Moose Eliminated by Bulldogs in Triple Overtime
There's going down fighting and then there's refusing to lose. The Manitoba Moose (3-4) would be one of those two things by the end of Game 7 of the North Division Final against the Hamilton Bulldogs (4-3). The final game of the series had a fitting finish in front of 2,553 fans at Copps Coliseum. The series went the distance, as did the deciding game as it lasted until triple overtime, making it the longest Game 7 in AHL history.
Hamilton's Dustin Boyd scored the game winner after 100:06 of play giving his team a 2-1 sudden death win. The goal came on the 57th shot of the night by the Bulldogs as Eddie Lack made a heroic effort in Manitoba's net in a losing cause.
The earliest test is often the most difficult one and Manitoba's Eddie Lack passed in flying colours during the game's opening minutes as he denyied Hamilton's Ryan Russell on a breakaway. Lack made 25 saves the night before in a shutout effort in Game 6 and would need to be sharp again in Game 7.
The Moose entered Game 7 ranked last among active playoff teams in power play efficiency. Despite that, Manitoba converted on their first man advantage of their most crucial game. Hamilton's Brendon Nash sat in the penalty box after dumping the puck over the glass in his own end. While on the power play, the Moose worked quickly cycling down low until Jason Jaffray hit Sergei Shirokov with a pass while parked in the slot. Shirokov quickly sent the puck toward Drew MacIntyre and beat him along the ice for the game's first goal at 10:09.
Hamilton was given a power play opportunity late in the first but Manitoba's penalty killers prevented any clear shots on Lack. At the first intermission, the Bulldogs led 9-6 in shots on goal with the Moose holding a 1-0 lead.
The game resumed in the second period to a wide open pace. Hamilton unsuccessfully piled 11 more shots on Eddie Lack by the 11:00 mark of the game. The onslaught included a short 5-on-3 with overlapping penalties to Manitoba's Kevin Clark and Garth Murray.
Even after getting their own power play shortly after, the Moose failed to reply with any comparable pressure and ended with only four shots on goal in the middle frame. Thanks to the goaltending of Lack, Manitoba held onto their one goal lead heading into the third period. The second intermission marked 104:47 for Lack without allowing a Hamilton goal.
It was going to take a bad bounce to beat Eddie Lack and that's exactly what happened when Hamilton's Nigel Dawes streaked down the right wing and had his low shot deflected by a Moose defenceman up and over Lack's shoulder. The home team tied tied it up at at 6:24, ending a scoreless streak of 111:11 against the Moose goalie.
With time winding down in the third period and Hamilton amping up the pressure, Manitoba d-man Chris Tanev came up with three straight shot blocks showing how and why he is the team's leading plus/minus player in this postseason.
The first 60 minutes of the game expired with the game tied at one goal apiece. Through three periods, Manitoba weathered Hamilton's offence and all but one of their 33 shots. The stakes in overtime were set as the next goal would move that team on to the third round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
The next 20 minutes were wild but inconclusive with the best save of the period going to Moose defenceman Mark Flood. At the end of a sequence where Manitoba's Travis Ramsey dove in front of a shot while Eddie Lack sprawled out of position, Flood stood as the last line of defence blocking a wide open chance by Hamilton's Gabriel Dumont midway through the first overtime period.
Mark Flood was at the right place at the right time to make a crucial save in the first overtime, but was at the wrong place, wrong time in the second overtime as he was crushed by an Andrew Conboy open ice hit. Flood
The second overtime period was also inconclusive as neither team could score the series clinching goal. By moving into a third overtime period, the Moose surpassed their previously longest game in franchise history.
Whenever you last this long into a game, you start to wonder if the game will ever end. In shocking fashion, Hamilton Dustin Boyd ended the game six seconds into the third overtime. Off the opening faceoff, Boyd dumped the puck into Manitoba's end and chased after it alongside a Moose defenceman. With the puck laying to Eddie Lack's right, Boyd swung at it and chipped the puck over the Moose goalie's shoulder for the series clinching goal.
Eddie Lack, named the first star of the game in a losing effort, made 55 saves in the final game of Manitoba's season. Hamilton moves on to the Western Conference Final with the 2-1 triple overtime win.
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American Hockey League Stories from May 9, 2011
- Hamilton Bulldogs Win Longest Game 7 in AHL History - AHL
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