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Schneider brings it back home

Goalie stands on head as Moose force Game 6 at MTS Centre

HERSHEY, Pa. -- Facing the end of the road, Manitoba Moose coach Scott Arniel's stay in Hershey turned on an unexpected sight.

With amused optimism, he took a picture on Monday of a life-sized display in the local fishing and hunting mega-store and emailed it to GM Craig Heisinger.

Bears' Alexandre Giroux can't fight through Mark Fistric and Alexandre Bolduc to get a shot on Cory Schneider.

SEAN SIMMERS / THE PATRIOT-NEWS

Bears' Alexandre Giroux can't fight through Mark Fistric and Alexandre Bolduc to get a shot on Cory Schneider.

It was a moose gauging an attacking bear with his pointed rack.

It wasn't quite that bloody inside the equally untame Giant Center Tuesday night, but the skating Moose got the best of this one, too, beating the Hershey Bears 3-2 in Game 5 to help them re-capture home-ice advantage in the best-of-seven Calder Cup final. The Bears now lead 3-2.

Now, the Cup goes to Winnipeg. Game 6 is at the MTS Centre on Friday night and if the Bears can't win it then, Game 7 is Sunday in the same spot, an edge the Moose earned by finishing first overall in the regular season.

"We have a guy in our room there that was absolutely outstanding," Arniel said, recounting how the visitors were saved from elimination by their goalie, Cory Schneider. "While we were standing around being spectators for two periods, he was putting on a one-man show. He's the guy all the credit has to go to."

The Moose were obviously outplayed for 36 minutes but amazingly took the lead with goals by Michael Grabner and Cody Hodgson just 67 seconds apart late in the second period.

The shots at that point were 21-10 Hershey, but the quick pair was a huge shower of rain on the Hershey parade. The Bears and their fans (10,860 Tuesday) hadn't clinched a Cup at home in 29 years.

"We've got to go up there and do the same thing they did to us, rain on the parade," Hershey coach Bob Woods said.

There's little doubt that however it goes, Schneider, the AHL's goalie of the year, belongs in the series' first car. He ended the night with 31 saves and fortunately for him, his team played much better after it scored.

But they were nowhere without him.

"I figured it would be like that all series, especially in a do-or-die game," Schneider said.

"You're goalie's got to be your best guy, especially on the road. It took us a little while to get going but that's my job, keep us in the game, give us a chance to win.

"We've taken a lot of punishment from them and our fans. Their crowd has been great but we're going to be excited to get home and play in front of our fans."

Schneider remembered saying little to his mates during the game.

"I just do what I need to do," he said. "I want to be the guy they can trust back there."

Grabner, who stuffed the puck past Michal Neuvirth for the game's opening goal at 17 minutes of the middle period, said Schneider was just himself on Tuesday.

"Schneids kept us in all year and we were banking on him playing good," he said. "Everyone was feeding off his big saves and his emotion.

"And I think you can see we were playing better after we scored. We were putting them on their heels a little and we got a lot more chances. Now we're going home and we have to put the push on them."

Manitoba actually outshot Hershey 15-9 in the third, which wasn't without a wild finish.

Moose centre Jason Krog scored an empty-netter at 18:39 but the Bears followed with a goalie-pulled marker from John Carlson at 19:29.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.c


 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 10, 2009 C1

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