The Manitoba Moose are just one win away from the next round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
The Moose won a second straight game in overtime 3-2 over the Milwaukee Admirals in Game 3 on Wednesday in Milwaukee.
The Moose now lead the best-of-five series two games to one and they can wrap it up with another victory in Game 4 to avenge last season’s playoff elimination at the hands of the Admirals.
Wyatt Bongiovanni scored on the power play a little under five minutes into the extra frame to give the Moose their first series lead.
“It feels awesome,” said Bongiovanni. “I think a lot of guys deserved that overtime winner and that feeling. Overall, it was just a great team win and I’m happy to finish that off for us.”
Alex Limoges and Jeff Malott notched the other markers for Manitoba.
Malott hit a pair of goalposts in the latter stages of the third period.
“We had a pushback and we wanted to win it,” said head coach Mark Morrison. “We had a couple good opportunities with the posts, and guys knew it was coming.
“I think really the story of the game for us tonight is we had all four lines going. And all six ‘D’. We used everybody, and I thought we had lots left at the end.”
The Moose had gone 0-for-9 on the power play in the series before the overtime winner.
“It was real important to get a power play goal for sure,” Morrison said. “It was 0-for-9, we were starting to squeeze the sticks a little bit. So, getting that power play goal was big for them.”
Luke Evangelista and Kevin Gravel replied for the Admirals in the loss.
The Moose outshot Milwaukee 30-26 as Oskari Salminen made 24 saves for a second straight win in net. Yaroslav Askarov finished with 27 stops for Milwaukee.
It was 4-on-4 hockey in the early going after both teams were assessed a roughing penalty. Cole Maier forced a turnover at the Admirals blueline before sending in Limoges all alone. He made a nice little fake before dancing around Askarov for the game’s opening goal. His first goal of the post-season had the Moose leading before the three minute mark.
Manitoba nearly took a two-goal lead but only moments after a chance at one end, Luke Evangelista tipped a point shot past Salminen to level the score.
It was tied after 20 minutes with the shots 10-7 for the home team.
The Moose took the lead back at the midway point of the second. After the Admirals failed to clear the zone, there was a mad scramble in the crease and Malott stuffed in. Askarov argued briefly with the referee, but the goal was allowed to count.
It was the only marker of the period where the Moose outshot them 9-6.
But Milwaukee tied the contest in the final frame. Salminen made a save on a 2-on-1 but shortly afterwards, Gravel sent in the one-timer to make it a 2-2 game.
Malott hit the iron two separate times in the 3rd, including in the final minute of regulation, but they’d go to overtime for the second straight game.
The Moose ended it on a man advantage as Bongiovanni sniped the game winner from the top of the faceoff circle.
The Moose made just one lineup change after an overtime victory in Game 2 as Dean Stewart replaced Simon Lundmark on the blueline.
Games 4 and 5, if necessary, are also in Milwaukee as the series resumes on Friday at 7 p.m.