ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Mathieu Schneider figured he was due for a lucky bounce.
Cory Schneider made 25 saves for his third shutout and Mathieu Schneider scored the game-winning goal less than a minute into the first period as the Manitoba Moose defeated the Abbotsford Heat 3-0 in American Hockey League action Wednesday.
Mathieu Schneider opened the scoring on the power play when he one-timed a feed from Evan Oberg past a screened Matt Keetley.
“It was just a matter of time before one went in something is going to bounce,” Schneider said.
Manitoba (23-15-5) made it 2-0 by the time the opening period reached the halfway mark as Guillame Desbiens stripped the puck from Heat forward David Van Der Gulik in the Abbotsford zone and managed to beat Keetley low glove side.
The Moose continued their sound defensive play through the second despite being outshot 11-9 in the period.
“I thought tonight we played a really good team game,” said Mathieu Schneider. “I think we’re pretty evenly matched against those guys. We got the early lead and that was the difference.”
The second game of the back-to-back series featured a couple more fights with Tom Maxwell and Garth Murray dropping the gloves in the first.
Early in the second, Desbiens and Ryley Grantham fought and before the period was over J.D. Watt and Travis Ramsey went at it.
Abbotsford (20-17-6) had its best chance of the second with a delayed penalty to the Moose. The Heat worked the puck around to Brett Sutter at the side of the net, but Cory Schneider denied him with a nice glove save.
“He’s stellar, he’s an NHL goalie without a doubt,” said Mathieu Schneider of the Moose starter. “The time he spent with us (in Vancouver), though short lived, in practice he had tremendous work ethic.”
The final frame opened with a bang as Pierre-Cedric Labrie and Grantham fought at centre ice just two seconds in.
With just over a minute remaining Jason Jaffray had an excellent opportunity to break up Scheider’s shutout bid, but was stopped in close.
“It’s tough when you give up two early goals in a game, you’ve dug yourself a big hole and a team like that has a lot of veteran defencemen, guys who have been around for a long time,” said Jaffray. “Schneider didn’t have to make any big saves till the final 10 minutes of the game and he stood tall.”
Desbiens added his second of the night with 26 seconds remaining.
Schneider picked up his 19th win of the season.
Keetley, who was replaced in Tuesday night’s loss by Leland Irving, went the distance picking up his fifth loss of the season.