Moose stomps Admirals 7-3 to push series to Game 5

Players from the Winnipeg Jets’ top affiliate created playoff t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Caution: Moose Crossing.” And the visiting Milwaukee Admirals certainly looked staggering in the headlights Friday night as they were chased off the road by a surging Manitoba team that has now gained momentum in their first-round series. .

A dominating 7-3 victory by the Moose in front of 4,980 fans at the Canada Life Center is the second consecutive triumph on home ice and sets up a Game 5 Sunday afternoon win-win at the downtown rink .

“Playoffs. That’s what it’s all about,” said defenseman Ville Heinola, the organization’s brightest blue-line prospect who had the game-winning goal and two assists. Not to be outdone was forward Morgan Barron, who made a great first impression with the Jets after leaving the New York Rangers in the trade with Andrew Copp, with one goal and two assists. Four other players had multipoint games.

“The lineup is so deep. Any night we can have guys anywhere in the lineup,” Barron said. “I feel like when we move out there, we roll all four lines and keep offensive zone time.”

Milwaukee took a 2-0 series lead by taking the two to their barn last week, riding stellar goalie Devin Cooley who stopped 83 of 86 shots. Cooley got the call in Game 3 and wasn’t as snappy, allowing five goals on 35 shots as Manitoba avoided elimination with a 5-2 win. That meant riding the pine in Game 4, with starting goalie Connor Ingram back on the farm after starting three playoff games with the parents of the Nashville Predators in their sweep at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche.

The Moose were clearly out of phase. They beat Ingram seven times on 45 shots to skate with this one.


Admirals player Rocco Grimaldi skates past Moose Ville defenseman Heinola during the first period on Friday.

“I feel like we have bodies in front of the net, we screen the keeper and make it difficult for him,” Heinola said of his club which exploded for a dozen goals in the last two games.

Barron started the scoring group just 6:22 from the start of the game, his third in as many games. Early returns on the 23-year-old Barron are promising, and that could make the Copp a pretty good trade, given they also nabbed a pair of second-round draft picks for the pending unrestricted free agent.

The lead lasted just 61 seconds, as Mikhail Berdin swung out of his net to play a puck, putting it straight into the boards of Milwaukee’s Brayden Burke, who will never score such an easy goal in his life. . Berdin can do a lot of good things outside his territory, often acting as a third defender, but he can also be his own (and his team’s) worst enemy at times.

Manitoba regained the lead a few minutes later, as captain Jimmy Oligny made a great play at the Milwaukee blue line to keep the puck in the offensive zone, then fed Evan Polei into the crevice for the Fire goal. green. Milwaukee tied again later in the first quarter, as Cole Smith slipped a one-timer past Berdin – barely – with his team on the power play.

The Moose started the second period with a power play, which quickly turned into an extended 5-on-3. David Gustafsson nearly scored as he brushed the crossbar, but it’s as close as it gets.

Perhaps the turning point of the match came when the first penalized player, Matt Donovan, came out of the box and was thrown on a still shorthanded breakaway, only to be denied by Berdin. One goal there and it could have been an entirely different game.

“Oh man, that was big,” Heinola said.

Moose player CJ Suess intercepts a pass from Admirals player Tommy Novak.


Moose player CJ Suess intercepts a pass from Admirals player Tommy Novak.

Just minutes later, Oligny made another excellent build-up, this time to Nicholas Jones, who deflected a slapped pass past Ingram to give Manitoba their third one-goal lead. The men in stripes were certainly happy on the whistle that night, and the Moose got another 5-3 advantage later in the period. This time they made the Admirals pay, as Heinola fired a perfect wrist shot into traffic to make it 4-2.

Declan Chisholm entered the action late in the second period, finding a shooting lane from the point and scoring his second of the series. The young defenseman also has five assists, giving him seven points in four games to lead all skaters on both teams.

Milwaukee’s Joseph LaBate hit a loose puck through Berdin midway through the third, but Mikey Eyssimont and Luke Johnson were officially routs later in the period.

The Moose went 2 for 5 on the power play, while the Admirals went 1 for 4. Berdin finished with 22 saves on 25 shots.

“These are the games you want to play,” Barron said of it all boiling down to 60 minutes (or more) to determine a series winner. “There’s going to be a lot of excitement in the dressing room.”

The Sunday puck drop is at 2 p.m.

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Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

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