Manitoba Moose win again, but no closer to playoff berth

Mason Appleton broke a two-all tie with under four minutes left in regulation time to give the Manitoba Moose a much-needed two points.

The Moose picked up a crucial 3-2 victory as they beat the division-leading Bakersfield Condors for the second day in a row.

Charles-David Beaudoin and Logan Shaw scored the other markers for Manitoba.

“They’re in first for a reason in their division,” Appleton said.

“But we weathered the storm, and then from there, we started getting into our game. We had a couple good possession shifts in the second, and it was great win overall. We kept fighting, and didn’t give up.”

The Moose were badly outplayed in the opening period as they were outshot by the Condors 15-4, but it remained scoreless after 20 minutes of play. The Moose played shorthanded for almost half the period after Marko Dano was ejected for a hit on Ethan Bear. Dano received a five minute major for checking from behind, but the Moose managed to successfully kill the penalty off.

The Moose turned the tables on the Condors in the middle frame. Manitoba outshot Bakersfield 14-6 in the second stanza to take a 2-1 lead to the third period.

“We had a good push,” head coach Pascal Vincent said. “We created some scoring chances because we were touching the puck first after a chance. We were supporting the puck on the entries, and our forecheck was good. So the second period was extremely well played.”

William Lagesson tied the game for the Condors four minutes into the third. But Appleton whacked in a loose puck with just 3:28 remaining to give the Moose the win.

“Our mentality is just [to] play playoff hockey,” Shaw said.

“It’s kind of nice right now that we’re playing good teams, too, coming down to the stretch.”

Moose goalie Mikhail Berdin was a big factor for the Moose once again. He made several key stops and finished the game with 29 saves.

Luke Esposito had the other goal for the Condors as they lost a third straight game for the first time this season.

The Milwaukee Admirals also won on Wednesday, so the Moose remain tied for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division.

Both teams have just five games remaining, but they’re now within two points of the third place Iowa Wild.

The Moose continue their four-game homestand on Saturday against the Stockton Heat.

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