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MOOSE KNOT SERIES AT 2-2


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Taking a page from the home team’s playbook, the Manitoba Moose used a pair of shorthanded goals to power their way to a 4-1 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins in Game 4 on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena, tying the North Division Semifinals at two games apiece.

Manitoba, whose four goals eclipsed its combined output from the series’ first three games, reclaimed home-ice advantage with the win. Grand Rapids will host Game 5 at Van Andel Arena on Friday at 7 p.m., before the series moves back to Winnipeg’s MTS Centre for Game 6 on Sunday and, if necessary, Game 7 on Tuesday.

The Moose got on the board first for the second straight game, courtesy of a shorthanded marker by veteran captain Mike Keane. Breaking up ice on a 2-on-1, Keane took a shot from the right circle that trickled through Jimmy Howard’s pads and across the line at the 15:43 mark of the opening period.

Howard made a pair of spectacular saves in the middle period to keep the deficit at one, including a stop of Jason Jaffray on a mini break eight minutes in. Meanwhile, his teammates were unable to penetrate Drew MacIntyre, who took the 1-0 lead into the second intermission by denying 18 shots through the first 40 minutes.

After receiving their fifth power play of the night early in the final period, the Griffins saw their deficit increase to two as the Moose again scored while undermanned. Prestin Ryan skated a loose puck out of his zone, stickhandled around Jakub Kindl in the slot and flipped a backhand past Howard at 2:34. It marked the fifth time in franchise history – and the third time in the team’s 79 all-time playoff contests – that the Griffins allowed two shorthanded goals in one game.

Grand Rapids finally solved MacIntyre with 9:38 remaining in the game. Taking a long pass across the zone from Brad Norton, Tony Voce darted toward the net and scooped a short-side backhand over the goaltender’s left shoulder from the bottom of the circle. However, the Moose quickly reasserted their two-goal advantage during a power play at 12:44, as Brandon Reid sent a pass through the crease to Maxime Fortunus for an easy backdoor tally.

Jaffray scored into an empty net with 1:02 remaining for the final margin.

The Griffins failed to capitalize on six power play chances against MacIntyre, who finished with 32 saves. Howard made 24 stops against the Moose, who scored one goal on seven opportunities with the advantage.

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