WINNIPEG – The Toronto Marlies made a surprise goalie change for Game 6 of their AHL North Division semifinal Saturday, and the tactic worked – but only for two periods.
The Manitoba Moose scored three unanswered goals in the third period to eliminate the Toronto Marlies 4-2 in the AHL North Division semifinal.
Matt Pope, Raymond Sawada and Guillaume Desbiens added to Greg Rallo’s first-period goal for Manitoba, which won the series 4-2.
Tim Stapleton and Alex Foster scored for Toronto.
Toronto’s Adam Munro, playing his first game in the series, was strong in goal, stopping 29 shots to give his club every opportunity to send the series to a seventh game.
Manitoba head coach Scott Arniel said his team was caught off-guard by the switch, which saw Munro take over for the struggling Justin Pogge.
“Tonight was a surprise when they started (Adam) Munro, and he was outstanding,” said Arniel.
The Marlies agreed.
“We thought it would be beneficial to try a new goaltender,” said Marlies assistant coach Jim Hughes. “It seemed to work. Munro played a heck of a game.”
Manitoba counterpart Cory Schneider, voted the outstanding goalie in the AHL, needed to make just 13 saves for the win.
“At the end of the day, Cory Schneider was the difference,” said Hughes. “He is going to be an excellent player at the next level, too.”
The Moose will face either the Grand Rapids Griffins or the Hamilton Bulldogs in the division final. Grand Rapids leads the best-of-seven 3-2, with Game 6 set for Sunday in Hamilton.
Rallo opened the scoring at 5:02 of the first period after he pounced on a rebound directly in front of the net and beat an out-of-position Munro on his stick side.
Toronto had an opportunity to tie after Moose forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie slammed Andy Rogers into the end boards and was handed a boarding major and a game misconduct, but the Marlies managed just three shots on goal during the five-minute power play.
The Marlies only had five shots in the second period but they made them count as Stapleton and Foster scored just 69 seconds apart to give Toronto a 2-1 lead.
The Moose caught fire in the third period, starting at 1:45 when Pope beat Munro to tie the game back up.
Sawada scored from a scramble at the edge of the crease at 6:14 to give the Moose a 3-2 lead and with less than five minutes to go, Desbiens suddenly swept across the front of the net and deked Munro for the insurance goal.