Amerks tip Moose

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Third period rallies are becoming a common theme for the Rochester Americans in these Calder Cup playoffs.

The Americans erased a 2-0 deficit with four unanswered goals in the final period to defeat the Manitoba Moose 4-2 before a small but rambunctious crowd of 4,052 at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial to take the opening game of the best-of-seven American Hockey League North Division final.

Derek Roy was the catalyst for the Americans, scoring the final two goals and setting up another.

It was the fifth time in five Calder Cup playoff games this season the Americans were able to overcome a deficit to win.

"These guys are finding ways," said Americans head coach Randy Cunneyworth. "It ain't the easiest thing to do, but we've been fortunate. I'm a wreck but they're making a believer out of me. This has been going on for a few games now. We're flirting with something that isn't going to happen all the time but so far these guys have made it happen somehow. First it was one goal, now we've been working on two."

NEAR PERFECT

The Moose had played a near-perfect road game for more than 45 minutes before things came apart at the seams.

Jeff Heerema took advantage of a turnover and banked his low shot off the skate of Americans defenceman Rory Fitzpatrick and past Ryan Miller at 7:08 of the opening period.

Ryan Kesler extended the lead at 11:48 of the second, showing great patience on a 2-on-1 rush with Lee Goren before sliding his shot through the five-hole for a short-handed marker.

Roy found David Cullen in the slot for a power-play marker at 7:34 of the third, giving the Americans a much-needed shot in the arm.

Daniel Paille knotted the game 11 seconds later, taking advantage of some miscommunication between defence partners Nolan Baumgartner and Danny Groulx, who both went to Americans forward Jiri Novotny and allowed Paille to streak in alone and slip a shot through the pads of Wade Flaherty.

DEFLATE

"That's going to deflate any team," said Kesler, when asked about watching the two-goal lead go up in smoke. "We've got to defend the lead. That was not characteristic of us."

The Moose had an opportunity to regain the lead with the man advantage, but it proved to be short-lived as Josh Green was sent off for cross-checking.

Then it was the Americans whose power play proved deadly as Roy scored with 5:37 to go and put the game on ice with an empty-netter with 42.4 seconds remaining.

"We made some mistakes that cost us," said Moose head coach Randy Carlyle. "The whole momentum switched in 11 minutes, we've got to be better than that. They exposed us."

The Americans were 3-for-4 with the man advantage, though one of those goals was into an empty net, while the Moose were 0-for-4 on the power play.

MOOSE TRACKS: Last night marked only the second time in six AHL playoff series that the Moose lost the opening game. The only other time was in 2002 when the Moose fell 5-0 to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.


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