Team plays with passion

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:50 AM ET

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Randy Carlyle understands injuries are part of the game, but that only increased the pride the Manitoba Moose head coach took in watching his team come away victorious last night. In the midst of a tight-knit battle for second spot in the American Hockey League's North Division with the St. John's Maple Leafs, the Moose had sniper Jason King, 20-goal man and NHL veteran Josh Green and captain Nolan Baumgartner on the sidelines for last night's game with the Syracuse Crunch.

King (post-concussion syndrome) and Green (illness) are considered more long-term injuries, but Baumgartner, who suffered a minor injury on Wednesday night against the Hamilton Bulldogs, could be back as early as tonight.

Playing with the passion of a team fighting for a playoff spot, the Moose gave up a goal with 9.7 seconds left but regrouped to win 3-2 in overtime.

"That's the type of hockey we're going to see in the playoffs," said Carlyle. "We're going to have to be ready to answer the bell in that fashion, because we can't count on those players (Green and King) being there. Injuries do take place in the course of the season."

Baumgartner left practice early on Thursday and didn't skate yesterday. He did receive treatment and is hoping to return to the lineup tonight.

King has been out since suffering a concussion on March 6 against the Rochester Americans, and Green has missed the past six games with what is being called the flu. He has undergone extensive tests, but the results have not been made public.

"I don't know if it was the added incentive of really key players being out of the lineup," said Moose goalie Alex Auld. "That's what we need all the way here. We've got guys playing in situations they haven't been in all year or maybe in their career and guys are really stepping up. It's great to see and as guys come back in, we'll just be that much better."

TOP ROOKIE: Moose defenceman Kevin Bieksa received an honour from the AHL before he stepped on the ice last night.

After producing two goals and 11 points in 13 games, Bieksa was named Reebok rookie of the month for March.

Bieksa, 23, also carried an impressive plus-11 rating for the month and now leads the team with a plus-23 rating.

Among the highlights to close out the month was a five-game point streak, which ended Wednesday night in Hamilton.

Bieksa has 10 goals, 36 points and 175 penalty minutes in 71 games this season.

SENATORS WATCH: The Moose finish up the three-game road swing tonight against the Binghamton Senators, who are battling the Philadelphia Phantoms and Norfolk Admirals for top spot in the East Division of the Eastern Conference.

The Baby Sens came away with a 3-2 shootout win over the Worcester Ice Cats last night to remain in first place.

Binghamton is led by Jason Spezza, who leads the AHL in assists (75) and points (103) in 72 games this season.

Former Moose forward Pat Kavanagh has 11 goals and 28 points in 72 games and has been used primarily in a checking role.


Videos

Photos