TORONTO - Tim Stapleton used a bit of deception to break a third-period as the Toronto Marlies beat the Manitoba Moose 2-1 in American Hockey League playoff action on Sunday.
Ryan Hamilton also scored for the Marlies, who took a 2-1 lead in the North Division semifinal series in front of 3,783 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.
Alexandre Bolduc had Manitoba's only goal.
With the score tied at one 2:44 into the third, Stapleton took a rink-wide pass from Bates Battaglia at the Manitoba blue-line and faked a slapshot before beating Moose goalie Cory Schneider.
"It was a great play, a perfect pass by Bates," Stapleton said. "I don't know how many players could've made that cross-ice pass."
"Give Schneider credit, he almost got across and made the save, he got a glove on it. It was a great effort.
"But it went in and we got the win and now we need to get ready for Tuesday".
Marlies goalie Justin Pogge stopped 27 shots, while Schneider made 29 saves.
The Marlies led 1-0 after the first period. Hamilton opened the scoring at 6:17 after taking a feed from Andre Deveaux.
Manitoba drew even at 16:38 of the second period when Bolduc fought off Marlies defenceman Anton Stralman behind the net and beat Pogge between the legs on a wraparound.
Pogge was sharp in the second period, stopping 13 of 14 shots and denying Manitoba's Michael Grabner on a pair of breakaways.
Toronto was 1-for-4 on the power play, while Manitoba finished 0-for-6.
The Moose finished first overall in the AHL in the regular season with a 50-23-7 record, while he Marlies were fourth in the North Division with a 39-29-12 mark.
"Having to work hard at the end of the season to get into the playoffs gives you a little extra incentive," Pogge said.
"But we're a great team (like Manitoba), too. Our division was really good all season. It was a grind all year."
Toronto defeated Manitoba in the final six meetings between the two clubs in the regular season and won Game 1 by a 3-2 score in overtime.
Manitoba snapped its losing streak against Toronto with a 4-2 victory in Game 2.
Game 4 of the series goes Tuesday in Toronto.