WINNIPEG – The Manitoba Moose didn’t want to mess with their Game 1 success, so they did their best to repeat it Saturday.
Manitoba forward Alexandre Bolduc’s shorthanded goal, his second marker in two games, lead the Moose to a 2-1 victory over the Grand Rapids’ Griffins in Game 2 of the AHL North Division final.
Bolduc scored a shorthanded goal at 4:34 of the first period and Jason Krog added one more in the second that stood up as the eventual game winner.
Darren McCarty’s power-play marker in the second period was the only goal the Griffins got past Schneider, the AHL’s goaltender of the year.
The result was identical to Manitoba’s 2-1 win Friday, and they now take a 2-0 series lead with heading into Game 3 at Grand Rapids, Mich., on Monday.
While he was happy with the result, Moose head coach Scott Arniel felt that his team still has a lot of work to do if they’re going to capture the series.
“We wanted to be good in our own building,” he said. “We started the game great, then we got away from what we wanted to do. Both nights we came out very, very strong and then lapsed.
“We also have to get our power play working, not only here but on the road. The next three games are in their building and we’re still a work in progress.”
Schneider was brilliant in net, turning aside 28 shots while Griffins goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped 19 shots.
Manitoba opened the scoring in the first with Nolan Baumgartner in the penalty box for roughing. On a hard forecheck, Bolduc freed up the puck from behind the Griffins’ net and carried it in front of Howard, beating him in the far corner for the shorthanded goal at 4:34.
It was almost 11 minutes into the game before the Griffins registered their first shot on goal. They came on in the latter half to outshoot the Moose 7-5 as they went to the attack.
McCarty scored at 6:31 of the second and just 15 seconds into a power play when he deflected Brian Lashoff’s shot to knot the game at one.
Manitoba replied at 10:10 after Bolduc raced down the left side, went around the defence and set up Krog who slapped the puck into the net to make it 2-1.
At 13:52 of the second, with the whistle having been blown, Aaron Downey skated through the Moose crease and sent Schneider backwards into the net with a hard charge. Downey received a minor and a major penalty but the Moose failed to capitalize on the ensuing power play.
Arniel called out the Griffins after the game for their treatment of Schneider.
“Some of the stuff they did was bush,” he said. “They knocked Cory down five times but he didn’t get rattled.”
Griffins’ head coach Curt Fraser disagreed with Arniel, but stopped short of saying his team didn’t give Schneider a hard time.
“We were the least penalized team in the league,” he stated. “It’s just good, hard, playoff hockey. It’s a man’s game.
“You’ve got to give the Moose a lot of credit though. They’ve got a big, tough team and it’s hard to figure them out.”
Pressing for the equalizer in the final minutes of the game, Grand Rapids took two costly minor penalties when Ville Leino was sent off for tripping at 17:15 and in the last minute Justin Abdelkader took an interference minor at 19:15 to help the Moose preserve the victory.