Moose to play “home” game on the road


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ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — The shoe’s on the other foot for most of the Manitoba Moose tonight.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/01/2010 (4705 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — The shoe’s on the other foot for most of the Manitoba Moose tonight.

They’re the visitors for their first regular-season road game at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre against the Abbotsford Heat but as the AHL affiliate of the nearby Vancouver Canucks, they’ll have a lot of fans among tonight’s expected sell-out (7,046).

The Heat are affiliated with the NHL’s Calgary Flames but GM Place, home of the Canucks, is only an hour’s drive away.

“I’ve never had this before,” Moose coach Scott Arniel said after this morning’s game-day skate. “To come in here with an awful lot of Canucks fans spread out all over this province, I’m sure they’re coming to see a lot of the prospects, guys they might have seen in the exhibition games or training camp or heard of.

“It’ll be interesting. I’ve never been through it, coming into the building as visitors and getting such a response. I guess we’ll be a bit like the Toronto Maple Leafs.”

Arniel said he’s familiar with the other side of the coin, and doesn’t care for it.

“I hated that,” he said. “In Winnipeg, when Toronto and Montreal used to come in, that was the big line in the dressing room, that it was just another road game.

“And when I coached in Buffalo, in the arena there were probably 14,000 Leafs fans. It’s very different in your own building, not something you’d get used to.”

Moose defenceman Nolan Baumgartner said it’s just an amusing sidelight to tonight’s game between the two North Division rivals, with the Moose ahead of Abbotsford by just two points.

“That’s great for us on the road,” Baumgartner said. “My only experience with that is Montreal or Toronto when I was in Vancouver. They’d score and there’d be a loud cheer in the building and that was weird when you’re at home.

“It didn’t bother me but it throws you off. It’s a neat feeling when you’re on the road like that and you have fans, but I don’t think it’s going to bother the other team tonight too much.”

Heat forward Jason Jaffray, who used to play for the Moose, said it will make for a fun night tonight.

“I think it’s great and it’s great for the AHL,” Jaffray said. “I was over at Boston Pizza the other night watching Vancouver and Calgary and when (Jamie) Lundmark scored (for the Flames) everybody in the place was booing.

“They wanted Vancouver to win the game. I think it’s great. Hopefully the cheers are louder than the boos tonight. Any type of rivalry we can bring to this city is a key for this franchise, I think.”

The two teams play here again on Wednesday.

The Moose are expected to have defenceman Lawrence Nycholat back in the lineup tonight. He’s missed two games because of a groin laceration.

And after goalie Daren Machesney fell awkwardly and tweaked his knee in practice here Monday, the Moose have brought in Oakbank native Stefan Drew as their backup this week. Drew served the same role for the Hershey Bears last weekend at the MTS Centre.

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