ROCKFORD, Illinois -The Rockford IceHogs will be north of the border to begin the 2022-23 AHL regular season. The Hogs will be trying to get off to a fast start with a pair of weekend matinees with the Manitoba Moose.
The action begins at the BellMTS Iceplex in Winnipeg Saturday, October 15 with a 2:00 p.m. CST puck drop with the Moose. Rockford and Manitoba are at it again on Sunday, October 16 at 2:00 p.m. CST
The IceHogs were 5-3 last season against the Moose but did not fare well on the road, managing just one win in four attempts in Manitoba. Here’s how things shake out for the two teams heading into the first two contests.
Weekend Preview: Rockford vs Manitoba
- Manitoba had nine players that finished 2021-22 with at least 30 points. Seven of those players return to the team this season, including leading point-producers Mikey Eyssimont (18 goals, 24 assists) and Jeff Malott (23 goals, 18 assists).
- Forward Evan Polei had the best offensive numbers of his AHL career last season, with eleven goals and a dozen helpers. In six games against Rockford, Polei led the Moose with three goals and three assists. Cole Maier (17 goals, 20 assists) also had six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in eight games against the Hogs.
- On the Rockford side, forward Josiah Slavin was in action in seven of the eight meetings between the teams. He put up four goals and four assists in those games. Michal Teply had a goal and six helpers in six appearances against the Moose last season. Rockford’s leading scorer last season, Lukas Reichel (21 G, 36 A), notched five goals and an apple in six games.
- Manitoba’s projected starting goalie, Arvid Holm, was 0-3 vs Rockford last season with a 3.80 goals-against average and an .823 save percentage. Arvid Soderblom, who will start at least one of this weekend’s games for the IceHogs, was 3-2-0 with a 3.04 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage against the Moose.
- The Moose return a nice portion of the club that finished second in the Central Division standings. Rockford’s upgraded roster is chock-full of veteran scorers and looks to move up from last season’s fourth-place finish in the division.
- Rockford’s x-factor heading into this season is the slew of veteran talent the organization brought in to increase the Hogs ability to compete. Will players like Dylan Sikura, Brett Seney and Luke Philp hit the ground running?
- Manitoba’s x-factor lies in goal. The Moose were one of the league’s better defensive teams last season but shaky goaltending was an issue. How does Holm begin his second pro season after struggling in his rookie year? That and more will be revealed starting this weekend.
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