Pushing The Pace; Admirals Win 6-2

(Photo Credit: Stephanie Moebius)
(Photo Credit: Stephanie Moebius)

The Milwaukee Admirals won 6-2 against the Charlotte Checkers Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Tonight’s meeting between the Admirals and Checkers wasn’t at all like the struggle that last night. Instead, the Admirals offense unloaded thirty-nine of shots on goal and went on a string of scoring four unanswered goals to leap back into the win column tonight.

“Certainly, we’ve talked about five-on-five not having the success as of late,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason after the game. “Fortunate our [power-play] got a real big goal there as well. Penalty kill was good again. Hopefully that gives our group confidence that we can score five-on-five and, if we do the right things – which we thought we did, that we’ll get rewarded for it.”

Similar to last night’s game the opening goal wouldn’t come until the second period. Unlike last night’s game it came the way of the enemy in red. A rapid-fire start for the Checkers gave them a two-on-one rush and goal just fifty-eight seconds into the second period. Ethan Werek passed over to Checkers top scorer and team captain Derek Ryan who snapped a one-timer off from the left wing and past Juuse Saros for his nineteenth goal of the season.

In the final four-minutes of the second period the Admirals finally found rewards for all their attacking pressure. Kevin Fiala made a strong drive from the left wing wall, caught John Muse getting low with his paddle down early, and snapped a shot off his back and in for his fifteenth goal of the season.

“I mean, a goal is a goal,” smiled Kevin Fiala. “It counts but it was not beautiful. Not every goal is beautiful but it was important I think. To score 1-1 is very important to get us going.”

The Admirals needed 2:43 of ice time to tack-on to Fiala’s tally and take the lead. Kyle Hagel was called for tripping to get the Admirals on their fourth power-play of the night. This set the stage for Max Görtz to whip a wrister from the top of the left wing face-off circle and score his fourteenth goal of the season. The shot by Görtz appeared to take a glancing touch off of Keegan Lowe’s stick and sent it fluttering up and over the blocker of Muse into the roof of the net.

The Checkers scored in the opening minute of the second period. The Admirals decided to mirror that and score their third unanswered goal to start the third period. Stefan Elliott threw a puck to the net where Eric Nystrom was battling for the front of the crease with Mike Cornell. The puck deflected off the traffic in front of Muse and Nystrom was credited with the deflection for his first goal in the AHL since 2/17/08 when he scored twice as a member of the Quad City Flames.

Following the goal the Checkers decided to yank Muse from net in favor of Daniel Altshuller. It may have been a harsh move against Muse but his night ended with him stopping 23/26 shots on goal.

Altshuller was given a rather quick introduction to the game. The Admirals continued to pour pressure on offense and then came the fourth unanswered goal. Patrick Mullen blistered a head hunter of a shot from the point and Matt White caught a piece of the puck as it whistled past with his stick. The puck flew in and there were immediate calls for that deflection by White to have been played with a high stick. The referees talked it out and decided against it. The goal counted and counted as White’s eighth of the season.

The run for the Admirals finally came to a halt when Checkers captain Ryan scored his second of the night. Werek’s initial shot on Saros appeared to be saved but the puck had enough juice on it to keep motoring behind the Finnish netminder and fall into the crease. Ryan continued his drive to the net and was rewarded with his twentieth goal of the season.

The Admirals would re-establish their three-goal lead once again and do so off of an incredible piece of skill by White. The Admirals forward dangled from the right wing, across the slot, dodging stick-checks, and bending a wrist shot against the grain and through Altshuller for his second goal of the game and ninth of the season.

“I wanted to pass it to [Adam Payerl],” commented Matt White of the goal. “He made a nice play at the blueline so I kind of wanted to return the favor. But I just tried to make a move, the goalie was sliding over, just tried to hit the net, and it went in.”

For good measure the Admirals smacked in one more goal and it would be a second tally for Görtz. The Swede fought off a defender, nearly fell down while doing so, but regained his balance to unload a wrister to the near post from the left wing face-off circle that smoked past Altshuller for Görtz’s fifteenth goal of the season.

“We actually reinforced after the game that if we get pucks deep and we cycle and get that part of our game in order – we’re going to score goals,” said Evason. “Because we have enough skill level once we get the puck in their zone to the middle of the ice but, a lot of times, we take it to the middle too quickly and then look for that opportunity. That’s where the blocks come in. If we can cycle, get people out of their position defensively, and then bring it to that core area we feel we are going to have a chance to have success.”

Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played last night there were no roster moves made throughout the organization. Tonight’s line combinations were: Reinhart-Gaudreau-Åberg, Fiala-Kamenev-Payerl, Nystrom-Bass-Bourque, White-Girard-Görtz, Oligny-Potter, Elliott-Mullen, Murphy-Aronson. Tonight’s scratches tonight were: Kristian Näkyvä (healthy), Jamie Devane (healthy), Cody Hodgson (upper body), Joe Pendenza (healthy), and Johan Alm (lower body).

Thoughts on tonight’s game? Was this a return to form for the Milwaukee Admirals offense? How does a game like this bode for tomorrow’s game in Chicago?

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8 thoughts on “Pushing The Pace; Admirals Win 6-2”

  1. The Ads worked hard the entire game. I was glad to see White and Gortz get rewarded for all of their hard work game after game. I hope that the offense rolls against the hapless Wolves.

  2. Let’s not get too cocky yet Chicago just rumbled with Rockford this weekend and won both games, which helps us move up but they are playing scrappy hockey. Hope we can beat them but I know we’ve struggled vs them at the Allstate this year. Question about Fridays game. When Charlotte challenged about supposed goal: is that even a challengeable thing? Thought it was just on goals scored and if a player was offside or goalie interference

  3. Some great individual work by Fiala to get around Lowe(?) on the first goal.

    I did not have a good feeling about the game when the Ads couldn’t convert on any of their first 3 PP chances and then Charlotte scores less than a minute into the 2nd.

    I thought Oligny’s shot that led to the second Charlotte goal was ill advised. There was no traffic in front and the puck was easily kicked out and quick transition led to an odd man rush for Charlotte. Just hold it in at that point.

    Why did Charlotte not challenge Matt White’s goal? Your timeout doesn’t mean a ton there and the risk of losing it is worth it to keep it a 2 goal game instead of a 3 goal game. That was the play to challenge. Not whatever the hell they challenged last night.

    Gortz has a really good shot. It seems like it should be fairly easy to save but it must get on goalies really quickly.

    The Admirals were quite sloppy in the first few minutes of the 2nd. Obviously there was the goal but a few times Charlotte just walked around us in the defensive zone giving themselves great scoring chances. Kudos to Saros for keeping it a 1 goal at that point. If it’s a 2 goal game there despite outplaying them for most of the game to that point and Muse still being a wall at that point, who knows how the game would’ve ended.

    Why was Fiala assessed a roughing call in that scrum in the 2nd? I was in section 409 so I didn’t have a great view but it certainly didn’t look like enough to warrant a penalty. I also thought that cross checking call on Wohlburg in the 3rd was called on Fiala. The ref blew the whistle when Fiala got hold of the puck.

    Sometimes the shot totals and score don’t accurately reflect what actually happened in the game but tonight’s game did. Just a step ahead of Charlotte from the start. This was the team’s best performance since Badger Band night on Feb. 26.

  4. I forgot to mention Reinhart’s penalty in the 3rd was a joke as well. Checkers player just runs him with the puck no where near him, it’s at minimum interference on Charlotte with a matching rough to Reinhart for the retaliation but Reinhart gets the only penalty.

  5. @Peter: Fiala got a roughing call because he used his helmet to hit the Checker in the glove. I wish I had a better explanation, but that is what I saw live and on the scoreboard replay. Reinhart’s penalty was a similar deal. Ref Ragusin needs a little work or shouldn’t be by himself for games.

    Some Checkers players used their sticks a lot last night. Generally, the Admirals retaliated immediately. That was a poor substitute for defense. Ragusin didn’t call either penalty, so it was fair, if not a little rough.

  6. Charlotte couldn’t challenge the White goal. The argument was if White played the puck with a high stick. That isn’t challengeable. You can only challenge whether the puck crossed the line or not, if the puck was kicked or batted in with a hand, if the puck crossed the line before time expired, or if the refs missed the puck going in.

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