Admirals rally past Charlotte 6-4 in home finale

Photo courtesy of Scott Paulus

Photo courtesy of Scott Paulus

Milwaukee’s final home game of the regular season was one of its most exciting, as the Admirals rose to the occasion to rebound from a bad second period and pull off a 6-4 victory over the Charlotte Checkers.

After taking a 3-1 lead early in the second, the Ads allowed three unanswered goals and headed into the final twenty minutes down 4-3.

At 11:38 Joe Piskula tied things up, putting home a great pass from Juuso Puustinen from the point.

Less than two minutes later, Josh Shalla scored the game-winner for Milwaukee after a strong move to the net by Joonas Rask. Rask had the puck poked away from him, but it went right to Shalla who snapped it past Mike Murphy.

With 1:45 to play, the Ads faced a two-man advantage after Mattias Ekholm was called for holding and Murphy hit the bench.

In the final minute, Zach Hamill intercepted a pass and fired a laser beam from the Ads’ blue line that slid coast-to-coast and hit the back of the empty net, sealing the victory.

Coach Dean Evason said he didn’t say anything to his team in the second intermission, but knew the third period was the Ads’ time to come together.

The victory brought Milwaukee’s magic number to three, meaning wins in its final two games or a win and an overtime loss would punch a postseason ticket. Milwaukee and Rockford are tied for the eighth spot with 85 points, but the IceHogs will play their final game tonight at Texas.

Mark Van Guilder opened the scoring for the Ads at 10:31 of the first period, putting back a rebound off a Zach Budish attempt.

The Ads got another goal off a rebound about three minutes later when Ekholm’s shot from the right circle was stopped, and Patrick Cehlin snuck the puck past Murphy for the 2-0 lead.

Jeremy Welsh got Charlotte on the board at 15:55, taking a pass from Zach Boychuk and finding himself all alone in front of the Milwaukee net.

Rask answered with his first goal in his first game with the Ads 2:14 into the second period, rushing into the Charlotte zone and whipping Murphy with a wrister from the slot.

The 3-1 lead wouldn’t last, however, as Boychuk and Zac Dalpe scored within two minutes of one another halfway through the period to tie the game. Matt Marquardt gave the Checkers a 4-3 lead at 18:17, putting a rebound past Magnus Hellberg with a backhand shot.

Hellberg ended up stopping 26 of the 30 shots he faced and making some key saves down the stretch.

Notes:

The Admirals were 5-23-0-1 when trailing after two periods heading into Friday, but they got their sixth when it really mattered.

In its last 18 games Milwaukee is 13-4-1-0 making for a huge playoff push down the stretch.

The Ads overcame an unbalanced night on special teams by killing off four of five Charlotte power plays and scoring a shorty, while being granted just one chance with the man-advantage.

Charlotte came in with the best road power play unit in the league, and Evason thought the unevenness of the chances created a tough challenge.

It was a heck of a night for the newly formed Shalla-Reid-Rask line, and Evason was particularly impressed with Rask, who picked up second-star honors.

Coach added that he hasn’t been briefed on whether or not Daniel Bang and Kevin Henderson will rejoin the Ads tomorrow in Rosemont. With Nashville losing in overtime in Chicago tonight, it remains a possibility.

Questions:

What impressed you about the Ads’ ability to come back in the third period Friday after they hadn’t done so for much of the season?

What did you see in Rask’s game that appealed to you? Any other players stand out to you as unsung heroes?

What did you think of Hellberg’s night overall? He had a rough second period, but stopped the final 10 shots he faced to keep his team in it.

How likely is it that we’ll see Bang and Henderson back in the lineup Saturday night?

Is there any doubt in your mind that the Ads will finish off the playoff push?

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4 Responses to Admirals rally past Charlotte 6-4 in home finale

  1. adsfan says:

    I was glad to see the come back by Milwaukee. This was the second home game in a row where the ref was terrible! Charlotte dumped about 10 Admirals behind the puck and was never called for it. They held and interfered and were never called for it; unlike Milwaukee. One example, in the first period Dalpe dumps Cehlin. Cehlin gets up and Dalpe slashes him. Cehlin moves toward Dalpe and he drops his gloves while Cehlin keeps his on. Both get 2 minutes for unsportsmanlike. That was total garbage by ref T. J. Lexmore! Why are so many AHL refs so bad this season? Just call the game the same way for both teams.

  2. Yonkfan says:

    “Milwaukee’s final home game of the regular season was one of its most exciting, as the Admirals rose to the occasion to rebound from a bad second half and pull off a 6-4 victory over the Charlotte Checkers.”

    A bad second half, huh? This isn’t f-ing basketball. Come on. That’s garbage.

    Adsfan, you complain about the officiating after every single game. They’re not out to get the Admirals.

    As skilled as the Checkers offense is, their defense is pretty pedestrian. Murphy wasn’t great,but he certainly didn’t get much help from his D.

    In the 3rd period, it’s like the Admirals were refocused and that game tying goal just deflated the Checkers.

    I hope they clinch tomorrow….and can then rest Hellberg on Sunday.

  3. Mark Sumner says:

    Wouldn’t the magic number only be 2 points? We have 85 points with 2 games, Rockford has 85 points with 1 game, and Chicago has 83 points with two games… That means the absolute best the Wolves and Hogs can do is 87 points. Don’t we still hold the tiebreaker on those two teams? Meaning if we get to 87 points, we’re in? Also, we’d be in if Rockford loses it’s alst game and Chi loses 1 of their next 2 if that’s the scenario. I’m not even going to get into the overtime 1pt possibilities because I’m already crosseyed with the scenarios I already pointed out!

  4. adsfan says:

    @Yonkfan: The officiating has been bad this season. Probably the worst season since Milwaukee joined the AHL (12 years). I am getting tired of untrained refs. This idiot never looked behind him the entire game and Charlotte seemed to know that and used it for numerous cheap shots. Do you think that Hellberg normally gets up and punches a guy in the face? Do you think that he got tired of people running into him and digging away after the whistle? Did you not hear 7000 people booing several times last night?

    @Mark: Rockford has the tie breakers on their side. Milwaukee needs to exceed the IceHogs point total to qualify. If the Admirals get to 88 points (1 win and a OT/SO loss) there is nothing that Rockford or Chicago can do to qualify for the playoffs.

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