The Moose issued a 5-1 drubbing to the Grand Rapids Griffins from Van Andel Arena in Michigan Monday evening, and in the process, earned a spot in the Central Division championship round of the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs.
Monday’s game featured five different goal scorers for Manitoba, and a 34 save performance from netminder Eric Comrie.
After exchanging first period goals, the Moose jumped ahead to a 2-1 lead on a Cameron Schilling strike with just 14 seconds remaining in the second period of play. That goal revved the engines of many Manitoban forwards, as the third period was filled with offence.
Michael Sgarbossa and Brendan Lemieux added insurance goals for the Moose in the final frame, before Chase De Leo sealed the deal with an empty-net marker with 3:29 to go in the game.
Manitoba will now begin a best-of-seven series with the Chicago Blackhawks’ affiliate Rockford Icehogs, in the Central Division Finals, beginning Friday. The Moose (42-26-8) went 2-2 in four regular season games against Rockford (40-28-8).
The other Canadian team remaining in the Calder Cup Playoffs, the Toronto Marlies, will square off against Syracuse, Tucson will face Texas, while Lehigh will go up against Charlotte in the three other division final series.
Winnipeg draft pick, defenceman Logan Stanley saw his Ontario Hockey League season come to a close following the Kitchener Rangers’ game seven, double overtime loss to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Monday. This means that the 6-foot-7, 235 pound blueliner could be made available to the Moose for their upcoming round.
With both the Manitoba Moose and the Winnipeg Jets making it to the second round of their league’s respective playoffs, they are just one of two affiliate pairs to accomplish this feat in the 2017-18 season, with the other being the Syracuse Crunch and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Second round action is expected to begin from Bell MTS Place on Friday, May 4th at 7:00 P.M. central time.
By Carter Brooks
Photos by Sam Ianamico