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Moose punch their ticket to the AHL playoffs with wild 7-5 win over the Stars in Texas

Recap of the game.

The Moose kicked off their final regular season road trip this evening in Texas needing just two points to clinch.

Lineup news:

Manitoba announced this morning that they had recalled Evan Cormier to the club from the ECHL. Turned out Arvid Holm was dealing with an illness so he wasn’t able to play. Meant Oskari Salminen got the start and Cormier backed him up. Only other change was Evan Polei came back in for Tyler Boland.

Moose lineup:


Sautner – Gawanke
Heinola – Stewart
Oligny – Bauer



Things got started with Jeff Malott tying Jansen Harkins got the team goals lead when he took advantage of a turnover and fired a shot home. It was his 22nd goal of the season.

They followed that up with an Ashton Sautner shot from the point which gave the visitors a 2-0 lead. It was also the first pro assist for Parker Ford.

Similar to the parent club the Moose started off well on the road building a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.

After giving up a goal in the 2nd, Jansen Harkins restored the two goal edge with an absolute bottle popper of a shot. He re-took the goal scoring title from Jeff Malott as that was his 23rd (set up by Malott of course).

If you were thinking a 3-1 lead is safe you’d be mistaken. Texas are the top ranked team in the Central and they scored three straight to give themselves a 4-3 lead early in the 3rd period.

However these Moose never seem to quit and good working by leading points man Alex Limoges set up alternate captain Cole Maier who went top corner to tie the game 4-4.

Although in the time it took me to write this tweet about the Maier goal the Stars scored again to re-gain the lead and make it 5-4 for Texas.

Guess if you’re going to set a record may as well do it in Texas where everything is bigger as Leon Gawanke set the Manitoba Moose record for goals by a defenceman (AHL/IHL) when his 18th of the year tied the game 5-5. He passed Brett Hauer who had 17 in the 2000-01 IHL version of the Moose.

Jansen Harkins obviously wanted some breathing room between himself and Jeff Malott as he scored an absolute beauty, his 24th of the year, to give Manitoba a 6-5 lead.

And Leon Gawanke would seal the deal with an empty netter to add to his record-setting season with his 19th goal of the campaign.

They improve to 36-24-5-4 on the season and with that win the Moose are heading back to the playoffs as they officially punch their ticket.

Player media availability:


Up next:

The Moose and Stars have a re-match on Wednesday night. Puck drop is at 7 PM CDT.