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Long wait pays off in Cleveland

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.

Complete postseason schedule and results

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.

Marco Rosa, who had a four-point game for the Moose, tied the score at 6:50 and then set up Sergei Shirokov at 13:46 to give Manitoba a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.

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.

Manitoba got a shorthanded goal from Kevin Connauton with 3:04 remaining in regulation, but Mark Olver capped the Monsters’ victory with an empty-net goal in the final minute.

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.