The Manitoba Moose are one third of the way through the team’s 36-game 2020-21 season schedule. Sounds absurd, right? Well… it is.
Having begun their American Hockey League season exactly 19 days ago, the Moose are now 12 games into the year. With just 36 games on tap due to the current COVID-19 global pandemic, all AHL teams are facing drastically reduced calendars. Interestingly, Manitoba’s 36 scheduled games is actually near the top of the list in terms of total games played.
Yes, you read that right.
As it currently stands, AHL teams based in the United States will play anywhere from 24 to 44 games spread out from February 5 to May 16 – a span of 100 total days. Teams playing 44 games will see game action every 2.72 days, while teams playing 24 games are only playing every 4.17 days. American teams will play any number of inter-division games from a list spanning 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 or 44.
Interestingly, despite the discrepancy in total games played between teams, the splits between home and away contests are rather even in all markets. The same cannot be said of teams located north of the 49th parallel. With four of the five Canadian-based teams playing 36 games (Stockton, 30), only Toronto and Laval will have an even home/away split.
The Manitoba Moose are in the midst of a heavily home-weighted schedule. Coming off an eight-game road trip through Laval, Toronto, and Belleville, the Moose now return to Winnipeg for an AHL record 17-game homestand. Yes, 17 games.
Having played just four of the team’s first 12 games at home, Manitoba will close out the 2020-21 season with 17 of its remaining 24 games within its home province. Oh right, and those 17 consecutive games take place over a span of 52 days from March 8 to April 29. The club then leaves for another extended road trip against the Marlies and Senators to conclude the season which will feature seven games played from May 6-16.
Currently sitting tied with Toronto at an even 6-6-0 through 12 games, Manitoba will look to improve upon its .500 points percentage on its upcoming two-month homestand.
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Historically, Bell MTS Place has been good to the Moose, as the club has not posting a losing home record since the 2016-17 season. However, the team has never once suited up for game action at is training facility of Bell MTS Iceplex – to which the remainder of its home games will take place.
Going a combined 60-42-6 over the past three seasons at home, Manitoba will look to build upon its strong 2018-19 campaign, which saw the club go 25-11-2 through 38 games in Winnipeg.
After beginning the 2020-21 season with two-straight losses at home to the Toronto Marlies, Manitoba bounced back to even its record at .500 with back-to-back wins, before heading out on the road for a road trip that saw the team pick up another four wins and four losses.
The Moose begin their 17-game homestand with a fresh opponent in the first-place Stockton Heat, who visit Manitoba for four-straight contests beginning on Monday and concluding on Saturday.
The homestand then sees Laval (four games), Belleville (four games) and Stockton again (five more games) pop by Bell MTS Iceplex for more MLB-styled mini-series. Now one third of the way through its season, Manitoba will look to build upon its .500 record – both at home and overall – beginning on Monday at 6:00 PM central.