The Milwaukee Admirals lost 5-4 in an eight round shootout on the road against the Charlotte Checkers at the Bojangles’ Coliseum on Wednesday night.
If you like crazy games this one certainly hit you over the head while laughing at you from the opening puck drop. There were four-goals scored inside of four minutes of hockey with goals being scored seconds apart from each other in the process. That set the stage for a wild and insane contest that required eight rounds of the shootout tonight before Kris Newbury scored the game-winner to give the Checkers their first win over the Admirals on home ice since 11/30/14 in which they also won via a shootout.
The opening four-minutes of tonight’s game offered some of the most bizarre end-to-end hockey of the season. The Admirals scored twice inside two minutes in a span of thirteen seconds which was followed 1:11 of ice-time later by a pair of goals scored by the Checkers separated by twenty-four seconds.
Pontus Åberg’s hot run continued with a goal to start the night. Trevor Smith’s intercept in the Admirals defensive zone put Åberg on the rush where he would deke defenseman Dennis Robertson out of his skates before scoring on the two-on-one attack from the right wing circle on a wrister for his eighteenth goal of the season.
After the following face-off, Anthony Richard made a very heads up defensive play using his speed to pressure and generate a turnover inside the attacking zone for the Admirals. This then allowed for Frédérick Gaudreau to pick things up, skate towards the right side of the slot, and whip a wrister of his own high-glove past Alex Nedeljkovic to record his seventeenth goal of the season and make it 2-0 Admirals.
1:11 of ice-time later the Checkers scored their opening goal with some controversy. Marek Mazanec had been bumped into by Connor Brickley hard enough to knock the Czech’s goaltending mask off. As the mask was coming off Danny Kristo scored through traffic for his seventh goal of the season. You can thank the AHL for not having goaltender interference as a reviewable play in their rule book.
Perhaps it was the Admirals stewing a little bit over the non-call or perhaps it was simply the way the opening four minutes of the game went – but – the Checkers scored again twenty-four seconds later. Robertson was able to redeem himself after being made a fool of on the game’s opening goal by cranking a hammer shot from the high left point that deflected off traffic in front for his fourth goal of the season. It was a 2-2 game with the Admirals recording two shots on goal, the Checkers recording three shots on goal, and it was only 3:25 into the game.
That wouldn’t be the end of the first period scoring, either.
Philip Samuelsson tried a centering pass from below the goal line that deflected off the skate of the net-front defending Trevor Murphy and past Marek Mazanec to his left pad for the Swede’s second goal of the season. The Admirals would then pop a puck through Nedeljkovic on a completely harmless shot by Justin Florek that went in as his seventh goal of the season and end of the night for Nedeljkovic after allowing three goals from nine shots in 17:32 of work.
In the second period things would stabilize by quite a lot. The Checkers would continue pressuring by recording thirteen second period shots on goal but it was the Admirals skating into the intermission with a 4-3 lead.
After Jake Chelios was called for a tripping minor the Admirals cashed in with a power-play goal from Vladislav Kamenev. The Russian unleashed his Tsar Bomba of a slap shot that flew through Daniel Altshuller for his fourteenth goal of the season to get the Admirals back out in front.
The Checkers first shot registered on target in the third period wouldn’t come until half way through the frame. It would result in the game equalizing at 4-4 with Andrew Poturalski jamming home the rebound from a Roland McKeown wrap-around attempt to score his fourteenth goal of the season.
This game would go past overtime which featured a power-play for the Checkers to start it and one for the Admirals to finish it. Both teams went bust and then proceeded to go eight rounds deep tonight in the shootout. Ultimately, the game would be decided by Kris Newbury in the bottom of the eighth round on a snap shot to the glove-side of Mazanec off the post and in for the game-winner tonight.
It was the first time in two-seasons at the Bojangles’ Coliseum that the Checkers earned a win over the Admirals on their home ice and it took them, much like tonight’s shootout, eight tries to do it. The Checkers are now 1-6-1-0 against the Admirals at their new barn.
You must give credit where credit is due tonight for Altshuller. The Checkers netminder came on at the end of the first period in relief and proceeded to give his team a calming influence in net and only allowed the power-play goal by Kamenev against twenty-four shots faces tonight while denying six of eight attempts in the shootout.
The Admirals are now set for a return back home to Milwaukee. There are twenty-games remaining in their regular season and thirteen of those games will take place at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. They now have a four-game homestand which begins this Saturday night at 6:00 PM CST when they face-off against the Manitoba Moose.
Ramblings: Today was the NHL’s Trade Deadline and the Nashville Predators did make some moves. The lone acquisition by the Predators saw them acquire P.A. Parenteau from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a sixth round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. The Predators then made paper transactions by reassigning and quickly recalling Juuse Saros and Kevin Fiala in an effort to make both eligible for this year’s AHL Calder Cup Playoffs as members of the Milwaukee Admirals. Tonight’s line combinations remained unchanged as has been the case for the past few games: White-Smith-Åberg, Richard-Ribeiro-Gaudreau, Kirkland-Kamenev-Payerl, Florek-Army-Liambas, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Granberg, O’Brien-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches included both Adam Pardy (compound fracture to left arm) and Rick Pinkston (healthy).
What is your reaction to tonight’s game? How bizarre were those opening four-minutes and what are your thoughts on the AHL not having a capacity to replay goaltender interference? The Admirals claimed all but three points on this four-game road trip: was it a positive one?
Be sure to keep updated with Admirals Roundtable through social media platform of your choice: follow along Twitter, like us on Facebook, get photo updates on Instagram, and listen along on SoundCloud.