Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Moose Put Best Skills Forward

I had the privilege tonight of attending MTS Centre for the second annual Manitoba Moose Super Skills Challenge, and I was quite impressed with the skills set that the 2010-11 AHL squad has assembled. Like the NHL Skills Competition, there were four skills that were tested: fastest skater, shooting accuracy, hardest shot, and the breakaway. Much like last year's event, the main goal was to have fun and to give the fans some excellent player interaction, and that goal was met and exceeded once again. However, let's take a look at how the players fared in each of the categories.

Fastest Skater

Times will be listed per player as they skate one lap of the rink from the center ice line.

Team Green: Jordan Schroeder, Bill Sweatt, and Kevin Clark.
Team White: Shawn Weller, Chris Tanev, and Yann Sauvé.

Schroeder - 14.48 seconds.
Weller - 14.53 seconds.
Sweatt - 14.16 seconds.
Tanev - 14.72 seconds.
Clark - 14.57 seconds.
Sauvé - 14.56 seconds.

Team Green picks up the five points on Bill Sweatt's lap around the rink in 14.16 seconds. There were no false starts this year as the technology seemed to work much better, so that's a nod to the Moose for improving upon last year where there was at least one false start. None of last season's participants in the fastest skater event competed this season.

Accuracy Shooting

The Moose change it up a little this year by only having the targets in each of the corners of the net. Players will shoot from the high slot once again while receiving passes from two teammates.

Team Green: Joel Perrault, Sergei Shirokov, and Nolan Baumgartner.
Team White: Marco Rosa, Cody Hodgson, and Jonas Andersson.

Perreault - 3/9 in 20 seconds.
Rosa - 4/6 in 16.9 seconds.
Shirokov - 4/5 in 12.4 seconds.
Hodgson - 4/5 in 10.8 seconds.
Baumgartner - 4/6 in 13.8 seconds.
Andersson - 4/7 in 16.7 seconds.

Thanks to Cody Hodgson's quick and accurate shooting, Team White picks up the five points for the win in the accuracy shooting event. Shirokov was just as accurate as Hodgson, but Hodgson's faster time gave his team the victory. Both Rosa and Shirokov participated last year, and both went 5/9 last season.

Hardest Shot

Players tee off from high slot area just between the top of the faceoff circles. Each player will have three attempts to blow away the radar gun whereas they only had two attempts last season. The bolded speed represents the player's hardest shot.

Team Green: Travis Ramsey, Lee Sweatt, and Kevin Connauton.
Team White: Victor Oreskovich, Ryan McGinnis, and Aaron Volpatti.

Oreskovich - 89 mph, 94 mph, and 95 mph.
Ramsey - 90 mph, 98 mph, and 94 mph.
McGinnis - 90 mph, 90 mph, and 91 mph.
Sweatt - 92 mph, 95 mph, and 94 mph.
Volpatti - 94 mph, 93 mph, and 93 mph.
Connauton - 96 mph, 95 mph, and 97 mph.

Travis Ramsey successfully defends his Super Skills win from last season as he records the hardest shot for the second straight year. With the win in this event, Team Green improves to a 10-5 score on Ramsey's 98-mph bullet, and he improves upon his 97-mph blast from last season.

Breakaway Relay

The two teams squared off in a one-on-goalie competition where all of the Moose skaters attempted a breakaway on the opposing team's goaltender. Eddie Lack dressed for Team Green while Team White had Tyler Weiman in net. All of the players will be listed as to how they fared. An "X" represents a stop while an "O" represents a goal.

Team Green: Nolan Baumgartner, Lee Sweatt, Travis Ramsey, Kevin Connauton, Jordan Schroeder, Joel Perrault, Evan Oberg, Kevin Clark, Bill Sweatt, Stefan Schneider, and Sergei Shirokov.
Goaltender: Eddie Lack.
Team White: Jeff Tambellini, Cody Hodgson, Aaron Volpatti, Marco Rosa, Victor Oreskovich, Jason Pitton, Shawn Weller, Ryan McGinnis, Chris Tanev, Yann Sauvé, and Jonas Andersson.
Goaltender: Tyler Weiman.

Perrault - O. Perrault puts a sick move on Weiman.
Weller - X.
Baumgartner - X.
Hodgson - X.
Oberg - X.
Tanev - X.
Lee Sweatt - X.
Volpatti - X.
Schroeder - X.
Rosa - O. Rosa finds room behind Lack with a wrist shot.
Ramsey - X.
Tambellini - X.
Connauton - O. The defenceman slips the backhander behind Weiman.
Oreskovich - X.
Clark - X. The hometown boy's lacrosse-style shot went high.
McGinnis - X.
Bill Sweatt - X.
Jason Pitton - O. The recent ECHL call-up scores on a backhander.
Shirokov - X.
Sauvé - X.
Schneider - X.
Andersson - X.

With the shootout tied at 2-2, sudden-death was needed to determine which goaltender picked up the five points for his team, as well as finding out who would score the all-important competition-winning goal.

Perrault - X. His five-hole attempt was stopped by Weiman.
Tambellini - O. Tambellini wristed a shot cleanly past Lack.

With Team White's Tyler Weiman winning the shootout, the two teams were tied at 10-10, but Tambellini's shootout winner earned the 3-2 shootout win for Team White game them the 13-12 victory in the 2010 Manitoba Moose Super Skills Challenge! After celebrating the victory and mobbing Tambellini, Team White posed with the trophy at center ice.

Another fun-filled evening at MTS Centre was enjoyed by the fans who made their way downtown. There was lots of stuff to see and do along the concourse, but most everyone enjoyed the interaction with the players. The players themselves have some bragging rights now and Team White has a victory to defend next season, but there's no doubt that the Moose are doing the right thing in keeping a pulse on the fanbase. It also helps when the fans show up to meet the players of the local team, especially the little ones who love an autograph from their favorite players.

Kudos to the Manitoba Moose for a great evening of fun, laughter, and some pond hockey skills!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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