The Moose were back on the ice this morning for a pre-game skate as they prepare to face the Grand Rapids Griffins. All healthy players were present and accounted for when the drills began.
JC Lipon was hurt in the game against the Wolves in Chicago on Friday and did not play on Saturday in Iowa, which is what precipitated the recall of Jimmy Lodge from the Icemen. Today, coach Vincent still didn’t have a timetable for his return as they are still waiting for some answers but did indicate to me that he wasn’t sure “if it was going to be more than one week.” but “not this week for sure”.
Last week at practice on Wednesday Francis Beauvillier left the ice early and was not a player for the Moose in either game this weekend. Coach Vincent indicated today following morning skate that “He skated this morning on his own. Seems alright. But we’ll re-evaluate tomorrow and Wednesday morning but he could be a player for Wednesday.”
Jimmy is back:
Jimmy Lodge has been leading the Icemen this season in the ECHL with 10 goals and 18 assists in 30 games for the Moose affiliate but with the injury to Lipon on Friday he earned himself a recall to Manitoba for Saturday’s game. He finished with one assist on the goal by Brody Sutter in his first AHL action this season. Coach Vincent on Lodge’s game said “he played extremely well. Moved his feet, he knows the system so that was not a huge change for him, but he had to pick up the pace and he played well. Made a great pass on Sutter’s goal. But he was moving right. He was physically involved. I liked his game.”.
I spoke to Jimmy after the skate on the adjustment back to the American league and the difference he sees in the Moose this season “they know how to win, they do the little things, get pucks deep, they block shots, good core overall, so that’s the big thing, attention to detail and playing hard”. As someone who spent the two previous season playing mostly for the Moose I asked about this opportunity to get back into the AHL and stick with Manitoba “I want to do the best I can to stick here and will play hard to do so”.
Plan for Harkins:
As we reported last week Jansen Harkins was assigned to the ECHL to play big minutes for the Icemen. In four games with Jacksonville the Jets 2nd rounder from 2015 has two goals and two assists. Coach Vincent laid it out “Depending on the injuries we don’t want to call him back up and that’s still the plan but we might have to adjust. You never know what can happen. But the plan is between six and 10 games.” On what he has heard about Harkins with the Icemen the Moose bench boss said “He went there with the right attitude. He’s been producing offensively but we want him to touch the ice. We want him to be put in situations where he can play and that’s what he’s been doing and he’s been producing. Good for him. I think it’s going to pay off.”
With 12 forwards on the ice for today’s skate as well as eight defencemen and two goalies it looked like the roster was set for tonight’s game against Grand Rapids but the Jets tossed a wrench in those plans when they recalled Brendan Lemieux for their three-game road trip this week. While the team did assign Tucker Poolman back to Manitoba that simply means there is a glut of defencemen on this squad as he brings that total to nine. I suspect that the team will play 11 forwards and seven defencmen tonight but we will have to wait for today’s pre-game warm up skate to see what changes coach Vincent has in store.
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