The Manitoba Moose are a carbon copy of their parent club (Winnipeg Jets) as they moved on to the 2nd round of their playoffs.
They are big, fast and pretty darn good just like the Jets.
Rockford hopes to continue to play the underdog role as they look to build off of a decisive 3 game sweep of the Chicago Wolves.
Like the Wolves, the Moose present an even bigger challenge in the 2nd round, even though they were 3rd in the division (vs. the Wolves who were 1st and but only 3 points ahead of Manitoba).
The teams split the season series at 2-games apiece, however, it was Rockford late in the season that got the best of the Moose when it counted down the stretch.
It's time to see if this IceHogs team is for real and it all begins tonight at 7 pm CT.
Here are the stats from the Moose this year:
GF/GA = 253/198
PP = 20.8% (2nd in the league)
PK = 83.1% (15th in the league)
Those stats are from the regular season and we all know the playoffs can be a different story. Case and point, the IceHogs were 25th on the PP (15.6%) in the reg. season and have an outstanding 38.9% clip in the playoffs after their 3 games while the Moose struggled with the man advantage in their 1st round (13.3% / 2nd last in the playoffs).
The Moose were the most penalized team in the 1st round, so that could work out very well for Rockford's scorching hot PP.
With Michael Hutchison up with the Jets, the Moose are comfortable with Eric Comrie leading them from the new out. In 34 regular season games this year, he was 18-13-3, 2.58 GAA, .916 SV% and 2 SO.
Up front, Chase de Leo led the way in the 1st round with 7 points in 5 games vs. Grand Rapids, while Mason Appleton (66 points/76 games), Buddy Robinson (53 pts. / 74 games) and Nic Petan (52 pts. / 52 games) paced them in the regular season.
It should be great to see if the ‘Hogs can withstand the Moose's firepower. They might have something special with Colin Delia as his 3-game performance was impressive as he has taken the reigns from veteran Jeff Glass.
I'm loving the mix of young talent and veteran presence on this team. It's been really fun to watch them take off this year after such a frustrating year last year.
As much as it's fun to this success and think guys like Victor Ejdsell and Matthew Highmore will slide into the Hawks lineup next year, I think it will be more beneficial is A) the Blackhawks didn't have to rely on too many from this current IceHogs team by filling roster spots with signings and trade this offseason so subsequently B) this IceHogs core can continue to grow under Colliton and build some serious chemistry for the future.
I will be checking out the game tonight and hope you guys and gals follow along as well.