The Milwaukee Admirals have extended their winning streak to five-games after a 4-3 roller coaster of a game on the road against the Charlotte Checkers Friday night. The Admirals and Checkers flipped between leading and a level scoreline twice from the second period to the final horn. Juuse Saros and the Admirals were just able to survive a final second flurry from the Checkers with the extra attack on to earn the victory and also extend a points streak up to six-games.
For only the second time during the Admirals four-game winning streak they allowed the game’s opening goal. Out of a ball of players stationed in the right wing pocket Derek Ryan was able to get the puck, turn, and pass back to the point. When Mike Cornell wound up to shoot Zach Boychuk glided in front of Juuse Saros in net to provide a perfect screen as the shot entered low and in for Cornell’s first goal in his first game of the 2015-16 AHL season.
With 4:22 remaining in the first period the Admirals were able to equalize through Jamie Devane’s second goal of the season. Félix Girard took a shot in neutral ice as he dished a pass up to Eric Robinson on the right wing. Robinson’s shot came in hot and must have surprised Drew MacIntyre in net as he tumbled backwards from a stand-up position. Devane arrived down the left wing side of the net to push across the loose puck to make it a 1-1 game.
The Admirals took their first lead of the game in the second period when Trevor Murphy polished off a rebound opportunity to tally his third goal of the season. Stevie Moses had the initial shot in the slot for the Admirals but MacIntyre was able to fend it off. Unfortunately for MacIntyre he placed the rebound into a charging Murphy who skated up from the blueline to bury the garbage. Murphy now has scored a goal in three consecutive games.
Checkers defenseman Cornell would repeat his first period feat in the sandwich stanza. Heavy net front traffic screened Saros who never saw Cornell’s wrist shot from the right point. The puck flew in clean past four bodies out in front, as well as Saros in net, to give Cornell a second goal in the contest.
The 2-2 second period scoreline would last less than two-minutes. The Admirals caught the Checkers in the middle of a line change and Murphy hit a home run pass to Viktor Arvidsson on the attacking blueline for a breakaway chance. Arvidsson’s initial shot hit MacIntyre flush but the rebound trickled in-line with Arvidsson’s run towards the right wing side of the cage. He had the net open to score off his own rebound. Arvidsson now has three goals in the AHL this season.
2:33 into the third period the Checkers would tie the game up at 3-3. David Wohlberg won an attacking zone faceoff and Justin Shugg hammered a shot directly from the draw. There might not have been the screen like the first two-goals scored but Saros probably never saw that shot coming. The goal for Shugg was his second scored this season.
As was the ebb and flow of this game the Admirals weren’t letting the game stay level for long. 2:22 after the Checkers equalized in the third period a Cody Bass dump in fell nicely back in-line with Max Reinhart for a slap shot. MacIntyre dropped low. Reinhart blasted his shot high and scored his fourth goal of the season to make it a 4-3 Admirals lead.
The Checkers finally got MacIntyre to the bench to bring on the extra attacker with forty-five seconds remaining in regulation. A late frenzy around Saros in net almost saw a last second equalizer as the puck was pinballing around the crease. Fortunately for the Admirals, the Checkers would airmail a pass up and out of their own zone while Girard was being tabbed with a delayed penalty for interference. The puck made it down to the opposite end of the rink as time expired to give the Admirals points in six-straight games and push the winning streak up to five-games.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Wednesday the team received the news that forward Kevin Fiala would be suspended for two-games in relation his game misconduct for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Lake Erie Monsters. Admirals’ radio broadcaster Aaron Sims confirmed that Fiala did not join the team for this weekend’s trip to Charlotte. In his place, the team recalled forward Eric Robinson from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. Sims also finally provided confirmation of Robinson’s contract status: he signed an AHL deal with the Admirals this summer and is not with the team on a professional try-out basis but a full standard player contract. With those roster notes taken into account the Admirals line combinations were once again bare bones with no players available to scratch: Arvidsson-Gaudreau-Görtz, Åberg-Kamenev-Payerl, Devane-Girard-Robinson, Moses-Reinhart-Bass, Näkyvä-Aronson, Allen-Oligny, Alm-Murphy. The Admirals streak of scoring a power-play goal ended at nine-games. They went 0/3 on the power-play tonight.
Thoughts on the Admirals performance tonight in Charlotte? Was this the grittiest effort by the Admirals this season to keep being able to answer back after the Checkers tied the game up?