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This article was published 17/12/2017 (1130 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Manitoba Moose have re-written their own history book with a incredible weekend sweep through Ontario that leaves them alone on top of the American Hockey League Standings.
Manitoba beat the Toronto Marlies 5-1 Sunday, setting a new franchise-record by going 14 consecutive games without a regulation defeat. The 13-0-1 run has left the Moose 21-5-3 overall on the season, which is the best in the 31-team AHL. They have a goal differential of plus-51 over their 29 games, by far tops in the league.
It's quite a turnaround for a team that was well out of the playoff picture in the first two seasons since returning to Winnipeg.
The Moose also beat the Marlies 2-1 on Saturday, and kicked off the three-games-in-three-days run with a 7-3 victory in Belleville on Friday night.
Goalie Michael Hutchinson stole the show on the road. He stopped 39 of 40 shots Saturday against the Marlies — who actually began the weekend as the only team ahead of the Moose in the AHL standings — then followed that up by stopping 27 of 28 on Sunday. Eric Comrie played in Friday night's game, making 24 saves.
Hutchinson now has an 11-1-2 record this season. His 1.71 GAA is second-best in the AHL, while his .950 save percentage leads all goalies.
Captain Patrice Cormier continued to lead by example with four goals and two assists over the three games including the winning goals on Friday and Saturday. He's now matched the 13 goals he scored in 69 games last season, accomplishing it this year in just 28 games.
Buddy Robinson scored twice and added five helpers over the span, while rookie Mason Appleton had a goal and three assists in Ontario. Appleton is now in the Top 10 in AHL scoring and is second-best among all rookies.
Moose coach Pascal Vincent was named Sunday evening as the head coach of the Central Division squad that will play in the 2018 All-Star Game, to be held Jan. 28-29 in Utica, N.Y.
The Moose have a 13-point lead in their own division over Iowa and Rockford, who are tied for second-place.
Special-teams have played a big role. Manitoba has the league's third-best power play at 22.5 per cent and the second-best penalty killing unit at 89.1 per cent. Throw in balanced scoring across four lines and some stellar goaltending, and you have the recipe for a magical season.
Manitoba will look to keep the good times rolling when they host the San Antonio Rampage at Bell MTS Place for a pair of games on Thursday and Friday night to close out their pre-Christmas schedule.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.