The Milwaukee Admirals lost 5-1 against the Charlotte Checkers Tuesday night at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
At a time when the Admirals defense was at its strongest in months – this game was a letdown. The Admirals lacked an attacking pulse all night and their defense was torn apart as the game dragged on. The result is a devastating loss against a woeful opponent on a week that the Admirals could have really used two points tonight.
“We thought the whole game wasn’t good,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason after the game of the team’s effort tonight. “They skated, we did not. We looked slow, we were slow, they looked fast, they were fast. We had odd-man rushes just because they were beating us up the ice. Simply no excuse. They outplayed us.”
After a scoreless first period the Checkers were able to get on the board halfway through the second period on the power-play. The Admirals had cleared the puck just over the blueline from their zone and Mike Liambas raced to the bench to get a new stick. The Checkers raced down and saw a Phil Di Giuseppe shot near the glove side of Jonas Gunnarsson in net take a harsh deflection off of Adam Pardy’s stick and back into the net for a power-play goal. The tally for Di Giuseppe was his seventh of the season.
It took the Checkers twenty-four seconds to add to their lead and make it a 2-0 game. A wicked shot by Sergey Tolchinsky saw the Checkers forward spin around the right wing circle and snap a low shot clean through Gunnarsson for his fifth goal of the season.
The Admirals would get a quick answer after the rapid scoring from the Checkers. After Max Görtz worked a puck loose from the right wing corner it fell into the path of Justin Florek who delivered a step-in slap shot that exploded past C.J. Motte into the top shelf for his fifth goal of the season to get the game down to a 2-1 Checkers lead.
Petter Granberg marked his return in the second period with a big hit on Jake Chelios that was called for elbowing. This triggered Keegan Lowe looking for a fight and Jimmy Oligny was the man to oblige him. Heated scrap and there wasn’t an instigator called for the fight.
“You can watch the penalty. He doesn’t elbow him,” said Evason. “It’s a loud noise. It looks bad but it’s not. And it’s frustrating because then their defenseman comes flying in from the neutral zone and Jimmy Oligny tries to hold him from getting to [Petter Granberg] and the guy drops the gloves and fights Jimmy and there is no instigator. I don’t understand it. The guy flies from outside the zone to get into a fight and we don’t get an equalized call.”
On the Granberg hit he was called for elbowing and that allowed the Checkers to get one more power-play chance in the second period. Valentin Zykov was score off a net-front redirect on a shot from the right point by Chelios. Zykov had been the recipient of a huge check from Mike Liambas prior to scoring. In the end, the two players that were checked hard ended up getting the game to 3-1 Checkers. The goal was Zykov’s ninth scored on the season.
The Checkers scored with forty-four seconds remaining in the second period. They would open up the third period by scoring forty-three seconds in to make it a 4-1 lead. A howitzer shot from the high slot by Lucas Wallmark would cannon in and out of the netting quickly off his ninth goal of the season.
The damage would continue less than three minutes later. A quick one-two between Kyle Hagel and Kris Newbury saw the latter forward snap a shot from between the two face-off circles and into the top shelf for Newbury’s fifth goal of the season which made it a 5-1 Checkers lead.
With a little over eight minutes remaining the fans did get a chance to cheer for something as the gloves dropped between Shawn O’Donnell and Mitchell Heard. This was a very spirited scrap that saw the two land flush numerous times. Heard did get the final strike and takedown. O’Donnell left down the Admirals tunnel following the fight for repairs.
The game would finish right there. It was another unfortunate night for Gunnarsson to be the man in net for the Admirals. His stat-line just isn’t a true reflection of the effort he had in net as a team in front of him was about as flat as they have been all season. The Swede allowed five goals from thirty-five shots. Many of those shots to the net for the Checkers came with numbers barreling down on Gunnarsson on the rush.
The Admirals can thankfully erase this from memory fast. They are right back in action tomorrow night with a road game against the Chicago Wolves at 7:00 PM CST. Later this week on Friday they return to the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena for a game against the Grand Rapids Griffins at 7:00 PM CST.
“It’s a little fuel for the fire,” commented Justin Florek of the poor result tonight looking ahead to tomorrow night. “We want to look past this one and get ready for Chicago but, at the same time, it was a disappointing loss for us. We didn’t play the way we wanted to play. So, a little fuel for the fire for tomorrow and come out guns blazing.”
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played on Saturday night there have been a good chunk of roster moves made. Petter Granberg was placed on and cleared waivers by the Nashville Predators. He was then assigned to the Admirals. The Predators then recalled Pontus Åberg from the Admirals ahead of tonight’s game which saw the Admirals sign Garrett Meurs to a PTO Contract from the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL. Then, hours before puck drop, the Predators reassigned Vladislav Kamenev to the Admirals. Kamenev was unable to make it to Milwaukee in time for tonight’s game. With that being the case, the Admirals ended up dressing Trevor Murphy at forward tonight. These were tonight’s line combinations: White-Smith-Meurs, Florek-Kirkland-Görtz, Liambas-Girard-Payerl, Murphy-Army-O’Donnell, Pardy-Carrier, Oligny-Granberg, Pinkston-Dougherty. Cody Bass was a scratch tonight as he missed his fifth game in a row due to a lower-body injury. Jonathan Diaby was a healthy scratch.
What is your reaction to tonight’s game? Considering that the Milwaukee Admirals did have their defense back at 100% strength tonight – what was the issue for them tonight? Are you concerned that the amount of injuries for the Nashville Predators in the past month has sapped all the energy and momentum from the Admirals?
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