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2022 Calder Cup Playoffs

Calder Cup Western Semifinals Preview: #2 Manitoba Moose vs. #3 Milwaukee Admirals

Calder Cup Western Semifinals Preview: #2 Manitoba Moose vs. #3 Milwaukee Admirals

WINNIPEG – Separated by nearly a 12-hour bus ride, the Milwaukee Admirals and the Manitoba Moose will square off in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. The Moose have been a squad that has been consistently near the top of the division, always sitting shy of the league’s best Chicago Wolves. Meanwhile, it was a season marked with redemption while the Admirals clawed their way into a Central Division third-place seat, following a flat-footed start to the season.

Final Regular Season Standings

Manitoba Moose: 41-24-5-2 (5th in Western Conference)

Milwaukee Admirals: 39-28-5-4 (8th in Western Conference)

Series Schedule 

Game 1 – Friday, May 6 Manitoba at MILWAUKEE – 7:00 pm CDT  

Game 2 – Saturday, May 7 – Manitoba at MILWAUKEE – 6:00 pm CDT  

Game 3 – Wednesday, May 11 – Milwaukee at MANITOBA 7:00 pm CDT  

Game 4 – Friday, May. 13 – Milwaukee at MANITOBA – 7:00 pm CDT  

Game 5- Sunday, May. 15 – Milwaukee at MANITOBA – 2:00 pm CDT

Season Series Recap

During the season, the Moose downed the Admirals with a 7-4-1, with three games decided after regulation. Milwaukee outscored Manitoba 39-38, proving just how close these teams are heading into this series. The past five games have seen both teams see-saw with wins and losses.

How Manitoba Wins:

Strong goaltending. Plain and Simple. Mikhail Berdin has to be the star of this show. Throughout this season, he’s been able to steal games for the Moose. Though he has a 19-10-2 record, it isn’t any indication of how he’s played throughout the season. Berdin has allowed the Winnipeg-based club to win games, and that same play will have to roll into their first-round date.

Currently, Manitoba is one of the best in the league for keeping the puck out of the net. Allowing on average 2.87 goals per game, the 8th lowest in the AHL, compared to 3.01 for their playoff opponent. So far these playoffs, we have seen teams win series by riding on a hot goaltender, and Manitoba needs to run that playbook in the opening round.

On top of that, no other team in the AHL averages fewer shots allowed in the run of a game than Manitoba. The Moose let up 25.5 shots per game on average.

If they can continue those trends, this will give Manitoba a solid chance of advancing out of the Central Division Semifinals.

How Milwaukee Wins:

If Milwaukee wins, it’ll be by playing a solid two-way game. Goals will need to be scored, but they’ll have to be backed up by a solid defense.

The Admirals are 19-1-0-2 when leading after the first period, with a similar stat when leading after two. Scoring first will be a big part of their game as they try to go into the intermission ahead. One of the ways they’ll be looking at doing that is with their special teams, which provide the second-best power play record in the league, running at 23.7%. Currently, Cole Schneider leads the team with power-play goals, with 11.

On the back end, they’re starred by Alex Biega and Matt Donovan; this defense has bolstered the backend of their club. Matt Tennyson and Dylan Blujus have proved themselves as reliable defenceman as well. Impeding Manitoba’s zone entry will be critical in the best of five.

Currently, no other team has allowed fewer shots in total than the Admirals, with 1847 shots against this season.


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    Zack Power covers the Toronto Marlies for Field Pass Hockey. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @FPHMarlies.

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