Earlier today the Moose revealed the dates for the last three games of their first round series. Now this was done without yet knowing when games 1 and 2 were and more importantly who they would be facing in the Central Division Semifinals. In the AHL the higher seed is able to determine if they want to start at home or on the road and teams usually will choose to get the last three games at home and since Manitoba was the number two seed they had the power to select either option.
Who they would face wouldn’t be known until after the Milwaukee Admirals and Rockford IceHogs did battle this evening at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena in Wisconsin. A 3-2 win by Milwaukee meant they were locked into the #3 position and with the Moose at #2 would set these two teams up for a first round match-up (although b/c the play in round is taking place the playoff round for Manitoba and Milwaukee is called the Division Semifinals).
Coincidentally these two teams met the most this season playing a total of 12 times. The season series went like this:
Moose are 7-4-1-0
Admirals are 5-5-2-0
The dates of the game are as follows:
Game 1: May 6th
Game 2: May 7th
Game 3: May 11th
Game 4: May 13th*
Game 5: May 15th*
*Last two are if necessary
This is the best opponent for the Moose to start the playoffs as they played the Admirals very well this season. Also with their parent club (Nashville) in the NHL playoffs some of their guys will be up as black aces which right now includes goalie Connor Ingram who is up top for an injured Juuse Saros.
How to these two teams match-up? It is hard to put the records against each other since the teams had the choice whether to play 76 or 72 games this season and the Admirals went with 76 while the Moose choose 72.
The Moose still have one game remaining but they averaged 3.12 goals per game while averaging 2.87 against each contest whereas the Admirals averaged 3.01 goals per game while giving up an average of 3.00.
Manitoba is a much more disciplined team given they had just 833 penalties in minutes this season while Milwaukee had 1023 (3rd most in the AHL). Speaking of special teams the lack of discipline could hurt the Admirals as they had the 23rd ranked PK in the AHL at 79.4% and the Moose ranked 9th (82.0%) although they were top 3 for quite a stretch. However the Moose will want to stay out of the box as their opponent is ranked 2nd in the AHL on the PP (23.6%) while they were listed as 15th (19.4%).
Lastly, there was a lot of balance in scoring from Manitoba this season. They didn’t have a guy in the top 100 for quite some time until recently when Jeff Malott snuck in at 96.