Milwaukee bounced back from Friday’s home loss to Rockford, as it knocked off the Checkers 3-0 in Charlotte Saturday.
Magnus Hellberg picked up his fourth shutout of the season, stopping all 18 shots he faced. The Ads did a good job keeping the pressure off the big goalie registering 26 shots of their own.
The performance hearkened back to last season’s Admiral squad, which traveled to Charlotte for a pair of road contests in the midst of a playoff push with eight games to play. The first game of that trip was a shutout as well, as Milwaukee won 4-0.
The Admirals got off to a great start thanks to Charlotte’s five first period two-minute minors. The steady stream of power play chances helped Milwaukee outshoot the Checkers 16-5 in the opening 20 minutes.
Mike Liambas and Nicolas Blanchard kicked things off with a bang, dropping the gloves at 5:40. After an even start Liambas finished strong to put Blanchard on the ice and grab some momentum for Milwaukee.
Mattias Ekholm’s seventh goal of the season and second power play goal gave the Ads the lead at 13:30. Patrick Cehlin made a nice entry into the Charlotte zone and fed Brad Winchester. Winchester hit Ekholm with a solid pass to the left circle, and Ekkie’s wrister beat Rob Madore between his legs.
The teams combined for just 11 shots in the second period as Milwaukee’s penalty kill unit killed off Charlotte’s only two power play chances of the game. The PK’s now killed 47 of its last 50 (94 percent).
Both teams would get six shots a piece in the final period, but Milwaukee was able to turn two into insurance goals within two minutes.
At 1:46, with a delay of game penalty upcoming, Joe Piskula’s shot bounced off Madore and caused a mad scramble in front. Daniel Bang and Winchester tried to hack the puck home before it finally came to Juuso Puustinen who put it into the empty net. Puusty’s third goal in four games brought his point streak to five games.
A hooking call on Chris Terry set up Paul Crowder’s first goal as an Admiral at 2:54. He took a pass from Mike Moore at the right circle and put his shot over the left shoulder of Madore.
With the cushion in place, the Ads defense clamped down and Milwaukee skated away with a relatively easy victory.
Ryan Ellis was back in the starting lineup after getting sent down by Nashville earlier today. He got a shot on net, but otherwise wasn’t heard from much.
Scott Valentine didn’t show up on the score sheet either, but he looked good again at forward. Evason’s been really impressed with his ability on offense in the two games he’s played at wing.
Zach Budish got the start tonight, skating with Liambas and Van Guilder this time out. Coach is still trying to find a good place to fit him in and while he didn’t do much, putting him on a line with MVG is a good place to start.
In the aftermath of the Latta trade, the Ads have been trying some new things with the lineup, and they’re getting production from some different places (namely Valentine last night and Crowder tonight.)
What does that say to you about a team trying to make a final push sans a guy like Latta?
What do you think of Budish getting the start tonight? He mentioned the transition from the college to the AHL game. Do you think it’s an attempt to get him more accustomed?