Checkers: Scouting the Enemy

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

A running theme of late for the Milwaukee Admirals has been that of inconsistency. There have been some high-highs and low-lows that all seem to come in waves of results that never see them get on a positive run. The Admirals 5-1 win on Wednesday night over the San Antonio Rampage ended on a third period where everything finally seemed to snap into place.

All that’s needed now is for this up-and-down pattern to shatter and for the Admirals to sustain a solid run of form while they have plenty of home games en route to the finish line of the 2016-17 season.

The Charlotte Checkers are going to be the ones tasked with bringing that first paragraph into turmoil this weekend. They enter tonight and Sunday afternoon’s contest with a record of 22-23-3-0 (47 points, 0.490 points percentage) which has them in sixth place of the Central Division and thirteenth in the Western Conference standings.

The Checkers are entering tonight on a good run of their own. They have won three straight games and have a record of 9-3-1-0 from their last 13 games overall. The game that started that run came back on 1/10/17 which saw them earn a 5-1 win of their own… against the Milwaukee Admirals… at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.

That little teaser aside, the Admirals during that same run traveled to Charlotte’s Bojangles’ Coliseum and earned wins of 3-0 and an overtime win of 4-3. In those games Marek Mazanec, Kevin Fiala, and Anthony Richard all looked phenomenal. As for that last home meeting between the two teams? That was -to me- the worst loss of the season given how lifeless the Admirals actually played. And don’t think that that’s not in the memory bank of the Admirals tonight.

Leading the Checkers in scoring this season are a pair of rookies. Andrew Poturalski has the team lead with 31 points (9 goals, 22 assists). He is followed closely by Lucas Wallmark who has contributed 28 points (16 goals, 12 assists). Wallmark leads the team in goals. The next closest to him in that respect is  Valentin Zykov who has 11 goals this season.

In net the Checkers have the all-time AHL shutout king, Michael Leighton. He has a record of 11-7-3-0 from 22 appearances this season with a 2.17 goals against average, 0.921 save percentage, and 3 shutouts. Against the Admirals this season he has gone 0-1-2-0 with a 3.34 goals against average and 0.884 save percentage. His battery-mate in net this weekend is 21-year old Alex Nedeljkovic.

What are your expectations for this weekend’s games against the Charlotte Checkers? Did the Milwaukee Admirals find an identity for themselves on Wednesday night? With two games against the same opponent this weekend will we be seeing our fair share of rough stuff tonight to set a tone? 

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