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Moose rally past Griffins to open North Finals


MANITOBA 2, GRAND RAPIDS 1

Held scoreless through the first two periods, Manitoba struck for two goals in the first three minutes of the third frame to erase a 1-0 deficit and claim a 2-1 win over Grand Rapids on Friday at the MTS Centre in Game 1 of the North Division Finals.

The regular-season champion Moose will take a 1-0 series lead into Game 2 on Saturday night.

The Griffins struck first when rookie Francis Pare scored his first career Calder Cup Playoff goal with just 1:56 to play in the opening period. Jason Jozsa and Jan Mursak picked up assists on the tally.

Grand Rapids held the 1-0 lead through the second period, but Manitoba went on the power play when Cory Emmerton was whistled for hooking at 19:16 of the middle frame. The Moose converted at the tail end of the man advantage when Alexandre Bolduc lit the lamp at 1:16 of the third stanza, with assists going to Raymond Sawada and Jason Krog.

Moose captain Mike Keane then gave his club the lead for good just 1:49 later, scoring his first goal of the postseason with the help of Mark Cullen and Bolduc.

Manitoba nursed the one-goal advantage the rest of the way and secured its fourth consecutive victory. Moose goaltender Cory Schneider stopped 21 of 22 shots in the winning effort.

Jimmy Howard made 32 saves in net for the Griffins, who dropped their first road contest of the playoffs after capturing three consecutive victories in their opening-round ouster of Hamilton.

Attendance at the MTS Centre for Game 1 was 7,572.

North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
N1-Manitoba Moose vs. N3-Grand Rapids Griffins
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Game 1 – Fri., May 1 – MANITOBA 2, Grand Rapids 1
Game 2 – Sat., May 2 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 3 – Mon., May 4 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 6 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 8 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sun., May 10 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 7 – Tue., May 12 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30