WINNIPEG — Forwards Jason Jaffray and Michael Grabner scored goals 15 seconds apart midway through the first period Friday to lead the Manitoba Moose to a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Marlies in Game 2 of the American Hockey League North Division semifinal.
The Manitoba victory, in front of 9,111, tied the series at 1-1 with the next three games in Toronto. The win also snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Marlies against the Moose.
Jaffray also scored an empty netter and defenceman Max Fortunas added a single. Jiri Tlusty and Darryl Boyce replied for Toronto.
The Moose held 2-0 and 3-1 leads in the fast-skating and hard-hitting game in which Marlies goaltender Justin Pogge made 17 saves and Corey Schneider of the Moose stopped 29. Schneider shone in the third, facing a barrage of shots as the visitors attempted to gain the equalizer.
The Moose, still smarting from a 3-2 overtime loss on Wednesday, came out with a purpose, took the body, and went into the second period with a 2-0 lead despite being outshot 10-7 by the Marlies.
Toronto had the first five shots on goal in the game, but the Moose capped off their physical play with two goals within a span of 15 seconds beginning at 12:12.
First, defenceman Nolan Baumgartner unleashed a hard drive from just inside the blue-line and Jaffray deflected the puck past a screened Pogge.
Shortly thereafter, Grabner snapped a wrist shot from the centre of the right faceoff circle and beat an out-of-position Pogge to the far corner.
Manitoba increased the lead to 3-0 at 4:21 of the second while enjoying a two-man advantage after Fortunas converted a Jason Krog pass and beat Pogge on his stick side from directly in front.
Toronto replied at 9:08 when Tlusty scored from an almost impossible angle with Schneider lying on the ice attempting to stop the puck with an outstretched stick, narrowing the gap to 3-1.
At 5:51 of the third, the Marlies caught a break when a Josh Engels shot deflected off Boyce and headed toward the Moose net, catching the inside corner past a sprawling Schneider to give Toronto life.
An empty-net goal by Jaffray at 19:11 sealed the win for Manitoba.