The Admirals lost 4-1 against the Charlotte Checkers Saturday night. This wasn’t a pretty one at all. The Checkers came to life in the second period and held off the Admirals for the majority of this game. The lone consolation goal for the Ads came from Miikka Salomaki who picked up his fourth of the season. That was that as far as the Ads were concerned, and they’ll need to reload quickly because these two meet again tomorrow afternoon.
“It was a slow game,” said Milwaukee Admirals assistant coach Stan Drulia after the game on Sports Radio 1250 WSSP. “There was no pace. Pretty lifeless by both teams. Then they got the goal, and then the power-play goal off the face off. We just couldn’t really find ourselves after that at all.”
Charlotte scored the opening goal in the second period through Chris Terry’s team best eighth goal of the season. The Checkers broke out of their zone lead by Zach Boychuk who dished it off to Brett Sutter who then crossed paths and teed up Terry for the goal.
After a slow opening period and a flat start to the second period, Mike Liambas took to the fighting stage in hopes he could ignite a fire in his team. He went toe-to-toe with Matthew Corrente and this sounded like a decent bout for the always fearless Liambas. This fight here may also have played part in a later scrum in the game.
After a boarding penalty against Kevin Henderson, the Checkers scored very quickly off a power-play goal from Boychuk to make it a 2-0 game. Eight seconds into the power-play the Checkers won the draw, passed around the puck, and Boychuk’s wrister beat Magnus Hellberg who possibly never even saw the puck.
“We floundered a little bit with our identity,” said Drulia. “I didn’t think we competed as hard as we usually do.”
Then things got ugly on the ice. Liambas took a run along the boards that drew a charging penalty but was then jumped by two Checkers players. Also in the mix of the scrum was Mathieu Tousignant who sounded as if he was being pounded against the ice. Hopefully some highlights from tonight’s game kick up so this incident can be more visualized to me. Based on Aaron Sim’s call though, the take down from behind on Liambas and Tousignant’s head against the ice, a few things there sounded very very bad. The net result of this scrum: Liambas, two-minutes for charging and five for fighting. Nicolas Blanchard, ten-minute game misconduct for third man in. Matthew Corrente, four-minutes on a double minor for roughing. Matt Marquardt, five-minutes for fighting.
In the third period the Checkers tagged the Ads off of another goal from the top of the circle to push the lead to 3-0. This go-round Justin Shugg blasted a shot from the left circle that beat the screen of Jared Staal and Hellberg in net.
Consolation goal for the Ads came after a faceoff win from Colton Sissons set up Miikka Salomaki in the slot for his fourth goal of the season. Salomaki’s shot pinged hard off the crossbar and down. It needed video review to determine if the puck did in fact cross the line. It did, and the score was drawn back to a 3-1 Checkers lead with 10:59 remaining in the third period.
Nothing came off from there for the Ads. Charlotte capped off the game with a late empty net goal from Aaron Palushaj. That finished off a 4-1 defeat of a very sluggish Admirals team that will look to fight back quickly tomorrow afternoon.
“Good,” said Drulia about facing the Checkers so soon tomorrow afternoon. “I hope [this game] is fresh in [the Admirals] minds.”
Thoughts on tonight’s performance? Are you more worried about the Ads’ ability to score goals or defend at this point? What has happened to the team that started the year so hot? What is missing? And how can that be implemented so quickly into tomorrow afternoon’s rematch?