HAMILTON, Ont. – The Manitoba Moose showed they won’t be intimidated if they face the Hamilton Bulldogs in the first round of the American Hockey League playoffs.
Cory Schneider made 34 saves and team scoring leader Marco Rosa had two assists as the Moose beat the Western Conference leading Bulldogs 2-1 Tuesday. Sergei Shirokov had a goal and an assist for the Moose (38-33-7), while Evan Oberg had the other goal.
Maxime Lacroix scored the lone goal for Hamilton (51-17-10).
The win provided some redemption for the Moose, who lost 7-1 to Hamilton on March 24 and fell 6-2 on Sunday.
Lacroix scored his first of the season after lazy defending left him alone in the slot. Lacroix fired a wrist shot that fooled Moose goalie Cory Schneider.
That was all the scoring until three minutes into the third period, when a slapshot by Manitoba defenceman Oberg on a five-on-three power play deflected off Hamilton forward Dany Masse’s stick past Hamilton goalie Cedrick Desjardins.
Shirokov added another for the Moose four minutes later, whacking at a rolling puck outside the goal crease. It took a weird hop, fluttering over Desjardins’ right pad.
The Moose sit in fourth place in the North Division, two points back of the Abbotsford Heat. If Manitoba can tie the Heat in points, they’ll avoid the Bulldogs in the first round of the playoffs and face the Rochester Americans instead.
Schneider made his 58th start of the season, tying the franchise record set by Fred Brathwaite in 1996-97.
Desjardins stopped 22 shots. His team was a dismal 0-7 on the power play.
Notes: Hamilton and Manitoba split the season series this year with four wins each. … The Moose were missing forward Matt Pettinger, who was called up by the Vancouver Canucks before the game. … The Bulldogs were missing forward Max Pacioretty, who re-injured his shoulder Sunday against the Moose.