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Grabner scores twice as Moose defeat Aeros to take 2-0 series lead

NHL.com @NHL

WINNIPEG - Michael Grabner scored twice to lead the Manitoba Moose to a 5-2 win over the Houston Aeros in the American Hockey League Western Conference final Saturday.

Jason Krog, Raymond Sawada and Cody Hodgson also scored for the Moose, who will take a 2-0 series lead to Houston for Game 3.

J.P Testwuide and Marco Rosa replied for the Aeros.

Cory Schneider stopped 28 shots in the Moose net and recorded his ninth consecutive win in the playoffs.

Houston's Anton Khudobin got the hook after 20 minutes, making nine saves on 12 shots. Nolan Schaefer came on in relief and turned aside 18 of 20 shots in the final two periods.

The Moose dominated the Aeros early on and led 5-0 into the first half of the second period.

At the 11:00 minute mark of the first, Krog's intended pass to Sawada deflected into the net off Houston defenceman Paul Albers.

Three minutes later, Moose defenceman Nolan Baumgartner unloaded a hard drive towards the net and Khudobin gave up a long rebound to Grabner, who shot the puck into the open net while the Aeros netminder was out of position.

At 17:49 the Moose made it 3-0 on the power play when Sawada found Alexandre Bolduc's rebound in front of a crowded net and put it by Khudobin.

The Moose wasted little time scoring in the second period. Hodgson scored his first AHL goal on a cross-ice pass from Krog that he wristed over the Schaefer's glove at 1:55. Just over two minutes later on the power play, Grabner was set up by Krog for his second of the game to make it 5-0.

Houston finally broke through when Testwuide took a backhand pass from John Lammers and fired the puck over Schneider's outstretched glove at 7:25 while the teams were playing four a side.

With 10 seconds remaining in the second, Rosa beat Schneider from the right faceoff circle with a high drive to make it 5-2 going into the scoreless third.

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