CLEVELAND - On a night when the Lake Erie Monsters outdrew the first place Indians, the Manitoba Moose scored the final four goals of their Calder Cup Series Game 7 with Lake Erie and eliminated the Monsters 4 games to 3. The young Monsters squad, dotted with AHL veterans, learned the hard way -- when you have a team down 3 games to 1, you have to put them away and the Monsters clearly did not.
Lake Erie took a commanding 3 games to 1 lead in the series. In the team's final three games, they were tied going into the third period, but Lake Erie would manage just two goals over the final three games. This was hardly the offense the team displayed in games 1-4.
Give the Moose credit, despite being outshot and out hustled by a faster Monsters squad, Manitoba was like a big slow fighter, constantly throwing body shots at the Monsters whenever they could, eventually wearing the faster team down and making the most of crucial Monsters mistakes.
Head coach David Quinn told his players they would have to find that aggressive style that gave them the early series lead, and for some reason his team stopped swarming the crease and became tenative.
If you looked at this series from afar, the Monsters were the better team, they were faster, put up more shots and at times looked dominant. Give Manitoba credit, they were loaded with playoff veterans -- veterans who waited patiently for the younger Monsters to make mistakes. Mistakes that would cost them the series and leave them with a tough lesson learned.