Ouellet bounces back

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:01 PM ET

ROCHESTER N.Y. -- Was it the short-term memory loss that is required when you're the last line of defence or was it the burning desire to pick himself up off that mat after a disastrous performance the last time he set foot in the Blue Cross Arena?

MOOSE 3 AMERICANS 1

Whatever it was, Maxime Ouellet had himself a superb outing last night and helped the Manitoba Moose keep pace in the AHL's North Division standings.

Ouellet, who was shelled 6-2 after his latest demotion back on March 11, made 31 saves to propel the Moose to a 3-1 win last night before a crowd of 7,342.

"Last time we came in here was a bad game for me but you can't wait until the next game against that team," said Ouellet, who gave some credit to goalie guru Rick St. Croix for helping him get his game back in order. "He's helped a lot. He's been awesome for me since I got back here. Having him around to talk and keep me focused. We have some goals for every game and he keeps reminding me."

The Moose continue their four-game road trip tonight against the Toronto Marlies.

Ryan Bayda stuffed home a rebound after a point shot from Nathan McIver 84 seconds into the contest to get the visitors on the board.

The Amerks thought they tied the contest early in the third, but the goal by Chris Taylor was waved off because referee Chris Brown had lost sight of the puck and blew the whistle prematurely.

It took the Moose more than 10 minutes to record a shot on goal in the second, but Ouellet stood tall.

"He was, without a doubt, the guy that made the difference in this game," said Moose head coach Alain Vigneault. "We generated a lot of good scoring chances in the first period and we only got one past their goaltender. In the second it was totally the opposite. They came at us really hard."

Americans forward Kamil Kreps rattled a one-timer off the crossbar early in the opening minute of the third and the Moose put the game away shortly thereafter as Pretin Ryan, who snapped an 18-game goalless drought, snuck a long shot through the wickets of Michael Leighton at 3:54 of the third.

Leighton stoned Bayda from point-blank range just past the midway point and Michael Ryan beat Ouellet with a wrister to make it a one-goal game.

Jason King, who returned after sitting out three games with whiplash, restored the two-goal lead with a power-play marker at 14:49 by blasting a shot over the glove for his 17th of the campaign.

MOOSE TRACKS: Defenceman Matt Kelly, signed to an amateur tryout offer on Wednesday, made his professional debut last night and was steady on a pairing with Jason Doig ... After talking with doctors, Vigneault said F Jozef Balej could miss another month with his kidney ailment.


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