Moose earn split

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:08 PM ET

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Anybody wondering if the Manitoba Moose would be able to put the opening-game disappointment behind them didn't have to wait long to find out.

Peter Sarno scored on the first shot of the hockey game, just 26 seconds in, as the Moose defeated the Rochester Americans before a crowd of 6,709 last night at the Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester War Memorial.

With the victory, the Moose even up the best-of-seven American Hockey League North Division final at one game apiece.

"When you get a goal in the first minute of the game, you don't expect it to stay that way," said Moose goalie Wade Flaherty, who turned aside 31 shots for his second shutout of the playoffs.

"I think it was important, not so much to show them but to show us."

The series shifts to the MTS Centre in Winnipeg for the next three games, beginning with Game 3 Monday at 7:35 p.m.

The Moose had a 2-0 lead after 47 minutes on Wednesday night, but gave up four unanswered goals to drop a game that was theirs for the taking.

Any psychological edge the Americans hoped to carry into last night's game was erased by the goal from Sarno, who entered the contest with only three assists in the first six games of the Calder Cup playoffs.

"It's obvious, I didn't score in the first series," said Sarno. "Sometimes you've got to put your individual statistics aside and do what's best for the team. Tonight I was able to help offensively and it feels good. Hopefully, it will kickstart our line."

Justin Morrison got the play going along the left-wing boards and Josh Green cruised behind the goal with the puck and found Sarno all alone in front of the net.

"It's a big one and it's the winner -- they don't get any bigger," said Moose coach Randy Carlyle, when asked about the importance of the fast start. "Our team has been pretty committed. You've heard me say it lots."

The Moose took four consecutive minor penalties at one point, but the top-rated Americans power play was unable to convert.

Special teams were a non-factor last night as the Moose were 0-for-5 with the man advantage and the Americans were 0-for-6.

Flaherty and Ryan Miller put on quite a display, standing tall at almost every turn.

The Moose were able to cause several turnovers leading to odd-man rushes but couldn't extend the lead.

Sarno, who led the Moose in scoring during the regular season, was dangerous throughout the contest, creating opportunities with his deft passing and by putting himself in prime-scoring areas.

Last night marked the second time in seven playoff series since joining the AHL that the Moose were able to win the second game. The only other time was in 2003 when the Moose defeated the Providence Bruins 1-0 on a shared shutout by Tyler Moss and Mike Minard.

"It doesn't surprise me," said Carlyle, referring to the resiliency that has been evident all season. "If you look at the game, we might have played better the other night and gotten no result. Tonight we were rewarded. We got a goal on the first shift and it's amazing how it carried enough through the game."

MOOSE TRACKS: The Moose bused to Toronto shortly after last night's game and are scheduled to return by plane this morning. The Americans will depart for Winnipeg tomorrow afternoon. As of late yesterday, roughly 5,000 tickets had been sold for Monday's Game 3.


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