The Manitoba Moose have cut their American Hockey League Central Division Semifinal workload in half.
After opening the best-of-five series with back-to-back losses in Milwaukee, the Moose have halved their workload, by way of a Game 3 victory in downtown Winnipeg on Wednesday night.
Following what has been the overall shape of the series, Manitoba fell behind again on Wednesday, trailing 2-0 after one period. But it was in the middle stanza that the Moose came alive. The team scored five-unanswered tallies, with five different players lighting the lamp in the lively comeback.
“Confidence is huge, Moose head coach Mark Morrison said post-game. “Especially with a group that doesn’t have a lot of playoff experience. We’re on the bench and we’re a little bit snake-bitten. Last game we had 42 shots with only one going in the net. They’re thinking that as we sit on the bench. So, after the first one went in, good. But after the second went in I thought we played way better. Now we’re coming and guys are forechecking and making passes, the execution was good.”
After Winnipeg product Cody Glass opened the scoring just 21 seconds into the game, Jimmy Huntington added to the Admirals’ lead late in the frame with his second of the postseason. Ville Heinola found Morgan Barron for his second of the playoffs early on in a second period power play. And then after Jeff Malott tied the game for Manitoba, Leon Gawanke got the team’s second goal with the man advantage before time ran out on the second period.
Nick Jones and Luke Johnson each scored their first goals of the playoffs near the middle of the third period. Despite a shaky start, goaltender Mikhail Berdin played his best hockey in the second and third, picking up a 21-save victory – his first of the postseason. Defenceman Gawanke and Declan Chisholm each finished the game a +2 with two points apiece. The Moose put up 35 shots on Admirals’ netminder Devin Cooley who managed just 30 stops.
Now trailing 2-1 in the five-game series, Manitoba will look to keep the good times rolling on Friday in the second of what the club hopes to be three-straight games from Canada Life Centre. Game 4 will be held at 7:00 PM on Friday, and can be viewed live on TSN. Tickets for that game can still be purchased at MooseHockey.com/TICKETS.