Who are the Manitoba Moose?
The Moose are the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. They finished #1 in the North division, Western Conference, and the AHL. They play their home games in the 15,015 seat MTS Centre in downtown Winnipeg. And they are expecting sellouts for the first 2 games in the series.
How did they get here?
As mentioned they entered the playoffs as the #1 overall seed in the AHL. They actually started the playoffs on a low note losing game 1 against Toronto and then they lost game 3 before winning their next 10 playoff games.
They played against #3 seed Grand Rapids in the North division final and the Griffins did not put up too much of a fight as the Moose swept the series 4 games to none. While all the games were close the Griffins couldn't quite pull out a victory.
Next up were the Houston Aeros who looked like they were going to go the way of the Griffins before pulling out 2 overtime victories in games 4 and 5. But in the end they too were no match for the Moose as Manitoba won in 6.
A couple postseason facts for you....
- They are 12-4 in the postseason
- They are 7-1 at home
- They are 5-3 on the road
- 9 of their 16 games have been decided by 1 goal
- They are 5-4 in 1 goal games
- Have NOT shutout an opposing team in the postseason
- They are 0-3 in overtime
Very similar to Hershey statistically. Both teams have gone 12-4 to date. Both teams are 7-1 at home and 5-3 on the road. Both teams have scored52 goals in the playoffs. One of the few differences is that Hershey has allowed 35 goals to Manitoba's 33...not much of a difference.
The Moose are 6th in power play percentage at 19% and 3rd in penalty killing at 87.3%.
They have 15 different goal scorers and all but 2 of them have scored more than 1 goal.
Cory Schneider was the AHL's goaltender of the year after going 28-10-1 with a .928 save percentage during the regular season. So he is definitely no slouch.
During the postseason he is 12-3 (got pulled in game 4 of Houston series after giving up 3 goals int he first period) with a .924 save percentage and a 2.03 goals against average.
Schneider is good. He is the #2 prospect in the Canucks organization according to Hockey's Future. He can win a series on his own if needed. He is actually a bigger goalie than Tuukka Rask of the Bruins. They are both 6'2" but Schneider is a good 25lbs heavier (weighing 195) than Rask.
Keep your eye on Schneider because his play will make or break this series. He hasn't faced an offensive team as prolific as the Bears this postseason.
6 Players to Watch:
- C Jason Krog (10) - He was with the Chicago Wolves last season and won the Calder Cup and was named playoff MVP. He was the team leader with 86 points in the regular season and is the team leader in the postseason with 18 points in 16 games.
- LW Jason Jaffray (15) - He is second on the team with 14 points in the playoffs. (6 goals and 8 assists)
- RW Michael Grabner (40) - Has really upped his production so far this postseason and is averaging almost a point a game with 7 goals and 5 assists in 14 playoff games. Also the team leader with 3 power play goals.
- D Nolan Baumgartner (5) - One of the top defensemen in the league he has not been an offensive force in the postseason but he is solid.
- C Cody Hodgson (18) - The #1 prospect in the Canucks organization he had 92 points in 53 regular season games and 31 points in 21 playoff games for his junior team. Has only played 6 games in the AHL and has 1 goal and 2 assists so far.
- C Alexandre Bolduc (49) - 5 goals and 4 assists in 10 games including 2 shorthanded goals. Has not played in a few games...injured? Not sure but if he plays watch out in the offensive end.
Saturday morning I will have my game preview along with my pick. Be sure to check it out. I am absolutely psyched for the games to start.
LET'S GO BEARS!!!!