(Photo credit to Scott Paulus)
The Admirals lost 3-2 against the Charlotte Checkers Friday night. After conceding the opening goal, the Ads rallied back in the first period with two goals scored by Mark Van Guilder and Zach Budish. However, the Checkers came back to haunt the Ads – scoring in the second – scoring in the third – and surviving the last minute of pressure poured on by the Ads with an extra attacker.
With the crowd rocking to start the game –7,076 tonight– the Checkers played party poopers with a goal inside the opening minute. There was traffic in front of Magnus Hellberg on the shot by Matthew Corrente that appeared to screen him just enough for this puck to go whizzing past him. After the game, Hellberg honestly admitted that he never saw the shot. For Corrente it was his first goal of the season in twenty-nine games played.
It wouldn’t be too much longer for the crowd to get back into it. Midway through the first period the Ads tagged Charlotte for two quick goals to claim a 2-1 lead.
The Ads opening goal was scored by Mark Van Guilder for his fifth of the season. The play developed from behind the net off the stick of Taylor Beck. The pass from Beck might have been more of a hope-and-a-prayer pass as he was falling over behind the net. Regardless, it found a blue shirt in Van Guilder who powered into goal and roofed the puck top shelf from in-tight against John Muse.
Zach Budish put the finishing touches on the end of a quality shift for the Ads grind-line. The group of Liambas-Tousignant-Budish had strong shifts that tilted the ice back in the Ads favor right before Van Guilder’s goal. On this goal it was all them with a little help from Bryan Rodney. The line kept the puck in-zone, Mike Liambas whirled a backhanded pass to Rodney on the blue line, Rodney’s shot-pass reached Mathieu Tousignant, and his spinning pass fell in the patch of Budish for a tap in.
At 16:57 of the second period the Checkers were able to equalize the game at 2-2. A dancing puck got behind Joonas Jarvinen who then lost a foot race back in the d-zone. The puck would fall to the game’s opening scorer Corrente whose shot deflected off of traffic to the left wing side of Hellberg’s goal and in. It was hard to tell if Chris Terry of the Checkers deflected that shot or if it actually deflected in off of an Ads defenseman. The scorer’s went with Corrente. The scorer’s are wise.
The Checkers took the lead after a rebound, a fortuitous fanned shot, and an open net to fire on. A rebound was spilled out in front of Hellberg and Philippe Cornet’s effort on goal was fanned. Hellberg ducked one way to attempt a save on a shot that was never taken. Cornet’s follow up only needed a simple tap for the goal that put Charlotte back in front for the first time since the opening goal.
That goal also ended the night for Magnus Hellberg who gave way to Scott Darling. Hellberg stopped twenty-three of twenty-six shots but looked very twitchy tonight in net. He allowed the opening shot in tonight’s game to beat him. From there, he looked really all over the place in comparison to the confident and slow style that has worked well for Darling. Once Hellberg made it to the bench he had his head down and Joe Piskula skated over to talk with him. It’s been a rough stretch for Hellberg who lost his twelfth game of the season tonight.
The Ads did threaten big time with the extra attacker on. They held the offensive zone for nearly a minute with saves stoppages from Muse in net during the final push. Sadly, this game ends with a downer of a 3-2 defeat against a lesser opponent only one day after one of the best efforts the team produced all season.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? Major let down after yesterday’s game or just one of those wacky nights in a long season? What are your impressions of Magnus Hellberg this season? How can Hellberg regain his playing confidence that was so crucial to last season’s success? With these last two home games being very Jekyll and Hyde, what are we to expect when the team plays in Iowa on Sunday?