The Admirals lost by a profound 7-2 against the Charlotte Checkers Friday night. The home opener for the Ads never really manifested itself to be anything other than a Checkers victory. Even the goals scored tonight by the Admirals were last put in by Checkers players. The rough keeps getting rough and the Checkers remain unbeaten from their first three games.
“It’s probably top on the disappointment list,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason in regards to the result of the home opener. “It’s a big list but for sure it is the top of it.”
The opening goal came just past the midway point in the first period. After Conor Allen joined the attacking rush for the Admirals and rang iron from a close range shot – the Checkers were off on a counter attack. Phil Di Giuseppe carried the puck down from the left wing and fed the center lane drive of Derek Ryan who beat Marek Mazanec blocker side to make it a 1-0 Checkers lead. The goal for Ryan was his second of the season.
In the final minute of the first period there was a frenzy around the Checkers net that led to video review. A puck managed to skip in behind Drew MacIntyre and get cleared before any Admirals skater could finish the job. The officials waved it off on the ice, the goal light came on, and people were generally confused. The official call was that MacIntyre was interfered with and for good measure, after a look at the overhead replay, the puck didn’t cross anyway.
After a Miikka Salomäki interference call prematurely ended an Admirals power-play the Checkers were able to tally again. Jake Chelios’ shot from the blueline took a harsh deflection en route to goal thanks to the net front presence of Di Giuseppe. The power-play goal made it a 2-0 Checkers lead on Di Giuseppe’s first goal of the season.
Following Rasmus Rissanen’s second minor penalty of the second period the Admirals hoped to get some momentum brewed up from their fourth power-play opportunity of the night. Patrick Brown was able to win a race down the right wing and wire in a shot off the back post of the net. Play continued on and it wasn’t until an official review that it was determined to be a shorthanded goal from Brown’s first of the season to make it 3-0 Checkers.
Brown would add a second goal for himself in the third period. Chelios did his best T.J. Brennan imitation by flying from defense all the way down the left wing wall before whipping a puck towards the goal mouth. Johnny on the spot was Mr. Brown who tapped home from close range to make it a 4-0 Checkers lead.
The Admirals would score thirty-eight seconds later to finally give the opening night fans something to cheer about. Salomäki skated behind a pack of four bodies before releasing a wrister from the left wing faceoff dot. MacIntyre made the initial save with the glove but the puck flew out to the net defending Chelios who botched his clearance attempt by scoring on his own goaltender. Salomäki, having last played the puck, was credited with the goal and ended a goal scoring drought of 55:14 dating back to Vladislav Kamenev’s shorthanded goal scored on the opener of the regular season in Chicago.
Past the midway point of the third period Cody Bass had a goal disallowed after a quick whistle bailed out MacIntyre in net. Bass scored five hole with ease but the whistle was ruled to have been blown prior to the goal. In the aftermath and confusion Kyle Hagel and Jonathan Diaby locked horns in a fight for the Admirals that might have come two periods too late. Decent enough noogie tilt but nothing more.
Following some jaw jacking, Bass and David Wohlberg were both sent to the box for two-minutes to open up the ice for four-on-four hockey. Similar to their first goal of the evening the Admirals had a Checkers defenseman to thank. Taylor Aronson’s shot from the right point was saved by MacIntyre but pushed aside into the path of Trevor Carrick and into his own net. Aronson’s first goal of the season cut the lead to 4-2.
The Admirals then decided to immediately go for the empty net and extra attacker. Danny Biega’s response to the move was a long range shot for the empty net goal. Going for absolute broke the Admirals emptied the net again – and Brendan Woods scored into the empty net. Captain Colton Sissons got into some rough stuff with seconds left in the game and worked himself up for a two-minute penalty for roughing and a misconduct. The Checkers decided to tag Mazanec for a last power-play goal with 1.5 seconds remaining after Erik Karlsson’s first goal of the season.
“I can’t say much more than it’s been very frustrating so far,” said Colton Sissons. “We’re not folding our cards yet. We’ve got a lot of time, we’re going to stay positive, stick together, get through this, and get better every day.”
Ramblings: Yesterday, defensemen Garrett Noonan and Jimmy Oligny were assigned to the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL). In news that will help Elite Prospects out – Dov Grumet-Morris was released from his PTO contract with the Admirals quite some time ago. Tonight’s lines were: Salomäki-Sissons-Fiala, Moses-Reinhart-Görtz, Åberg-Kamenev-Bass, Devane-Girard-Gaudreau, Allen-Näkyvä, Diaby-Aronson, and