The Milwaukee Admirals won 5-2 on the road against the Charlotte Checkers at the Bojangles’ Coliseum on Tuesday night.
The Admirals undefeated run at the Bojangles’ Coliseum continued tonight and did so thanks to a power-play that cashed in three times and penalty kill unit that shutdown all five Checkers chances. The Swedes shined tonight with Pontus Åberg picking up two goals and an assist while Jonas Gunnarsson made thirty-two saves to earn his third win of the season.
It wasn’t a pretty start for the Admirals and specifically Pontus Åberg. The Swede took two penalties in two shifts within the game’s opening four-minutes. Thankfully the Admirals penalty kill was up to the task and Åberg was able to redeem himself before the end of the period.
On the Admirals second power-play chance Frédérick Gaudreau delivered a beauty of a pass to Åberg in the left wing circle and had some time and space to measure up Daniel Altshuller in net. Åberg moved in and then snapped a forehand shot high blocker side along the near post to score his sixteenth goal of the season with 2:20 remaining in the first period.
In the second period the Admirals were able to extend their lead to 2-0 after seeing a neutral ice turnover take place while they were in the midst of a change. Derek Army latched on to the puck and had a breakaway that saw him finish low blocker side on Altshuller to record his seventh goal in only his twenty-second game of the season since joining the Admirals on a PTO basis from the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL.
Andrew Miller would deny Jonas Gunnarsson’s shutout level effort with a backhanded tally out in front of the net with 4:01 remaining in the second period. The play from Miller capped off a great skating shift in the attacking zone for the Checkers which opened up space for Miller to pop in his fourth goal of the season.
That wouldn’t be the last of the goals scored in the second period, either. The Admirals and Checkers traded goals in the final two-minutes to end the second period at a 3-2 Admirals advantage.
Åberg managed to score his second goal of the night on a shot from the center of the blueline. His shot was assisted into the net because of the net front presence of Matt White which pulled in Andrew Poturalski who tagged the shot with the blade of his stick and fooled his own netminder allowing for Åberg’s seventeenth goal of the season.
The Checkers answered back 1:09 of ice-time later with a goal in the final minute of the second period. Connor Brickley scored off of a net front redirect on Levko Koper’s shot from the left wing and the puck just squirted through Gunnarsson to give Brickley his sixth goal on the season.
It isn’t every day you see penalties taken by goaltenders but, at the start of the third period, that happened and allowed for an Admirals power-play goal. Altshuller was called for holding and the Admirals power-play setup kindly for Åberg to get his hat trick. The lone problem was Åberg shot, wide open in the low left wing, whistled wide of the net and ended up popping back off the glass and over the net for Gaudreau to score with ease. The goal for Gaudreau was his sixteenth of the season.
The Admirals would follow that up with their third power-play goal of the night. Adam Payerl scored after some doing. His initial shot from the low left wing kicked off the skate of Justin Kirkland. The puck then came back to Payerl who fought through a stick lift to get a second chance to pop a shot by Altshuller and did so to set a career high for goals in a season with fourteen to make it 5-2 Admirals.
And that is where the scoreline would rest. The win gets the Admirals to quickly forget the horrors of Grand Rapids from this past Saturday night and also saw a great night in net from Gunnarsson. This was just the Swede’s ninth start of the season and he made thirty-two saves, allowed two goals, and earned his third win of the season.
Tomorrow night these two teams will be right back in action at the Bojangles’ Coliseum for a 6:00 PM CST face-off. The Admirals will then return back home to Milwaukee and see the Manitoba Moose on Saturday night at 6:00 PM CST.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Saturday night there were no roster moves made in the organization. There was a delayed roster note though by way of AHL Transactions that stated that the Admirals re-signed defenseman Adam Pinkston to a PTO Contract on 2/19/17 after having released him on 2/16/17. Tonight’s line combinations for the Admirals were: White-Smith-Åberg, Richard-Ribeiro-Gaudreau, Kirkland-Kamenev-Payerl, Florek-Army-Liambas, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Granberg, O’Brien-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches were: Adam Pardy (compound fracture to left arm) and Rick Pinkston (healthy). Tomorrow marks the NHL Trade Deadline. That also means that it will be the deadline for AHL Playoff Roster eligibility. Be aware of potential paper transactions tomorrow that might see members of the Nashville Predators assigned to the AHL just for such reason before being recalled without ever moving an inch.
What is your reaction to tonight’s effort from the Milwaukee Admirals? Is Pontus Aberg due for another recall or might he end up being used as trade bait for tomorrow’s NHL Trade Deadline? Should Jonas Gunnarsson see more time in net? How can the Admirals carry this performance into tomorrow night and not fall into a trap such as their previous road two-in-two?
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