Milwaukee finally returned to the Bradley Center after a four-game road trip, and got to exact a little revenge on the team that spoiled its home opener.
Going into the Halloween showdown the spookiest thing might’ve been starter Magnus Hellberg’s save percentage, but the Ads were able to keep pace with the Checkers on offense and help the big goalie to his second career win.
The Admirals started the game the same way they have every game this season: giving up the first goal. But this time they didn’t wait to start their comeback.
Jared Staal capitalized on a turnover by Mike Moore to whip an unassisted goal past Hellberg’s left shoulder 6:33 into the game. But the Admirals answered about two minutes later after a Jerome Samson hooking penalty provided a power play chance.
Chris Mueller got the puck from Taylor Beck at the bottom of the right circle and fired a backhander that snuck under Dan Ellis’s right pad to tie the game.
The Ads took the lead at 11:22 when Beck fired a shot on net that was too much for Ellis. Patrick Cehlin scooped up the puck and lifted it over the sprawling goalie.
These were the first two goals Milwaukee has scored in the first period all season, and for Coach Dean Evason it meant that his team had finally started competing right off the bat.
Within the next two minutes, however, Charlotte ensured that this game would be a dogfight. Drayson Bowman got the puck at point blank range of Hellberg and delivered an equalizer after a few good hacks in front.
At 14:45 of the second period Kevin Henderson gave the Ads the lead again with a devastating slapper set up by Michael Latta.
Again, the Checkers weren’t to be outdone as Brett Sutter got a nice cross-ice feed from Michal Jordan and put it past Hellberg two minutes later to tie it at 3-3.
Austin Watson gave Milwaukee the lead 8:59 into the third, deflecting in a Jusso Puustinen shot, but Justin Faulk tied it again a few minutes later, setting the stage for a dramatic game-winner.
It was Daniel Bang, returning after missing a few games with an injury, that sealed the deal for the Admirals after a great assist from Puustinen.
Bang was a man of few words after scoring the eventual clincher.
Evason was pleased with Bang’s comeback performance and the element of speed he brought to the roster in his return.
After the team’s disappointing run in Texas, Evason admitted he’d made some shifts in the lineups and they ended up paying big dividends.
Some scratches and injury notes:
Joonas Jarvinen was a healthy scratch after some tough showings in the Texas series, and Evason said he needs some time to work things out.
Coach also said Bourque has been missing some time with a “lower body” injury and he has “no idea” on his status.
With the big win, the Ads will try to keep rolling into their next home bout with Lake Eerie Friday night.