MANITOBA 5, HAMILTON 2
The defending Western Conference champions were not ready to bow out of this year’s postseason yet, as Manitoba cruised to a season-saving 5-2 win over Hamilton in Game 5 of the teams’ North Division semifinal at the MTS Centre on Friday.
Manitoba goaltender Cory Schneider turned aside 28 of 30 shots between the pipes, helping the Moose overcome a 30-22 disadvantage in shots on goal, including 16-7 in the third period alone.
The series will now shift back to Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum for Game 6 on Sunday night, with the Moose, who fell to Hershey in last year’s Calder Cup Finals, looking to force a Game 7 on Tuesday.
ABBOTSFORD 3, ROCHESTER 1
Abbotsford jumped out to an early lead and finally held Rochester’s offense at bay en route to a 3-1 win over the Americans on Friday at the Entertainment & Sports Centre in Game 5 of the teams’ North Division semifinal.
The Heat avoided elimination and cut the Americans’ series lead to 3-2, and the teams will now return to western New York for Game 6 of the series on Sunday night.
It wouldn’t be easy for Abbotsford, though, as Rochester veteran Mike York scored before the first period was out to make it a 2-1 contest.
The game remained 2-1 in favor of Abbotsford through the second period and nearly half of the third before Heat forward David Van der Gulik scored unassisted at 9:48 to give his club some breathing room.
Abbotsford held on to win by that 3-1 final, as goaltender David Shantz turned aside 18 of 19 shots in net.
The Heat rebounded after being outscored 14-5 in a pair of home-ice losses to Rochester in Games 3 and 4, and Abbotsford now has a chance to push this series to the limit.