTS Place.
In regular season play, the Moose have struggled against the Griffins, going 5-13-3-0 since the return to Winnipeg. The last time these squads faced off was the final two games before the holiday break with Grand Rapids picking up 4-1 and 3-1 wins. The subsequent time off kickstarted Manitoba’s turn around, as they have an 8-2-0-1 record since.
Manitoba’s gameplan tonight will focus on stopping the Griffins’ Chris Terry and finding a way past goaltender Patrik Rybar. In the five contests this season, Terry has scored six times and added two assists. Rybar has played the Moose twice in his rookie season allowing one goal in each game with a 0.963 save percentage across the two matchups.
The Moose know what it’s like to get support from their netminder. Eric Comrie is the reigning CCM/AHL player of the week after winning all four of his starts. Comrie has given the team a chance to win all season, stopping 92.3 per cent of the shots he’s faced.
Defenceman Cameron Schilling says the biggest thing the team gets from their netminders is confidence.
“When you have a good, solid goalie back there, and you can give up chances and they’re going to bail you out, I think that gives everybody confidence down the lineup to make plays and try to score. If you’re letting in a lot of goals or your defence isn’t as good, I think it tightens you up a little more offensively.”
JC Lipon played in three of the games against Grand Rapids this season, registering three points (1G, 2A). The return of Lipon, and fellow forward Seth Griffith, has largely been attributed as one of the driving forces behind Manitoba’s resurgence. Griffith is riding a six-game point streak that encompassed the entirety of the home stand to the tune of nine total points (1G, 8A).
Schilling explained the difference Lipon and Griffith players make for the Moose.
“Both those guys bring completely different games, but they’re just as much important to our team and our team’s success… It kind of throws everybody off. But when you have everybody in their right spot at the right time. It just lets everybody worry about their own game and do what they do best. That’s how we’re going to win games.”
The next stop for the Moose is Rockford, where they’ll take on the IceHogs (Jan. 25) before wrapping up the pre All-Star schedule in Milwaukee against the Admirals (Jan. 24). You can keep up with the Moose while they’re on the road on social media or moosehockey.com.