WINNIPEG - Manitoba Moose rookie Jordan Schroeder scored his first pro hat trick in his team's 7-2 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs in American Hockey League playoff action Monday.
The victory narrowed Hamilton's lead in the best-of-seven North Division semifinal series 2-1. Game 4 goes in Winnipeg on Wednesday. The Bulldogs claimed the first two games of the series by scores of 2-0 and 8-2.
Hamilton won the North Division and Western Conference titles with 115 points, 28 more points than the Moose, who finished fourth in the division.
Schroeder, Vancouver's first-round pick (22nd overall) in the 2009 NHL entry draft, scored his team's first two goals on their first two power plays of the game in front of a crowd of 7,546 at MTS Centre.
The five-foot-eight centre one-timed a pass from teammate Guillaume Desbiens that beat Bulldogs goalie Cedrick Desjardins at 12:04 of the first period. He added a second goal off a rebound at 14:28.
Moose forward Dan Sexton scored before Schroeder's third goal. Desbiens notched a short-handed goal and Yan Stastny and Marco Rosa scored on the power play.
Hamilton's markers came from Chad Anderson and Ryan White.
Schroeder, 19, joined the Moose last month after his second season with the University of Minnesota. In his first pro game on March 21, he scored a pair of goals, including a deflection on his first goal during his first shift.
Sexton's goal made it 3-0 at 2:02 of the second period, which sent Desjardins to the bench in favour of AHL rookie Robert Mayer. Veteran Hamilton netminder Curtis Sanford is out with an ankle injury.
Schroeder notched his third goal 41 seconds after Sexton, but defenceman Anderson scored on Moose goalie Cory Schneider just 16 seconds after that for the 4-1 score.
White added his Hamilton's second goal on the power play at 8:51.
Desbiens notched a shorthanded goal at 3:58 of the third and also had three assists on the night. Manitoba then got power-play goals from Stastny at 14:51 and Rosa at 16:38.