Away from the frothing Giant Center in Hershey and inside his own quiet, sane office, Manitoba Moose coach Scott Arniel gained a better grasp of Game 5 of this Calder Cup final.
His conclusion: Unbeknownst to some who would just settle for a superficial assessment, goalie Cory Schneider was not the only Moose player on the ice in Tuesday's 3-2 Moose win that extended this best-of-seven title series to tonight's sold-out Game 6 at the MTS Centre. Hershey still leads, 3-2.
"I said down in Hershey after the game that we stood around a little and that Cory saved our butt a little but I went back and watched the game today and actually the first five or six minutes we were real good and parts of that second period we were real good," Arniel told reporters on Thursday while his team was having optional ice time.
"That game and this series has gone in those swings where one team goes hard for three or four minutes and gets all the chances, then it goes the opposite way.
"Maybe they had more of the 60 minutes than we did but we outchanced them in the third 7-3. Maybe I was a little too critical but in saying that, it's all about the ebb and flow in the game and trying not to let, when you do get caught for a few minutes, that you don't let it stay on you."
Schneider made 31 saves but once Hershey's attempt at a game-ending push, as Schneider called it, brought a 0-0 score to the first intermission, things began to change.
"I'm a big believer in karma," said Moose centre Jason Krog, who had two points on Tuesday, including the late empty-netter that sealed that deal. "I think they did take it to us in the first period. They had their fans and all the momentum going into the game and at the same time I thought we were pretty good at getting into shot lanes and Schneids made the first saves and our D-men and forwards were clearing the puck so there were no second opportunities.
"And once we weathered that storm, relaxed and just got to playing, I thought that we played better for the second half of the game and deserved as much as them to win the game."
What bearing does all of that have on tonight's game?
Probably not much, other than to dispel the notion the Moose were undeserving in Hershey.
They expect to be better in their own rink and have been in these playoffs, 8-2 at home vs. 6-5 on the road.
More likely to be a factor tonight is special teams. There are bound to be more than the two power plays that were awarded Tuesday. How that's possible in a more brutal battle than Game 1, which featured 15 plus a penalty shot, only NHL director of officiating Steve Walkom knows for sure.
The Bears, after saying earlier in the series five-on-five was their strong suit, were not happy about their power play getting just one chance on Tuesday.
"I'd complain the exact same way, that there weren't power plays for us," Arniel said Thursday. "I know they have a dangerous power play but in the same sense, if you're going tit for tat and all the penalties that should have been called, in my opinion we'd have been on the plus side of them.
"There were some ugly things going on in that game and there should have been a lot more penalties called."
Calder Cup flash
Series: Hershey leads the Moose in the best-of-seven championship series 3-2.
Game 6: Tonight, MTS Centre, 7:30 p.m. (CJOB, winnipegfreepress.com, MTS-TV, Shaw)
Game 7: if necessary, Sunday, MTS Centre, 7:30 p.m. (CJOB, winnipegfreepress.com, MTS-TV, Shaw)
Tickets: Sorry, both games are sold out (15,003).
Records, already: The final sets a record tonight for most fans to watch an AHL series and a final. With a sellout of 15,003, series attendance will be 77,038. Even before tonight's game, the Moose were also guaranteed to be the playoff leaders in attendance. Tonight's loud crowd will make it more than 116,000 in MTS Centre in the post-season.
Ins, outs: Bears coach Bob Woods said after Game 5 that D Sami Lepisto, who hasn't played in the playoffs, is cleared for action. The Moose seem likely to use D Nathan McIver again after inserting him Tuesday for only his ninth start of the playoffs. C Cody Hodgson, who was a healthy scratch in Game 4 but scored a goal in Game 5, is a good bet to stay in.