Bounce Back; Mazanec and Ads Shutout Checkers 3-0

(Photo Credit: Charlotte Checkers // flickr)
(Photo Credit: Charlotte Checkers // flickr)

The Milwaukee Admirals won 3-0 against the Charlotte Checkers on the road Tuesday night at the Bojangles’ Coliseum.

If ever there was a time for a performance like this it was tonight. The entire group delivered but especially Marek Mazanec in net who was fantastic. The Czech goaltender stopped all twenty-three shots he faced and the Admirals have snapped their four-game losing streak in shutout fashion.

The way things have gone lately it was important for the Admirals to have a quick start. After seeing a goal waved off for being played in with a high stick the Admirals would get one that counted moments later. A horrible turnover behind the net by Roland McKeown went directly to the tape of Derek Army in the slot. The follow-up shot was swift and flew past Michael Leighton to his stick-side for Army’s third goal in seven games with the Admirals on PTO basis from the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL.

Midway through the second period a shot from the right wing wall by Phil Di Giuseppe somehow managed to sneak into the net past Marek Mazanec and go in. The signal was for a good goal but Mazanec was convinced that he had the near post covered firmly. After a lengthy video review the officials determined that Mazanec was absolutely correct. The puck managed to sneak underneath the net and the goal was waved off.

In a second period that saw several chances being brewed up by the Admirals it felt a reward was badly needed to separate them from the Checkers. After Levko Koper delivered an elbow to the head of Justin Kirkland the Admirals delivered a much more appropriate response: ending a power-play drought that lasted twenty-two chances without a goal.

Vladislav Kamenev was able to work a puck loose down the right wing for Adam Payerl. Once the puck was low right wing it became a two-on-one near the net and Payerl hit Matt White back post for a tap in past Leighton for his ninth goal of the season to make it a 2-0 Admirals lead. It was the Admirals first power-play goal since Anthony Bitetto scored on 1/3/17 against the Rockford IceHogs.

It was yet another dominant period of play in the last frame of regulation for the Admirals. It was also rewarded when Trevor Murphy blasted a slap shot from the right point into the top shelf past Leighton for his eighth goal of the season to make it a 3-0 lead. The man with the primary assist on the play was Anthony Richard who earned his first career AHL point in the process.

The Admirals in the final minutes were practically stationed in the attacking zone. They shut the door on the Checkers and Mazanec earned himself a twenty-three save shutout. It is his first shutout of the season and his ninth career AHL shutout. The Admirals in five games now at the Checkers’ new old barn the Bojangles’ Coliseum have won all five.

These two lock horns once again tomorrow night in Charlotte. We’ll see if the Admirals can extend this run in the Bojangles’ Coliseum but more importantly sustain all that was accomplished in tonight’s game. It was a solid effort from the group from start to finish. It really is just what the doctor ordered.

Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played on Friday night there have once again been a chain of roster moves made within the organization. The Nashville Predators claimed defenseman Brad Hunt from waivers off of the St. Louis Blues and placed defenseman Petter Granberg on injured reserve. The Predators then reassigned forward Kevin Fiala to the Milwaukee Admirals. Tonight’s line combinations for the Admirals were: Florek-Smith-Åberg, White-Kamenev-Fiala, Richard-Kirkland-Gaudreau, Liambas-Army-Payerl, Pardy-Murphy, Oligny-Pinkston, Diaby-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches were: Cody Bass (lower-body), Shawn O’Donnell (healthy), and Max Görtz (healthy). By securing a shutout tonight, Marek Mazanec joins fellow Admirals goaltenders Juuse Saros and Jonas Gunnarsson in having a shutout this season. It is the first time since the 2006-07 season that the Admirals had three goaltenders record a shutout in the same season: Pekka Rinne, Karl Goehring, and Scott Reid. Tonight marked the NHL debut of Alex Carrier. The Admirals 2017 AHL All-Star debuted on the road with the Predators against the Vancouver Canucks.

What is your reaction to tonight’s game? How impressed have you been by the addition of Derek Army? Is this recent run with the Milwaukee Admirals the best that Marek Mazanec has played?

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