Checkers: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)
(Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)

The Milwaukee Admirals last result was one that hurt -but- one that also came at the hands of one of the best teams in the AHL. It’s one thing to lose a clunker such as that. It is an entirely different thing to follow that performance up with the exact same deflating results the following times out.

That is what lies ahead for the Admirals. They lost 6-2 on Saturday night to the Grand Rapids Griffins on the road, traveled Sunday to Charlotte, and are now set to play against a team in the Charlotte Checkers who -also- last played on Saturday when they won 6-1 over the Cleveland Monsters. To put it bluntly: if the Admirals allow a repeat of Grand Rapids to happen against the Checkers – it will happen.

Right now the Admirals hold a record of 31-18-3-2 (67 points, 0.620 points percentage). For a good while now they have been knocking around the second and third spot in the Central Division with the Chicago Wolves (0.634) while both having a decent cushion ahead of the Iowa Wild (0.527). The Admirals are in a fine enough of a spot in the standings but there isn’t a time on this planet for them to ever be content with that. A good time to surge would be now.

Standing in front of the Admirals tonight and tomorrow night are the Checkers who hold a record of 25-24-4-0 (54 points, 0.509 points percentage). They are currently in fifth place in the Central Division and tenth place in the Western Conference standings.

The Checkers are currently on a point streak of four-games (3-1-0-0) which includes taking a point from the Admirals when they lost 5-4 in overtime two weekends ago. The run came on the back of losing 6-3 to the Admirals on Slap Shot night in which Vladislav Kamenev scored the first hat trick of his North American pro playing career.

The Admirals are 5-1-0-0 against the Checkers this season. Not only that, but with today and tomorrow in mind, the Admirals have yet to lose to the Checkers since the Checkers moved into the Bojangles’ Coliseum last season. The Checkers are 0-5-1-0 against the Admirals on home ice since the start of the 2015-16 season.

Leading the charge for the Checkers offensively at the moment is rookie Andrew Poturalski who has scored 38 points (13 goals, 25 assists) in 53 games this season. Against the Admirals he has produced 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) in 6 games. The leading scorer in the head-to-head match up for the Checkers is Valentin Zykov who has scored 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) in 6 games against the Admirals this season.

The second leading scorer for the Checkers also happens to be second for the team in tonight’s match-up with the Admirals. Lucas Wallmark has 34 points (19 goals, 15 assists) in 53 games. The first year North American pro has 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists) in 6 games versus the Admirals this season.

Someone who might not be available for the Checkers tonight is goaltender Michael Leighton. The AHL’s all-time shutout king’s last outing came against the Admirals on 2/17/17 and saw him bow out due to a lower-body injury after 26:57 of time in net.

The man who relieved Leighton on that night was 21-year old Alex Nedeljkovic who has played the better majority since. Nedeljkovic has a record of 8-13-1-0 from 23 appearances this season with a 3.20 goals against average, 0.888 save percentage, and a shutout to his name. He is partnered up with Daniel Altshuller who earned the win in net last time out for the Checkers as he stopped 26/27 on home ice against the Monsters.

What are your expectations for these two games against the Charlotte Checkers? How important is it for the Milwaukee Admirals to have a good first period tonight to set a tone and amends for their last outings failures? Do you think Wednesday night’s game could see changes with the NHL Trade Deadline looming and finishing prior to game-time?

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One thought on “Checkers: Scouting the Enemy”

  1. I expect this team to come out like it has many times after a crap game with a strong defensive minded game and a detailed game plan when playing in our own zone. The only problem with that is if Mr Leighton is in net we’ll be playing into their hands. It’s hard getting pucks past this guy and if this is a defensive battle the scale tilts slightly Charlottes way. We are on the eve of trade deadline for the NHL and with the Predators recent surge in play makes a “sell some future for now” move more probable. Hopefully we don’t lose too much I look at the Wolves losing Phoenix Copley yesterday and a major blow for a team having a strong year. Us losing any of the as I call em the “Big 4” (Kamenev, Freddy, Carrier or Maz) I feel may put us in serious peril. Maz despite how I felt in the beginning of the yr has been our most important player period, nothing against Gunner, he just hasn’t had enough time to play, but if Maz is moved I feel we are sunk. Any of the others would be sad to see get moved for they are all developing into real solid players with very bright futures. A few yrs ago we went to Charlotte and came back coach less this time I feel we’re gonna be light a few players. Also quick question, what’s up with Rick Pinkston? I know he was reassigned to Manchester he even had a goal first game back but lately I’ve looked at their boxscore and he’s not even listed. Is he hurt? Did we call him back?

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