This trip to Charlotte was a whole lot more pleasant than the last one.
Back at the end of November, the Admirals lost a pair of games and had their head coach poached.
This time, it was two solid wins against a very good Charlotte Checkers team.
Atte Engren recorded his first victory since February 29th, and the Admirals finally gave him some offensive support, as they dropped the Checkers 4-2 Thursday night.
Coming into tonight’s game, Engren had made 12 starts in calendar year 2012 (and relieved Smitty in Flickgate last week). The Admirals had scored more than two goals in just two of those games. So this was a nice change of pace for him.
Even with the offensive support, Engren needed to be sharp, and he turned aside 33 of 35 shots.
Brodie Dupont opened the scoring with a power play goal. A Victor Bartley shot went off the glove of goaltender Justin Peters, and when the puck hit the ice, Dupont was there to put it home.
The Checkers answered back with a power play goal of their own, breaking the Ads’ streak of 31 straight successful penalty kills (they hadn’t allowed one since March 17th against Toronto!). A Joe Sova shot was tipped by Zach Boychuk past Engren.
In the second period, Teemu Laakso scored his third of the year, and first since the day after Christmas. After some good puck movement, Laakso’s shot from the top of the right circle beat Peters.
The Admirals extended their lead about five minutes later, when Chris Mueller finished a great offensive rush that featured some more good passing. Jon Blum passed to Ryan Thang in the right circle, who fed Chris Mueller in the slot for his 29th of the season.
52 seconds later, the Checkers halved the lead, as Engren couldn’t cover a loose puck and Drayson Bowman buried it.
Taylor Beck scored an insurance goal at 17:14 of the second, jamming the puck under the left pad of Peters.
In the scoreless third period, the Checkers outshot the Ads 13-3, but Engren was good when he needed to be, the skaters did their best to minimize the chances on each Checkers rush. As Aaron Sims said on the broadcast…there were “a lot of ones-and-dones”.
– Jeremy Smith served his suspension tonight, and Chet Pickard got to
open an AHL bench door watch the game from the corner because there isn’t room for the backup on the bench.
So at press time….we’re waiting for the Texas Stars-Peoria Rivermen game to end. If the Rivermen lose in regulation, the Admirals will go to sleep tonight in 8th place in the Western Conference. The Rivermen scored a pair in the third period to break a 1-1 tie and ultimately win 3-2, and with the win they jump up to 6th place in the conference, and leave the Admirals in 9th. If it had been the Stars that won, the Admirals would have been in 8th, and the Rivermen in 9th. What a crazy finish this is going to be…
So a nice few days in Charlotte. On to Texas now.