Manitoba wins in clutch

ADAM WAZNY -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:34 PM ET

Ask the Manitoba Moose if they would take six wins in this grueling nine game, 12-day stretch and they'd probably be pretty happy.

Happy, and tired.

MOOSE 2 AMERICANS 1

"That's what we talked about before the game," head coach Alain Vigneault said following Manitoba's 2-1 victory over the Rochester Americans before 8,007 customers at the MTS Centre last night.

The Moose went 6-2-0-1 record during this brutal part of the schedule and are winners of six of their last seven games, moving nine points ahead of the Amerks for second place in the American Hockey League's North Division.

"The guys responded well," Vigneault said. "They gave what they had to give. It was a hard fought game with new rules."

Those 'new rules' Vigneault speaks of had to do with referee David Banfield, who apparently didn't get the memo that the old 'clutch and grab' style of professional hockey was no longer in vogue.

Several times he let blatant interference infractions go, inciting outrage from both Vigneault and Amerks coach Randy Cunneyworth.

Goaltender Maxime Ouellet made his Moose debut, stopping 23 shots for his first victory of the season. The 24-year-old looked solid -- quite a feat, considering it was his first action since Oct. 22 and he just arrived in Winnipeg yesterday afternoon.

"I was a little worried, but sometimes things happen so fast you don't have time to think about them," Ouellet said. "I just went with it and tried to keep the game simple."

Rochester opened the scoring when Marc Mancari got position on Moose defender Kevin Bieksa in front of the net and re-directed a pass from the corner on a power play in the first.

Manitoba (16-8-1-2) tied it up on their own power play in the second when Alexandre Burrows deflected a Sven Butenschon from the point. The goal was Burrows' ninth of the season and fifth since returning from a broken nose Nov. 29.

The winning tally came from Ryan Bayda, who crashed the net and squeezed a loose puck past Michael Leighton with seven minutes left in the second period. It was Bayda's first goal as a Moose.

Forward Josh Green left the game following a fight with Jeremy Swanson in the first period. He did not return and had a splint on his finger after the game.

His injury prevents him from returning to Vancouver. The Canucks will recall goaltender Rob McVicar and forward Jozef Balej today.


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