Prestin Ryan scored in overtime for the Manitoba Moose Sunday for a 3-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch in the American Hockey League North Division Calder Cup semifinals.
Manitoba wins the best-of-seven series four-games to two and advances to meet the Grand Rapids Griffins in the division final Friday in Grand Rapids.
Ryan, the former Crunch defenseman, backhanded the puck from a tough angle at the bottom of the circle to the right of Syracuse goalie Andrew Penner. The shot hit a player on its way to the net fluttered up in the air over Penner's right shoulder and landed in the net for the game winner.
It was the third overtime game of the series and the fourth game that was decided by one goal.
Syracuse forward Dan Fritsche forced overtime when he banged home a loose puck in the Manitoba crease with just 18.1 seconds remaining in regulation. Syracuse had pulled Penner for an extra attacker. Peter Sarno kept the play alive in the Moose zone and took a shot on Manitoba goalie Wade Flaherty. Fritsche was there to whack at the puck as it dribbled into the corner of the net.
Manitoba (4-2) jumped out to an early two-goal lead in the first period thanks to a couple of big rebounds by Penner that the Moose made sure found the back of the Crunch net. Jason Jaffray put back a shot by Ryan Bayda at the 4:13 mark and Jesse Schultz had an open side to bury the rebound off a shot by Craig Darby a little over three minutes later.
Syracuse (2-4) cut the lead in half on the power play when Geoff Platt tipped home a shot by Alexandre Picard into the top short side over Flaherty's left shoulder with seven minutes left in the first.