HAMILTON -- The third time was certainly not a charm for Moose goalie Alex Auld. Auld was pulled for the third time this season on Wednesday night after giving up four goals on 14 shots in a 5-3 loss to the Syracuse Crunch.
Auld, who has started 17 of the past 21 contests, was beaten twice high to the glove side on perfect shots by Brad Moran and Mark Hartigan and once on a nifty passing play during the power play.
That served as little consolation to Auld yesterday as he spoke after the Moose practised.
"As a goalie, you've got to find ways to make those saves -- no matter what," said Auld, who is 20-8-4 with a 2.37 GAA and .916 save percentage in 34 games this season. "I might not have played badly, but I got out-goaltended by their guy (Karl Goehring)."
Moose head coach Randy Carlyle said the only suspect goal was the second one, a chance from in close that Yuri Moscevsky sneaked through Auld's legs on what looked like a fanned shot.
"That one was questionable. To me it was something you weren't expecting," said Carlyle. "(Moscevsky) was almost by the net, but he threw it back and hit it off the inside of (Auld's) leg."
MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMP? Rookie Moose defenceman Kevin Bieksa chuckled when it was suggested to him that he might by the American Hockey League's middleweight champion this season.
Bieksa's latest triumph came Wednesday in a one-sided decision over Crunch forward Steven Goertzen.
"Actually, I don't focus too much on (fighting), but I was taught at a young age to defend myself," said Bieksa, 23, who stands 6-foot-1, weighs 186 pounds and spent the past four seasons at Bowling Green University.
HOCKEY DAD: For a rare night, Carlyle was able to trade in his coaching cap and enjoy the role of a hockey dad.
After putting the Moose through the paces yesterday afternoon at Copps Coliseum, Carlyle made a four-and-a-half hour trek to watch his son Craig play a playoff game in the Golden Horseshoe Junior B (Tier II) League against the Huntsville Muskoka Otters.
Craig, who plays defence and wears No. 7, had five goals, 29 points and 181 penalty minutes in 42 regular-season games for the Aurora Tigers this season.
"It will be different," said Carlyle. "I haven't seen him play this year, and I only saw him twice last year. It's always a positive, but I'll be on the cellphone the whole way up there."
DOUBLE WHAMMY: While Carlyle watched his son, the Moose were able to do an in-person scout of their next two opponents, as the first-place Rochester Americans faced the Hamilton Bulldogs at Copps Coliseum last night.
The Moose close out a three-game road trip tonight against the Bulldogs and host the Amerks next Saturday and Sunday at the MTS Centre. All three games are important North Division matchups.
MORE PROPS FOR WHITE: St. John's Maple Leafs blue-liner Ian White continues to draw raves during his rookie season.
Although Carlo Colaiacovo is often viewed as the top Toronto prospect on the point, White -- a Steinbach product -- hasn't been overlooked.
"He might not be the biggest guy, but he has really carried the load as a first-year defenceman," Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson Jr. told the Toronto Sun. "He has played a lot of minutes and shown good composure."
White, who played his junior hockey with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League, has four goals, 20 points and is a team-best plus-16 in 56 games this season.
MOOSE TRACKS: Peter Sarno had his seven-game points streak snapped on Wednesday night but continues to lead the Moose with 60 points in 56 games ... Tonight's game can be seen on Sportsnet at 6 o'clock.