In the first playoff game in franchise history, the Lake Erie Monsters scored three times in the second period and held off Manitoba for a 6-4 victory in Game 1 of their North Division semifinal series.
Attendance at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday afternoon was 7,908 for the first AHL playoff game since 2004 in Cleveland, which has a storied postseason history as home to the nine-time Calder Cup champion Barons from 1936-72.
Game 2 is set for Sunday afternoon.
Matthew Ford scored twice in his AHL postseason debut, opening the scoring off a Manitoba turnover 3:27 into the game.
Justin Mercier pulled the Monsters even on a shorthanded breakaway early in the second period, then regained the lead on Ben Walter’s power-play goal at 10:40. Lake Erie made it 4-2 on Ryan Stoa’s one-timer at 17:33.
The Moose cut the deficit in half on Rosa’s second goal of the game just 20 seconds into the third period. Lake Erie answered at 13:18 on Ford’s second goal, chasing Eddie Lack (19 saves) in favor of former Monsters goaltender Tyler Weiman.
Lake Erie’s Jason Bacashihua, whose only previous playoff action was a single appearance in 2003, earned his first career postseason win with 21 saves.