Moose trample Admirals 7-3 to push series to Game 5

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Players on the Winnipeg Jets top affiliate have created T-shirts for the playoffs bearing the slogan “Caution: Moose Crossing.” And the visiting Milwaukee Admirals certainly had a deer-in-headlights look on Friday night as they were run off the road by a surging Manitoba squad that has now seized momentum in their first-round series.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/05/2022 (271 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Players on the Winnipeg Jets top affiliate have created T-shirts for the playoffs bearing the slogan “Caution: Moose Crossing.” And the visiting Milwaukee Admirals certainly had a deer-in-headlights look on Friday night as they were run off the road by a surging Manitoba squad that has now seized momentum in their first-round series.

A dominant 7-3 victory by the Moose in front of 4,980 fans at Canada Life Centre is the second straight do-or-die triumph on home ice and sets up a Sunday afternoon, winner-take-all Game 5 at the downtown rink.

“Playoffs. That’s what this is all about,” said defenceman Ville Heinola, the brightest blue-line prospect in the organization who had the game-winning goal and two assists. Not to be outdone was forward Morgan Barron, who made a terrific first impression with the Jets after coming over from the New York Rangers in the Andrew Copp trade, with a goal and two assists. Four other players had multi-point games.

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Manitoba Moose player Morgan Barron celebrates after scoring in Game 4 against the Milwaukee Admirals Friday at Canada Life Centre.

“The lineup’s so deep. On any given night we can have guys anywhere in the lineup produce,” said Barron. “I feel like when we get rolling out there, we’re rolling all four lines and sustaining offensive zone time.”

Milwaukee raced out to a 2-0 series lead by taking both in their barn last week, riding the stellar goaltending of Devin Cooley who turned away 83 of 86 shots. Cooley got the call in Game 3 and wasn’t quite as sharp, giving up five goals on 35 shots as Manitoba staved off elimination with a 5-2 win. That meant riding the pine in Game 4, with starting netminder Connor Ingram back on the farm after starting three playoff games with the parent Nashville Predators in their sweep at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche.

The Moose clearly weren’t phased. They beat Ingram seven times on 45 shots to skate away with this one.

“I feel like we’re getting bodies in front of the net, screening the goalie and making it hard for him,” Heinola said of his club exploding for a dozen goals over the past two games.

Barron got the scoring party started just 6:22 into the game, his third in as many games. The early returns on the 23-year-old Barron are promising, and it could make the Copp trade a pretty good one, considering they also grabbed a pair of second-round draft picks for the pending unrestricted free agent.

The lead lasted just 61 seconds, as Mikhail Berdin wandered out of his net to play a puck, putting it right on to the tape of Milwaukee’s Brayden Burke, who will never score an easier goal in his life. Berdin can do a lot of great things outside his crease, often acting as a third defenceman, but he can also be his (and his team’s) worst enemy at times.

Manitoba jumped back in front a few minutes later, as captain Jimmy Oligny made a great play at the Milwaukee blue-line to keep the puck in the offensive zone, then fed Evan Polei in the slot for the go-ahead goal. Milwaukee tied it again later in the opening frame, as Cole Smith snuck a one-timer past Berdin — barely — with his team on the power play.

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Admirals player Rocco Grimaldi skates past Moose defenceman Ville Heinola during the first period Friday.

The Moose began the second period with a power play, and it quickly turned into an extended 5-on-3. David Gustafsson came close to scoring by grazing the crossbar, but that’s as close as they’d come.

Perhaps the turning point of the game happened as the first penalized player, Matt Donovan, stepped out of the box and was sprung on a still-shorthanded breakaway, only to be denied by Berdin. A goal there and it might have been an entirely different game.

“Oh man it was big,” said Heinola.

Just a couple minutes later, Oligny made another great set-up, this time to Nicholas Jones, who tipped a slap-pass past Ingram to give Manitoba its third one-goal lead. The men in stripes were certainly whistle happy on the night, and the Moose got another 5-on-3 advantage later in the period. This time, they made the Admirals pay, as Heinola wired a perfect wrist shot through traffic to make it 4-2.

Declan Chisholm got in on the action near the end of the second period, finding a shooting lane from the point and scoring his second of the series. The young defenceman also has five assists, giving him seven points through four games to lead all skaters on both teams.

Milwaukee’s Joseph LaBate batted a loose puck by Berdin midway through the third, but Mikey Eyssimont and Luke Johnson officially made it a rout later in the period.

The Moose went 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Admirals went 1-for-4. Berdin finished with 22 saves on 25 shots.

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Moose player C.J. Suess intercepts a pass by Admirals player Tommy Novak.

“These are the games you want to play,” Barron said of it all coming down to 60 minutes (or more) to determine a series winner. “There’s going to be a lot of excitement in the locker room.”

Puck drop Sunday is 2 pm.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

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.

History

Updated on Friday, May 13, 2022 10:20 PM CDT: Adds photos

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