WINNIPEG – Manitoba is still facing elimination, but Peter Olvecky wasn’t showing any anxiety after his pair of goals helped propel the Moose to a 5-2 win Friday over the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs lead the best-of-seven American Hockey League North Division semifinal series 3-2, with Game 6 set for Sunday in Hamilton.
“I think we’ve got the confidence, for sure, because we won the last game,” said Olvecky, who was acquired by Manitoba at the trade deadline from the Milwaukee Admirals in exchange for veteran forward Marty Murray.
“I think we were the better team today. We just have to play the same way we did today and I think we will win.”
While the Bulldogs were heavily favoured going into the series after winning the division and Western Conference titles with 115 points?28 more points than the Moose?Olvecky puts that in the past.
“It’s different, it’s the playoffs,” said Olvecky, who’s in his fifth AHL season.
“We play one team every night and we know how to play against them and we have to keep going the same way like today.”
The 24-year-old Slovakian scored the game’s first goal on the power play midway through the first period and added another with 43 seconds left in the second.
Manitoba made it 3-0 just 32 seconds into the third on a goal by Aaron Volpatti, but Andre Benoit and David Desharnais replied for Hamilton.
Moose winger Guillaume Desbiens sealed the win with a pair, including an empty-netter with 1:06 left.
Hamilton cruised to 2-0 and 8-2 wins to start the series, while Manitoba won Game 3 by a score of 7-2. The teams went to double-overtime Wednesday with the Bulldogs pulling out a 5-4 victory.
“We won three, they won two so we’re still ahead,” Desharnais said.
“We have (no reason) not to be confident, but we need to be desperate at the same time.”
Moose goalie Cory Schneider turned away 28 shots, while Bulldog Cedrick Desjardins made 17 saves.
“I think Schneider’s play is what gave them a lot in the second period and even the third,” Hamilton head coach Guy Boucher said.
“He made some terrific saves. We went at them. We had (30) shots and we only allowed (22) to the opponent in their barn and they’re fighting for their lives.”
Moose head coach Scott Arniel called the win a team effort.
“Our goaltender was good, but I thought that all four lines, all the (defence), really stepped up,” he said.
Notes: Olvecky played one game in the NHL this season with Nashville and had 11 goals and 34 points in 62 games with Milwaukee. He spent his first four pro seasons with the AHL Houston Aeros, but also played 31 games with the Minnesota Wild in 2008-09. … The Moose were without veteran defenceman Lawrence Nycholat, who was called up by the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.