Manitoba keeps getting stronger

KEN WIEBE

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

HAMILTON -- And so the progression continues.

Manitoba Moose head coach Scott Arniel believes his team has gotten better in each of the four games played in the AHL North Division best-of-seven final and with the exception of the first period yesterday, that trend continued.

The Moose were a little sluggish in the early going but took the lead in the second and came through in the third after giving up the lead to sneak out a 3-2 win that evens the series 2-2.

"We want to make sure we're as sharp tomorrow and take the momentum that we've gained," said Arniel. "We sat back in the first period and let them dictate. They came out real hard, then we got settled down and ironed some things out."

GUESSING GAME: With such a quick turnaround coming today, Arniel was asked whether veteran Wade Flaherty was healthy enough to be considered to start the day game after the night game.

"He's one of the options we'll consider," said Arniel.

Flaherty said he "felt good" and would be fine with starting either Game 5 or 6.

Our guess is that Drew MacIntyre returns to the crease for Game 5 and Flaherty is back between the pipes for Game 6.

RUMOUR MILL: Hockey website www.eurohockey.net is reporting that Moose centre Brad Moran has signed to play with the Hamburg Freezers of the German Elite League next season.

Moran, who sits second in team playoff scoring, denied yesterday that any sort of deal has been signed.

"They made an announcement but there's been some miscommunication," said Moran, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1. "Something happened and we're trying to fix it. I'm disappointed it happened but there are people looking after it. I'm not worried about right now. I'm focused on winning games and winning this series."

Moran, who played in Switzerland last season, admitted that returning to Europe is an option but his first choice is to remain in North America and the Vancouver Canucks will have until June 30 to re-sign him if they so desire.


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