The Manitoba Moose have forced a decisive Game 5 in their best-of-five series with the Milwaukee Admirals.
After starting the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs as poorly as one could imagine, the Moose have battled back from their Game 1 and 2 road losses to pick up back-to-back home wins at Canada Life Centre, tying the series at twos, with the final game now set to be played on Sunday afternoon.
Although losing their first two games of the playoffs, Manitoba actually played better hockey than the home Admirals. Heavily outshooting their opponents, the Moose just couldn’t find the offence on the road.
But since returning to Winnipeg, the team has rediscovered its scoring touch. With 12 goals in its last six periods of hockey, Manitoba is a force to reckon with.
A high-scoring opening period saw both teams score twice, before the Moose added another three tallies in the middle stanza. For the third-straight game, Morgan Barron opened the scoring for Manitoba, picking up his first of three points on the evening. Evan Polei added his first of the playoffs near the midway point of the frame.
“It was good, we kinda talked about that in the dressing room,” Barron said of the Moose scoring I don’t think we started the series with a lead yet till tonight. That was a point of emphasis for us. I thought that was our best start yet. It’s going to be huge to do again Sunday. It’s a lot more difficult coming from behind especially early on.”
After hitting two goal posts on separate five-on-three man advantages, David Gustafsson was able to soak in Ville Heinola’s first of the postseason – a power play marker late in the second period. Nick Jones and Declan Chisholm had the other two goals for Manitoba in the period.
After Joseph LaBate scored midway through the third for Milwaukee, the Moose responded by way of a Mikey Eyssimont power play tally. Manitoba put it out of reach with two minutes remaining, as Luke Johnson got his second of the game, finishing off the Admirals 7-3.
Heinola and Barron each had three points in the victory, while Chisholm, Johnson, Jones and Jimmy Oligny each had two points on the night. 11 total players earned points for the Moose on Friday.
Mikhail Berdin picked up his second win in as many games, turning aside 22 of the 25 shots he faced, bouncing back nicely after a first period giveaway that led to the Admirals’ first goal. Connor Ingram – fresh off a playoff run with the Nashville Predators – only made 37 saves on the 44 shots he faced, giving his coaching staff an interesting decision to make in advance of Game 5 on Sunday night.
The final game of the series will be played at Canada Life Centre on Sunday, with puck drop set for 2:00 PM central time. Tickets can still be purchased at: MooseHockey.com/TICKETS, while the game can be viewed live on TSN.