Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Alpha Moose

Some people consider Bullwinkle as the most talented moose of all-time. Others consider Rutt and Tuke, the two moose from Disney's Brother Bear, to be a close second. Tonight, however, the most talented Moose was crowned on the ice at MTS Centre. The Manitoba Moose welcomed fans down to the arena for their first "Super Skills" competition - essentially, a team-based skills competition featuring all of the non-injured Moose. There were a ton of things for fans to do on the concourse, including accuracy shooting and finding out who had the hardest shot, but the competition on the ice was the main draw. Tonight, the Moose split up into two teams to compete in the fastest skater event, accuracy shooting event, hardest shot event, and the breakaway relay. With that being said, let's get to the first annual Manitoba Moose Super Skills Competition!

Fastest Skater

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

Team Black: Marco Rosa, Tommy Maxwell, Sergei Shirokov, and Mark McCutcheon.
Team White: Eric Walsky, Derek Leblanc, John Lammers, and Mario Bliznak.

Walsky - 13.46 seconds.
Rosa - 13.78 seconds.
Leblanc - 14.16 seconds.
Maxwell - 14.16 seconds, including a solid shoulder to a crossbar.
Lammers - 14.26 seconds.
Shirokov - 14.66 seconds after a false start.
Bliznak - 14.06 seconds.
McCutcheon - 14.50 seconds.

Team Black earns five points on Walsky's trail of fire around the rink.

Accuracy Shooting

Players will have their scores listed in the order that they shoot. There are five targets to hit: one in each corner of the net, and the ever-elusive five-hole. Scores will reflect the number of shots taken to hit the five targets. Players will line up directly between the faceoff circles in the slot for their shots.

Team Black: Darryl Bootland, Marty Murray, John Lammers, and Eric Walsky.
Team White: Mike Keane, Sergei Shirokov, Dusty Collins, and Marco Rosa.

Keane - 5/8 in 13.91 seconds.
Bootland - 5/8 in 13.90 seconds.
Shirokov - 5/9 in 15.08 seconds.
Murray - 5/10 in 15.80 seconds.
Collins - 5/10 in 17.57 seconds.
Lammers - 2/12 with a time-out, but five posts counted.
Rosa - 5/9 in 18.41 seconds.
Walsky - 5/7 in 11.96 seconds, and two posts.

Walsky earns another five points for Team Black with his laser-sighted shot! From the way it appeared, the bottom two corners looked like they were the hardest for the players to hit. Walsky, however, made it look easy as he missed the top-left corner twice on his two post-ringing shots.

Hardest Shot

Players will have their shots clocked in the order that they shoot. Players will tee off from high slot area just between the top of the faceoff circles. Each player will have two attempts to blow away the radar gun.

Team Black: Nolan Baumgartner, Evan Oberg, Derek Leblanc, and Geoff Waugh.
Team White:Brian Salcido, Travis Ramsey, Neil Petruic, and Mark McCutcheon.

Baumgartner - 85 mph followed by 85 mph.
Salcido - 96 mph followed by 94 mph.
Oberg - 92 mph followed by 89 mph.
Ramsey - 95 mph followed by 97 mph.
Leblanc - 88 mph followed by 90 mph.
Petruic - 92 mph followed by 91 mph.
Waugh - 87 mph followed by 83 mph.
McIver - 83 mph followed by 88 mph.

Team White earns five points on Ramsey's cannon-like blast. Some quick notes on this competition saw two misreadings by the radar gun. Evan Oberg's first shot registered as 13 mph, while Geoff Waugh's second shot saw him record a 14 mph shot. Neither men dribbled the puck into the net, I assure you. There was a break in the competition, though, as Travis Ramsey literally blew away the radar gun. Ramsey's second shot was a laser to the center post in the net, and the radar gun flew off the back of the net. After a quick reset, Ramsey's third shot of 97 mph was your winner.

Breakaway Relay

Players will be listed in terms of their appearance, and whether or not they scored. An X will be used for an unsuccessful shot, while an O will represent a goal. Goaltenders will have their total saves and save percentage shown at the bottom of the shooter list.

Team Black: Nolan Baumgartner, Geoff Waugh, Evan Oberg, Derek Leblanc, John Lammers, Mario Bliznak, Marty Murray, Darryl Bootland, and Eric Walsky.
Team White: Brian Salcido, Travis Ramsey, Neil Petruic, Nathan McIver, Tommy Maxwell, Mark McCutcheon, Marco Rosa, Sergei Shirokov, and Mike Keane.

Team Black Goaltender: Daren Machesney.
Team White Goaltender: Cory Schneider.

Baumgartner - X
Salcido - X
Waugh - O, on a backhander past Schneider.
Ramsey - X
Oberg - X
Petruic - O, forehand to backhand to the top of the net.
Leblanc - X
McIver - X
Lammers - X
Maxwell - X
Bliznak - O, as the backhand slides five-hole.
McCutcheon - X
Murray - X
Rosa - O, top-shelf on a gorgeous wrist shot past Machesney.
Bootland - O, crushing a slapshot past a sprawling Schneider.
Shirokov - X
Walsky - X
Keane - X

Machesney - 7/9 = 0.778 save percentage
Schneider - 6/9 = 0.667 save percentage

Team Black defeats Team White in the shootout by a 3-2 score. Each goal counts towards the team total as well, so Team Black picks up eight points to Team White's two points.

Team Totals

Team Black: 18 points.
Team White: 7 points.

Team Black is your winning Moose squad tonight! Congratulations go out to Nolan Baumgartner, Geoff Waugh, Evan Oberg, Derek Leblanc, John Lammers, Mario Bliznak, Marty Murray, Darryl Bootland, Eric Walsky, and goaltender Daren Machesney!

Honestly, this was a great night of fun hosted by the Manitoba Moose. Lots of prizes were given away, and a great crowd turned out to see the event. While the official attendance totals was announced at 3727, if felt like there had to be 4500-5000 people in the building tonight.

The glass was down in all non-essential places, and fans got to high five their favorite hometown hockey stars as they skated by. Moose players were available for autographs all night long, and, at $5 per ticket, this is exactly the kind of event that can go a long way in helping the Moose generate fans for generations. There were children everywhere in the crowd, proving that the Moose's efforts in being a part of the community are going a long, long way.

Perhaps one of the coolest things about having no glass up is that all the players were chatting with the fans all night long. It's that kind of interaction that makes this type of event a lot of fun, and it really is a memorable experience for all involved. Especially for the fans. The players poked fun at one another all night, and they really seemed to be having as much of a good time as the fans were.

Well done, Manitoba Moose, on starting an annual event that is fun, affordable, and a great time for all in attendance! Tonight, everyone was a winner!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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