WINNIPEG - Dusty Collins and Mario Bliznak scored for Manitoba and Cody Hodgson recorded a point in his first professional game as the Moose beat the Houston Aeros 2-1 in Game 1 of the American Hockey League Western Conference final.
Moose goaltender Cory Schneider stopped 31 of 32 shots for his eighth consecutive playoff win.
Manitoba opened the scoring at 14:45 of the first period when Hodgson - playing in his first game for the Moose after guiding the Brampton Battalion to the Ontario Hockey League final - took the puck off the boards and passed to Greg Rallo. After Rallo's shot bounced off Houston netminder Anton Khudobin's right goal pad, Collins buried the rebound for a 1-0 lead.
Hodgson, picked 10th overall in the 2008 NHL draft by the Vancouver Canucks, was also the OHL Player of the Year and a member of the Canadian team that won gold at the world junior championship in Ottawa in January.
After a scoreless second, Houston tied the game at 9:50 of the third. With Moose defenceman Mark Fistric sent off for hooking, Matt Beaudoin took a cross-crease pass from Tony Hrkac to beat Schneider.
But Manitoba retook the lead just over two minutes later when Bliznak wired a shot past Khudobin's glove for his first of the playoff.
Khudobin finished with 16 saves.
Game 2 of the series goes Saturday in Winnipeg.