The Maple Leafs battled down to the wire in the regular season to gain home-ice advantage in their division semifinal series with Manitoba.
In one night, it was gone.
Lee Goren scored two goals, including the game-winner with 6:58 left in regulation, as the Moose defeated St. John’s, 5-3, on Wednesday night at Mile One Stadium.
Goren added an assist for a three-point night and Ryan Kesler recorded a goal and an assist for Manitoba. Wade Flaherty, the MVP of last year’s Calder Cup Playoffs, got the call in net and made 29 saves for his eighth straight postseason win.
Rookie defenseman Kevin Bieksa and Josh Green also scored for the Moose.
Kyle Wellwood and David Ling scored in the third period for the Maple Leafs to erase a 3-1 deficit before Manitoba regained the lead for good.
Game 2 between the clubs is Friday night.
ROCHESTER 3, HAMILTON 1
Paul Gaustad scored two late goals to lift Rochester to a 3-1 win over Hamilton in Game 1 at the Blue Cross Arena.
The Bulldogs were clinging to a 1-0 lead with less than 11 minutes remaining when Norm Milley finally got the Amerks on the board.
Gaustad netted what would be the game-winner with 6:26 left, then added an insurance marker nearly three minutes later.
Ryan Miller finished with 25 saves as Rochester defeated Hamilton for the 13th time in 17 postseason meetings.
Rookie Yann Danis stopped all 21 shots he faced over the first two periods and wound up with 32 stops on the night.
Game 2 is Friday in Rochester.
MILWAUKEE 4, CINCINNATI 2
Simon Gamache and Darren Haydar picked up where they left off last spring, propelling Milwaukee to a 4-2 win over Cincinnati in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series.
Gamache recorded a hat trick and Haydar dished out three assists in the win. Ryan Suter added a goal and an assist and Brian Finley made 27 saves for his first career playoff win.
Haydar led the AHL with 26 points in the 2004 Calder Cup Playoffs; Gamache was second with 24 points.
Milwaukee scored on three consecutive power plays in a span of 7:26 late in the first period, turning a one-goal deficit into a two-goal lead. Gamache capped his three-goal night ealy in the second, making it 4-1.
Joffrey Lupul and Dustin Penner scored for the Mighty Ducks.