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Moose carrying momentum into tonight's game

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WINNIPEG — The timing of their Game 5 victory in Hershey has provided some momentum to the Manitoba Moose.

They trail the best-of-seven Calder Cup championship series 3-2 but tonight's Game 6 (7:30 p.m., www.winnipegfreepress.com) is at the MTS Centre — sold out at 15,003 — and if Game 7 is required Sunday, it's here and sold out, too.

The momentum might be three days' worth, depending on who you talk to.

"With a win under our belts and coming home with our crowd, that's going to give us a boost for sure," Moose defenceman Nolan Baumgartner said after this morning's game-day skate. "Obviously they didn't want to come back. They wanted to get it done and home and they didn't.

"I know what that does mentally to you. In the Houston series, we were up 3-0 then it was 3-1 and 3-2 and I know what that does, it wears on you, it gets in your head. Guys might say it doesn't, but it does."

Moose defenceman Mark Fistric said his team has momentum, but should worry more about one game and one game alone.

"I think we feel we do (have momentum) but obviously our backs are against the wall," Fistric said. "We have to push for a Game 7 but our focus has to be a one-game mentality."

Moose coach Scott Arniel said Tuesday's 3-2 victory has to be worth something.

"I guess a little bit," Arniel said. "We do (have momentum), coming home to our building and how loud and lively it's going to be in here.

"I know one thing, that Hershey does not want this to go to seven. But momentum's going to last one or two shifts and then after that, it's going to be who wants it."

Arniel said the focus Fistric talked about will be essential.

"For us, it can't be just because we're here we're satisfied," he said.

To win the Calder Cup, the Moose need a three-game winning streak. It's a tall order in the final round, but they've pulled off that number eight different times this season, including a 10-game streak in these playoffs and winning runs of nine and six three times during the regular season.

The Bears look like they'll make a lineup change tonight, inserting forward Darren Reid for forward Mathieu Perreault.

Head coach Bob Woods pronounced his team ready after its morning skate.

"We're excited," Woods said. "Everybody knows what's ahead of them, what the potential could be and the atmosphere you're going to get to play in front of. It's going to be a great experience for these guys.

"I know they'll be ready to play."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

While the bandwagon grows, the only front-to-back, season-long coverage of the Moose is available in the Free Press and on www.winnipegfreepress.com, where you can also follow our Cover It Live game blog for tonight's Game 6.

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