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This article was published 15/4/2009 (4134 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
So much for six straight losses to the Toronto Marlies. Make it seven.
The visiting Marlies took a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-seven AHL North Division semifinal with a 3-2 overtime win over the Manitoba Moose on Wednesday night.
Toronto's Bates Battaglia scored at 5:28 of the first overtime period as Andre Deveaux took the puck off Manitoba defenceman Mark Fistric and swept in before zipping a pass to the veteran Battaglia who made no mistake, slipping the puck past Moose goalie Cory Schneider.
The Marlies ran off six straight wins against the Moose in the regular season and have now straddled into the playoffs with that streak.
Manitoba appeared tentative in the extra frame as if they were afraid to lose and that's exactly what happened.
Overtime requires a killer instinct and the Moose looked more on the run than in the hunt.
The Moose finished the regular season with the best record in the AHL while the Marlies qualified for the playoffs on the last weekend of the schedule. But no matter -- the underdogs now have the hammer in this series and the Moose had better find their confidence and their game in a hurry.
That the series opener went to overtime should have surprised no one and this series should prove long and hard fought.
The building wasn't full with an announced attendance of 6,560 but those in attendance worked hard to keep the building buzzing all night.
Game 2 is set for Friday night at MTS Centre (7:30 p.m., CJOB). The series will then switch to Toronto for Games 3, 4 and 5 (if needed).
The Moose would host both Game 6 and 7 if the series was to go that long.
After spending the better part of two weeks reading and hearing about their sluggish play the Moose shook off the regular-season doldrums in a hurry and came out crisp and eager on Wednesday night.
But big expectations may have played a role in the Moose squeezing their sticks a little too tight and they fail to capitalize on some early chances and allowed the Marlies to get their bearings. Neither club scored in the first.
The Marlies worked hard and gave up little in their own zone and finally got a breakthrough at 6:34 of the second period when Kyle Rogers put just a smidgen of room between himself and Moose winger P.C. Labrie and whipped a wrist shot that goalie Cory Schneider somehow fanned on.
Manitoba immediately responded when Guillaume Desbiens slipped a wraparound past Marlies goalie Justin Pogge on the power play. The goal came 35 second after the opening goal.
Ryan Hamilton put the Marlies back in front when he pushed the puck past Schneider after linemate Alex Foster got deep into the Moose zone and cut to the net, shedding defender Nolan Baumgartner on the way.
Manitoba's Ray Sawada evened the score at 2-2 as he battled in front of the net and bashed his way to the puck before slipping it behind Pogge with just over three minutes left in the second.
The third period saw the Moose press but the puck seemed to bounce Pogge's way and he kept it out of his net, despite his club being outshot 38-22 in regulation play.
Game 2: Friday at Winnipeg, the MTS Centre (7:30 p.m.)
Game 3: Sunday at Toronto, Ricoh Coliseum (3 p.m.)
Game 4: Tuesday at Toronto, Ricoh Coliseum (6 p.m.)
Game 5: April 23 at Toronto, Ricoh Coliseum (6 p.m.)
Game 6: April 25 at Winnipeg, the MTS Centre (7:30 p.m.)
Game 7: April 28 at Winnipeg, the MTS Centre (7:30 p.m.)
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