Moose seal the deal

Dispose of pesky Marlies in 6, now it's onto AHL North Division final

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Their finishing kick has sent the Manitoba Moose into the next round.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/04/2009 (4975 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Their finishing kick has sent the Manitoba Moose into the next round.

The Moose rallied with two goals in the third period Saturday night at the MTS Centre for a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Marlies, winning the best-of-seven series in six games.

Manitoba won the final three games of the series by performing its best in third periods, outscoring Toronto 8-0 in final period of those games.

The crowd of 10,947, the biggest of the series, had to wait until late to start raising the roof but went home happy after Matt Pope and Ray Sawada scored in the first seven minutes of the third to erase Toronto’s 2-1 lead through 40 minutes. Guillaume Desbiens put the dagger in the Marlies when he scored his third of the series with 4:14 left, the product of a great offensive cycling shift.

Saturday was the first time in the series the Moose had trailed after two periods. Overall, they are now 7-17 in AHL playoff games when behind after two.

Marlies coach Greg Gilbert made the shocking move of the series Saturday night, starting 26-year-old back-up Adam Munro, who played 26 games for the team this season.

No. 1 netminder Justin Pogge, who had looked sharp early in this series, was very ordinary in the third periods of each of the last two games.

The move appeared to be paying off when the Marlies struck for two second-period goals and Munro was keeping the Moose at bay with 21 saves on 22 shots. But Manitoba was again just too strong in the final stages of a game, this time outshooting the Marlies 33-15 on the game and breaking through early in the final period.

The Moose will now await the winner of the Grand Rapids-Hamilton series, which continues tonight in Hamilton with Grand Rapids ahead 3-2. The next round will start here, likely next weekend.

In their three wins in this series, the Moose have scored six power-play goals but had none Saturday night.

And that led to some anxious moments for the big crowd.

If you wanted to pinpoint the trouble, it could likely have been that Manitoba’s first three power plays yielded nothing.

They had three sloppy infractions by the Marlies to reinforce the message of Games 4 and 5, that the penalty box was going to be a painful place in terms of the scoreboard.

After those three opportunities went for naught, P.C. Labrie was sent out of the game by referee Francois St. Laurent, who ruled that his hit from behind on Toronto defenceman Andy Rogers was sufficiently strong enough to warrant the major.

The Moose killed that five minutes very well, but then squandered a fourth power play early in the second period.

On that minor call, many in the building wondered what was the difference between Labrie’s foul and that of Ryan Hollweg, whose check from behind sent the head of Moose defenceman Zack Fitzgerald bouncing off the glass like a rubber ball.

When the power play was gone, Tim Stapleton squared the game after Schneider’s rim-around clear went to Toronto’s Bates Battaglia. He wasted no time with a pass across the slot and Stapleton had it home before Schneider was ready.

Sixty-nine seconds later, Alex Foster stepped into a slapshot on a Toronto rush and Schneider didn’t get enough of his glove on the puck, which flipped up in the air and then down, dropping over the goal line.

One more Manitoba power play went unfinished through two periods, making the tally zip for five.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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