The AHL’s Central Division started the New Year off with a very busy and competitive week. The top five teams are separated by just six points. We are entering the time of the season in which every point becomes vital.
Wild Stay Hot, Move Back into First Place
The Iowa Wild (20-9-4-3) took four out of a possible six points last week to grab sole possession of first place in the Central Division. They have the smallest of leads as they sit just one point ahead of second place with the third and fourth place teams three points back.
The Wild moved back to the top of the standings with a big 3-1 win at the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday night. The Wolves scored an early first-period goal, but it was all Wild for the final 40 minutes.
Matt Read tied the game just over a minute into the second period with a shorthanded goal. He picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, beat the defenders down the ice and scored to the blocker side. Read struck again about five minutes later to give the Wild a 2-1 lead by driving to the front of the net and putting home a rebound.
Joel Eriksson Ek added an empty-netter in the final minute to ice the victory and extend his personal point streak to seven games. Andrew Hammond made 28 saves for his ninth victory on the season.
The next day, leading scorer Cal O’Reilly and rookie goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen learned they will be joining head coach Tim Army at the AHL All-Star Classic.
The Wild returned to home ice to take on the Rockford IceHogs and Kahkonen continued his dominance over the Chicago Blackhawks affiliate. The game remained scoreless heading into the third period thanks to the efforts of Kahkonen and IceHogs goaltender Anton Forsberg.
Colton Beck broke the tie and scored the eventual game-winning goal six minutes into the final frame. Will Bitten, who had the primary assist on Beck’s goal, doubled the lead a minute later. He was able to get to a loose puck in front of the net and push it across the goal line for the first multi-point game of his career. Eriksson Ek picked up an assist on the play to extend his scoring streak.
Justin Kloos added an empty-netter with 30 seconds remaining to cap off the scoring. O’Reilly added his second assist of the night on the play to add to his team lead with 22.
Kahonen made 26 saves for his third straight shutout over the IceHogs. In four starts against Rockford, he has posted a .992 save percentage (save %) and a 0.24 goals-against average (GAA). He leads AHL goaltenders with five shutouts and helped the Wild win 20 games faster than they ever have in franchise history.
Sunday’s rematch with the IceHogs in Rockford did not go well as the Wild were beaten 6-2. For the second straight game, Beck opened up the scoring. This time he finished off a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush midway through the first period to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. The tally was Iowa’s sixth shorthanded goal of the season, tying the franchise record for the most in a single season.
The IceHogs tied the game early in the second period, but Kloos responded about four minutes later to put the Wild back on top. While on a power play, Sam Anas found Kloos at the side of the net where he slammed home the puck for his 12th goal of the season. Eriksson Ek was credited with the secondary assist to extend his point streak to five games.
Things fell apart for the Wild and Hammond as Rockford would score the next five goals, including a hat trick by Jacob Nilsson, to cruise to the victory.
Player of the Week: Eriksson Ek was recently reassigned to the AHL after playing in 26 games for the Minnesota Wild. He is making his case to be quickly recalled to the NHL. He had a point in all three games last week and has scored in all five games he’s played for Iowa this season with four goals and six points.
The Week Ahead: Wednesday, Jan. 9 @ San Antonio; Friday, Jan. 11 @ San Antonio; Saturday, Jan. 12 @ Texas
Rare Offensive Struggles Drop Wolves to Second
The Chicago Wolves (21-12-3-1) run at the top of the division only lasted one week. They had to endure some rare offensive struggles before closing out the week with a much-needed victory. They are one point behind the first place Wild.
The Wolves began their week hosting the Wild in a battle for first place in the Central Division. Things got off to a great start as the Wolves scored less than two minutes into the game. Defenseman Dylan Coghlan headed to the front of the net, during 4-on-4 play, to backhand a rebound off a Reid Duke shot for his sixth goal of the season.
The Wild scored a shorthanded goal early in the second period and then took the lead a few minutes later. They added an empty net goal late in the third period to finish off the 3-1 victory. The Wolves got 29 shots on goal but were only able to score a lone goal against Andrew Hammond.
Thursday was a busy news day for the Wolves. First, a trio of players was named to the Central Division All-Star team with forwards Daniel Carr and Brandon Pirri heading to Springfield, MA later this month along with rookie defenseman Erik Brannstrom.
Later that day, the Vegas Golden Knights recalled defenseman Jimmy Oligny and traded him to the Winnipeg Jets for future considerations. In a corresponding move, the Manitoba Moose traded left winger Tye McGinn to Chicago for more future considerations.
The Golden Knights made a surprise move late Friday afternoon by reassigning Pirri to the AHL. The AHL’s leading scorer had six goals and nine points in his seven NHL games so the transaction was a head-scratcher, to say the least. Pirri was unable to make it to Chicago in time for that night’s game against the San Antonio Rampage and they sure could have used him.
The Wolves were held to one goal in each of their last two games after scoring at least two goals in the first 33 games of the season. Things got worse as they were shutout by former Wolves goaltender Jordan Binnington on Friday night.
The Rampage scored three late first-period goals. The first was helped by a weird bounce off the end boards, but the second two were scored by defensemen a long way from the net. Starter Oscar Dansk, who made just five saves, was benched for Max Lagace after the first period. Lagace stopped all 14 shots he faced through the final 40 minutes.
Pirri did return to the lineup for Saturday night’s rematch with San Antonio as did Brannstrom, who returned from the World Junior Championship after Sweden’s disappointing quarterfinal exit. The Wolves snapped their three-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory. The win was strange as tough guy Alex Gallant scored the game-winning goal while Pirri dropped the gloves and racked up 19 penalty minutes.
Carr scored the Wolves’ first goal of the weekend 13 minutes into the first period. Brooks Macek found Carr all alone at the side of the net where he had the time and space to wait for goaltender Jared Coreau to go down before shooting the puck into the top portion of the net.
Gallant’s first goal of the season doubled the lead just 31 seconds later. Coreau made a great pad save on Stefan Matteau, but he had no chance at stopping Gallant on the rebound.
Seconds later, Pirri went after Rampage forward Sameul Blais after he gave a cheap elbow to the head of Brannstrom. The AHL’s leading scorer earned a two-minute instigator minor, a five-minute fighting major and a 10-minute misconduct for sticking up for his teammate.
Pirri added his 18th goal of the season late in the second period to increase the lead to 3-0. In the final moments of the Wolves’ second extended 5-on-3 power play of the period, Pirri’s shot from the top of the right circle found its way into the Rampage net.
San Antonio scored a power-play goal just before the second intermission, but they were unable to draw any closer in the third period.
Pirri’s stay in Chicago was a brief one as he was recalled by Vegas on Monday morning.
Player of the Week: The Wolves had a very rare week in which the offense was not the main story. Goaltender Max Lagace had a fantastic week, appearing in all three games. He gave up just three goals on 62 shots for a .951 save %. Both he and Dansk now have an identical .898 save percentage with things trending up for Lagace of late.
The Week Ahead: Friday, Jan. 11 @ Tucson; Saturday, Jan. 12 @ Tucson
Griffins Come Up Short Versus Eastern Conference Foes
The Grand Rapids Griffins (19-12-3-3) spent their weekend in Pennsylvania and returned with just one point. Their recent slip-up has them back down to third place but they remain just two points out of second and three points behind the Wild for the top spot.
Before the Griffins boarded a plane for their weekend away, Chris Terry was selected to play on the Central Division team at the AHL All-Star Classic. This was a pretty easy choice considering Terry leads the league in goals.
Speaking of leading the league goals, Wade Megan, who scored 33 goals in 2016-17, was reassigned to the Griffins on Wednesday. Their lineup got another boost when Filip Zadina returned to the team after playing for the Czech Republic in the WJC.
The Griffins picked up their only point of the weekend in a 3-2 shootout loss at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night. After the Penguins scored 17 seconds into the game, Matt Ford responded with a goal off a faceoff to even things up.
The Penguins took a 2-1 lead about six minutes into the second period, but the Griffins had another quick response. Four minutes later, Turner Elson knocked home a rebound off Libor Sulak shot from the point.
Goaltender Patrik Rybar came up big by stopping multiple breakaways in the third period and made a handful of big saves in overtime to get the game to the shootout. Unfortunately for Rybar, he gave up one goal in the shootout while the Griffins were denied on all three of their attempts.
Grand Rapids’ six-game point streak was snapped the following night by a 6-4 loss at the Hershey Bears. It was a rough start for goaltender Harri Sateri who gave up two goals in the game’s first 11 minutes. Megan responded less than two minutes after the Bears went up 2-0 with a goal from the top of the right circle. Hershey added a third goal before the end of the first period.
The Griffins had plenty of chances to get back in the game during the second period as they outshot the Bears 14-7 but came up empty on four power play chances. The Bears added two more goals early in the third period to go up 5-1 before the Griffins tried to make things interesting late in the game.
Ford scored his second goal of the weekend by getting in behind the defense and beating goaltender Vitek Vanecek. Shortly after Hershey scored their sixth and final goal, Chris Terry scored his league-leading 22nd goal. Jake Chelios picked up his 100th career AHL point with the primary assist on the play. Matt Puempel scored in the final minute of the game, but it was too little, too late for the Griffins.
Player of the Week: Scoring is nothing new for Wade Megan, who led the league in goals with the Chicago Wolves during the 2016-17 season. He made an immediate impact after being reassigned by the Detroit Red Wings. He had the primary assist on the Griffins’ first goal on Friday before adding a goal and an assist in Saturday night’s loss. He has four goals and 10 points in 16 games for the Griffins this season.
The Week Ahead: Wednesday, Jan. 9 @ Milwaukee; Friday, Jan. 11 vs Belleville; Saturday, Jan. 12 vs Belleville
Admirals Navigate Their Way Back into a Playoff Spot
The Milwaukee Admirals (19-12-5-1) are undefeated in the New Year after a successful three-win week. Their recent hot streak has them back in a playoff spot and tied with Griffins. They are well within striking distance of the division lead, just three points off the pace.
The Admirals kicked off 2019 by signing a pair of players to professional-tryout contracts (PTOs) on New Year’s Day. Defenseman Scott Savage and forward Jared Van Wormer were inked to deals and reported to Milwaukee from their respective ECHL clubs. Van Wormer was in the lineup for Wednesday night’s tilt at the Rockford IceHogs.
The Admirals were able to snap their five-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over the IceHogs, which also ended their run of three straight games scoring just one goal. Milwaukee got a lucky break to open the scoring early in the first period. Yakov Trenin took advantage of a brutal Rockford turnover and was able to pounce on a loose puck in front of the net for his fourth goal of the season.
The lead was extended just over four minutes into the second period. Alex Carrier’s shot from the point was stopped by goaltender Anton Forsberg, but Connor Brickley was able to beat him to the rebound and sweep the puck into the net for his seventh goal.
Troy Grosenick made 32 saves on the night and only gave up one goal early in the third period, which came off a redirection. This was Milwaukee’s first road win since Dec. 1, which also came in Rockford.
On Thursday, defenseman Matt Donovan was named to the Central Division All-Star team. At the time of the announcement, he was tied for the team lead in scoring with 21 points. His seven power-play goals have him tied for the most among all AHL blueliners.
The Admirals headed east for a weekend series that started Saturday night at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The offense had their biggest outburst since Nov. 11 in a 5-2 road win. The Penguins opened the scoring with a first-period power play goal and they made the 1-0 lead stick into the intermission.
Milwaukee came roaring back in the second period with three goals. They tied the game with an early shorthanded goal as Donovan spotted Emil Petterssen jumping on the ice and sent him in on a breakaway for his eighth goal of the season.
The Admirals went ahead about five minutes later. Fred Allard got in on a breakaway after being released from the penalty box, but his shot was denied. Nick Baptiste followed up the play and put home the rebound for his seventh goal on the campaign. Jared Tinordi put the Admirals up 3-1 as he was able to track a loose puck during a mad scramble in front of the net and slip it home.
Tanner Jeannot’s power play goal at 1:04 of the third period increased the lead to 4-1. The Penguins came back with a pair of goals less than two minutes apart to make it a one-goal game with 15 minutes remaining. Petterssen scored his second goal of the game just 37 seconds after the third Penguins goal to give the Admirals some insurance.
Goaltender Troy Grosneick made 31 saves to pick the 99th win of his AHL career.
The following night the Admirals were in Hershey to take on the Bears. They completed the weekend sweep with a 3-1 win and have their first three-game winning streak since the last week of November.
Hershey scored its lone goal on the power play late in the first period, as Nathan Walker deflected the puck past Tom McCullom. The Admirals tied the game with a power-play goal of their own with just over a minute left in the opening frame. Anthony Richards fired home a one-timer, off a feed from Carrier, for his team-leading 13th goal.
Zach Magwood gave the Admirals a 2-1 lead about eight minutes into the second period. Jared VanWormer picked up his first career AHL point with the primary assist as he fed Magwood from behind the net as he was falling down. Jarred Tinordi doubled the lead just 1:01 later by firing a wrist shot from the left circle through a Jeannot screen.
McCullom made 22 saves to end his personal four-game losing streak.
— Milwaukee Admirals (@mkeadmirals) January 7, 2019
Player of the Week: The Admirals had two players pick up four points this week. Alex Carrier had four assists, but Emil Petterssen gets the nod for his two goals and two helpers. Petterssen’s two goals were the difference in Saturday’s win. He is now tied with Anthony Richard for the team lead in points with 24.
The Week Ahead: Wednesday, Jan. 9 vs Grand Rapids; Saturday, Jan. 12 vs San Diego
Stars Take Three Points to Stay Within Striking Distance
The Texas Stars (18-11-3-2) earned three points during their weekend series versus the Manitoba Moose. They remain in fifth place and trail both the Griffins and Wild by three points for the final playoff spot in the Central.
Before they kicked off their set with the Moose on Friday, Thursday was a very busy news day for the Stars. First, winger Denis Gurianov was reassigned by the Dallas Stars to the AHL. He didn’t have long to stew over his demotion as Gurianov was named as the Stars’ lone All-Star representative later in the day.
The Stars later learned that they would be without leading scorer Erik Condra for the weekend as he was recalled by Dallas. Condra, who is sixth in the AHL with 35 points, made his first appearance in the NHL since 2017 when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
On Friday night, the Stars extended their home winning streak to seven games with a 3-1 win over the Moose. Travis Morin gave the Stars a 1-0 lead 8:26 into the game with a power-play goal, going bar down from the right circle. Joel L’Esperance doubled the lead late in the second period as he was able to corral Gavin Bayreuther’s shot that went wide of the net and swipe it home.
The Moose applied heavy pressure to start the third period and cut the lead in half less than five minutes into the frame while on a 5-on-3 power play. L’Esperance struck again with just over two minutes left in the game to give the Stars a big insurance goal. Landon Bow made 34 saves for the win.
The home winning streak came to an end with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Moose the following night. The Stars entered the second period trailing 1-0 before defenseman Niklas Hansson tied things up early in the frame. Nicholas Caamano cashed in on a rebound to give Texas their first lead with a minute remaining in the second period.
The Stars held onto the lead for much of the third period until the Moose were able to draw even with just over three minutes remaining in regulation. The game headed to a shootout after a scoreless overtime period. The Moose outscored the Stars 2-1 during the five-round shootout, with Colton Hargrove scoring the lone goal for Texas.
Player of the Week: L’Esperance has been a great addition to the Stars’ lineup this season. His 19 goals not only lead the team, but they are also the most by any rookie in the AHL this season. He also leads the team with eight power-play goals. His two-goal performance last Friday was his third multi-goal game of the season.
The Week Ahead: Wednesday, Jan. 9 vs Grand Rapids; Friday, Jan. 11 vs Rockford; Saturday, Jan. 12 vs Iowa
IceHogs Continue to Trend in the Wrong Direction
The Rockford IceHogs (16-15-3-2) have been having a hard time scoring goals of late and have fallen off the division pace. They have dropped to sixth place and are five points out of a playoff spot. They have scored the second fewest goals in the Central Division and have scored 47 fewer goals than the Wolves, who have the most.
The IceHogs’ week got off to a weird start versus the Milwaukee Admirals on Wednesday. Defenseman Jan Rutta was a pregame scratch and then Lucas Carlsson was taken out of the lineup after he was on the ice for the pregame warmup. This forced head coach Derek King into dressing just five defensemen and 13 forwards.
Their offensive woes carried over into 2019 as they were only able to get one goal past Troy Grosenick in a 2-1 loss, despite outshooting Milwaukee 33-27. The IceHogs fell behind early after the Admirals scored off an ugly Matheson Iacopelli turnover in front of his own net.
The IceHogs got a four-minute power play late in the first period after Matt Donovan was called for tripping and slashing on the same shift. However, they could not convert with the extended time with the man advantage.
Down 2-0, William Pelletier gave the IceHogs some life with his first goal of the season at 4:26 of the third period. Pelletier, who missed the first 29 games with an injury, had Tyler Sikura’s shot hit off of him in the slot and find its way past Grosenick.
Rockford kept up the pressure for the rest of the game but could not score the equalizer. They hit two posts and Pelletier missed a wide-open net in the final two minutes of the game.
On Thursday morning, the team recalled defensemen Neil Manning and Josh McArdle from the ECHL affiliate, the Indy Fuel, to help deal with the injuries to Carlsson and Rutta.
Later that day, goaltender Colin Delia was named as an AHL All-Star. His teammate, defenseman Andrew Campbell, was already named the captain of the Western Conference. Delia is currently with the Chicago Blackhawks and with the way he’s been playing, he will still be in the NHL during the last weekend of January.
Late Friday afternoon, the IceHogs and Blackhawks announced another coaching staff change. IceHogs assistant coach Sheldon Brookbank was promoted to serve the same role under Jeremy Colliton in Chicago. Development coach Anders Sorenson has replaced Brookbank on Derek King’s staff in Rockford.
The struggle to score continued during Friday night’s 3-0 loss at the first place Iowa Wild. After keeping the Wild off the board through two periods, Anton Forsberg gave up a pair of goals about a minute apart early in the third period. Iowa added a late empty-net goal to finish off the scoring.
Meanwhile, the IceHogs were shutout by Iowa’s All-Star goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen for the third straight game. They have just one goal on 123 shots against him in four games this season. He stoned all 26 shots at the Wells Fargo Center.
The struggling IceHogs offense got some reinforcements on Saturday as both forward Andreas Martinsen and Dylan Sikura were reassigned to the AHL by the Blackhawks. Sikura is still fourth on the team in scoring despite playing in Chicago for the last three weeks.
The IceHogs returned home for a rematch against the Wild on Sunday afternoon and they took out their frustrations on goaltender Andrew Hammond in a 6-2 win. The home team trailed 1-0 after the first period until Campbell tied things up just over a minute into the middle frame. The veteran blueliner got some puck luck has his shot from the left point hit off an Iowa defender and got in behind Hammond for his second goal of the season.
The Wild regained the lead about four minutes later, but the lead did not last very long. Jacob Nilsson’s first goal of the night knotted things up just 30 seconds later when he tipped home a pass from Sikura, who also had an assist on the first goal of the night. Just 15 seconds later, the IceHogs jumped ahead 3-2 when Luke Johnson redirected Anthony Louis’ shot past Hammond. Louis extended the lead to 4-2 early in the third period with an unassisted tally.
Exactly nine minutes later, Nilsson scored his second goal by beating Hammond to the glove side. He completed his first career hat trick with an empty-net goal less than three minutes later.
Player of the Week: The IceHogs were long overdue for an offensive explosion. After just one goal in their previous two games, rookie Jacob Nilsson helped lead a six-goal explosion on Sunday. Nilsson has been a very good defensive center all season long, but he got off to a slow start offensively. With his hat trick, he now leads the team with 10 goals.
The Week Ahead: Friday, Jan. 11 @ Texas; Saturday, Jan. 12 @ San Antonio
Rampage Stay Hot and Continue to Climb the Standings
The San Antonio Rampage (17-18-1-0) got off to the worst start in the league as they were the final team to reach 10 points. They have played great over the past few weeks to get back into the Central race. They are still in seventh place but are creeping closer to the IceHogs to overtake them for sixth.
The week started off with Jordan Kyrou being named the AHL Rookie of the Month for December. He had a least one point in every game he played in during the month, finishing with six goals and 15 points in nine AHL games. He will also be the lone Rampage player heading to the AHL All-Star Classic at the end of the month.
On Wednesday, they tied a franchise record with their seventh straight home win with a 3-1 victory over the Manitoba Moose. Mackenzie MacEachern picked up his first career two-goal game in the win. Midway through the first period, MacEachern finished off a give-and-go play with defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon to open the scoring. MacEachern’s second goal came early in the middle frame as Ryan Olsen squeezed a pass through two defenders to find the goal scorer alone in the slot.
The Moose cut the lead in half late in the third period, but Kyrou responded with an empty-netter to extend his point streak to 12 games and secure the win.
The Rampage spent the weekend in the Windy City and opened a two-game set at the Wolves on Friday night. Goaltender Jordan Binnington came back to haunt his former team by stopping all 31 shots en route to a 3-0 win.
All the scoring came in a span of 3:06 late in the first period. MacEachern stayed hot by opening the scoring as he got a fortunate bounce off the end boards to catch goaltender Oscar Dansk out of position. Wotherspoon extended his point streak to four games just 45 seconds later as his shot from the left circle hit the crossbar and went in. Mitch Reinke ended the onslaught as his wrist shot from the right point fluttered its way into the Chicago goal with just a minute left in the opening frame.
The win was the Rampage’s first road win since their last trip to Chicago back on Dec. 1.
Binnington was recalled by the St. Louis Blues the following day. He picked up his first career NHL win with a 25-save shutout of the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night.
The Rampage’s four-game winning streak was snapped on Saturday night in a 3-1 loss to the Wolves. Goaltender Jared Coreau made 20 saves in his debut for San Antonio, but Max Lagace was a tough nut to crack at the other end of the ice.
The Wolves scored a pair of goals 32 seconds apart late in the first period and added a third goal while on their second 5-on-3 power play of the second period. Reinke scored his second goal of the weekend series with a late second-period power-play goal from the right point. His 20 points have him tied for third among AHL rookie defensemen.
Player of the Week: If Jordan Binnington is good enough to be named the AHL’s Player of the Week, then he’s good enough to earn the same honor here. He won both of his starts last week stopping 62 of the 63 shots. He has won his last five AHL starts and nine out of his last 10 appearances. His 2.08 GAA leads all AHL netminders.
The Week Ahead: Wednesday, Jan. 9 vs Iowa; Friday, Jan. 11 vs Iowa; Saturday, Jan. 12 vs Rockford
Moose Return from Texas with Just Two Points
The Manitoba Moose (14-18-2-0) only earned two points last week and lost the ground they gained the previous week. They are still at the bottom of the Central standings and have a way to go to get back into the playoff picture.
The Moose started their week in Texas against the San Antonio Rampage on Wednesday night. Goaltender Eric Comrie had to be sharp out of the gate as he was hit with 20 shots during the opening frame. He gave up one goal in the first period and a second early in the middle frame.
Comrie stopped Bobby MacIntyre on a third period breakaway and then denied him on a penalty shot a few moments later. He was pulled late in the game for an extra attacker and the move briefly worked. Jansen Harkins crashed the net to put home a rebound for his fifth goal of the season. That would be the closest the Moose would get as San Antonio added an empty-netter less than a minute later to finish the scoring on the night.
On Thursday, Mason Appleton was named to the Central Division All-Star team. After leading the Moose in scoring with 66 points last season, Appleton has eight goals and 18 points in 19 games this season. This is his second straight trip to the AHL All-Star Classic.
Later that day, the Moose made a trade with the Chicago Wolves. They acquired defenseman Jimmy Oligny in exchange for Tye McGinn.
From there the Moose moved on to Cedar Park for a two-game set at the Texas Stars starting Friday night. Much like the previous game in San Antonio, the Moose found themselves trailing 2-0 heading into the final frame.
Marko Dano’s second goal of the season cut the Stars’ lead in half early in the third period. With the Moose on a 5-on-3 power play, Dano got to a rebound off a Michael Spacek shot and quickly snapped it home. The Stars added a third goal with just over two minutes remaining and the Moose were unable to pull any closer.
The Moose ended the Stars’ seven-game home winning streak with a 3-2 shootout victory the following night. This time Manitoba struck first when a puck deflected off Logan Shaw less than three minutes into the game.
The Stars scored a pair of goals in the second period to take a 2-1 lead into the final 20 minutes of play. Peter Stoykewych’s shot from the point found its way into the Texas net to force overtime with less than four minutes remaining in regulation. After a scoreless overtime, Shaw and Harkins scored in the shootout to earn the extra point. Appleby made 26 saves in regulation and overtime and stopped four out of the five shootout attempts to earn his first win on the season.
— Manitoba Moose (@ManitobaMoose) January 6, 2019
Player of the Week: The Moose only scored four goals all week with Jansen Harkins picking up the first one. He also scored his first career shootout goal in Texas on Sunday night which proved to be the game-winner. Harkins is known more for providing a physical edge on the fourth line, but his five goals this season doubled his AHL career total.
The Week Ahead: Thursday, Jan. 10 vs Laval; Saturday, Jan. 12 vs Laval
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.