MANITOBA 2, HAMILTON 1 (2OT)
Mario Bliznak took a perfect feed from rookie Jordan Schroeder and roofed it past Hamilton goaltender Drew MacIntyre at 11:54 of the second overtime to give Manitoba a 2-1 win over the Bulldogs on Wednesday, evening the North Division Finals at two games apiece.
Game 5 is set for the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on Friday night before the series shifts back to Hamilton for Game 6 on Sunday.
The teams traded chances in end-to-end hockey during the first overtime before the physical challenges of games on back-to-back nights appeared to take its toll in the second extra session courtesy of multiple icings by both sides.
The winning sequence began when a defensive breakdown by Hamilton led to Schroeder corralling the puck near the top of the left face-off circle. The former first-round draft pick sent a pass through the slot and between the legs of a defender to Bliznak, who one-timed it over MacIntyre’s glove side.
It marked Bliznak’s first goal of these playoffs, and defenseman Yann Sauve also picked up an assist on the play.
Rookie Gabriel Dumont gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead on the power play in the second period, but Moose forward Guillaume Desbiens tied it up with just 2:02 left in regulation. Bliznak earned an assist on that goal, which was also Desbiens’s first of the postseason.
Moose rookie goaltender Eddie Lack stopped 43 of 44 shots in the winning effort, while MacIntyre was saddled with the loss despite making 32 stops.
North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. N3-Manitoba Moose || Preview
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 28 – HAMILTON 4, Manitoba 1
Game 2 – Sun., May 1 – HAMILTON 4, Manitoba 2
Game 3 – Tue., May 3 – MANITOBA 5, Hamilton 4
Game 4 – Wed., May 4 – MANITOBA 2, Hamilton 1 (2OT)
Game 5 – Fri., May 6 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 6 – Sun., May 8 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 7 – Mon., May 9 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 7:30