Charlotte Checkers vs. Milwaukee Admirals
In their final meeting this season, the Checkers shook off a rough start to upend the Admirals in a shootout.

The Admirals came roaring out of the gates with two tallies in the first two minutes of play to put Charlotte in an early hole, but the home team responded with a pair of rapid-fire strikes just a minute later, with newcomer Danny Kristo sniping one in 24 seconds before Dennis Robertson blasted a puck from the blue line in.

The first period scoring frenzy wasn’t over, however. Fellow newcomer Philip Samuelsson banked a shot in off Admirals netminder Marek Mazanec from below the goal line later in the frame, but the lead was again erased thanks to a quick backhander from Justin Florek to even the score at three before the first period had even ended.

That would end starter Alex Nedeljkovic’s night, as Daniel Altshuller would replace the rookie following Milwaukee’s third goal. The visitors continued their reign of terror on the man advantage from yesterday with another power-play goal in the middle frame to garner a one-goal lead heading into the final 20 minutes.

The Checkers struggled to mount pressure in the third, only registering two shots during the frame, but were able to make one of those count. Leading scorer Andrew Poturalski banged home a rebound out front to knot the game and eventually send things to overtime.

Each team was awarded a power play in the extra frame but no goals resulted, and the game would move on to be decided in the shootout. Matt White broke the ice in the third round with a goal, but Kristo stepped up with a quick wrister to keep the home squad alive. Mike Ribeiro would give the Admirals another shot at victory three rounds later, but again the Checkers responded, this time courtesy of Sergey Tolchinsky. Finally, in the bottom of the eighth round, Kris Newbury wired a rocket of a wrist shot off the right post and in to bring the game to a close, sealing two points in the standings for Charlotte.

Quotes

Head coach Ulf Samuelsson on the bumpy start: “It was not the start we had in mind. We felt like we played a really good first period, but obviously the score wasn’t what we wanted. It was a lot different from yesterday and we could feel better energy on our bench, guys were more committed and treated this game like a must-win. They came through and battled really hard.”

Jake Chelios on the feeling on the bench after falling in a 2-0 hole: “We’re a confident group right now – there’s no doubt about that. We don’t quit because we know we’re always in every game. We’ve come back in a lot of third periods this year, especially with our lineup right now with every line that can score. There’s no sense in quitting because we always have a shot.”

Chelios on serving as captain in Patrick Brown’s absence: “It’s just fun. I don’t know if I would call it responsibility because there’s so many older guys and leaders on this team. It’s basically just a good Instagram picture for me. It’s good to be in the room with the guys and it’s nice that Ulf thinks that highly of me, and we’re all just having a good time.”

Chelios on his uptick in shooting: “Ulf’s been on me about that all year and every coach I’ve ever had has been on me about that all year. We’re just getting it to the net. Right now we’ve got four great forward lines, which makes it a lot easier for the D because they can create space and give us time. If you see us go in droughts it’s because we have no confidence, but right now our confidence level is high and we’ve got to keep on scoring.”

Danny Kristo on the Checkers’ first-period rally: “Being down 2-0, that first goal was big and then to get another one on the same shift gave a huge spark to our bench and got us right back into the game. Everyone knew we were going and we were back to square one. It was a good first period to come out there 3-2.”

Kristo on getting a new start with the Checkers: “Anytime you come to a new team it’s kind of a fresh start. A team wants you, so it’s a spark for me. I was struggling a little bit point-wise throughout the year I would say, and this is my first year in the American league where I haven’t gotten a lot of bounces my way. I just kind of took the opportunity for a new start, coach Samuelsson gave me one right away and I’ve been playing well so hopefully I can keep it going.”

Samuelsson on his goaltenders: “Both of these guys are capable at any time to come up with a big game, but they’re both young. Ned had a tough one today but he’ll learn from it and become better. Danny came in, made a couple of key saves early and I thought he was solid for us.”

Samuelsson on Andrew Poturalski’s recent hot streak: “He’s getting a little quicker in the red zone, so to speak. He’s getting used to people being on him all the time and hacking and whacking, but he still manages to get his stick there and is just doing things slightly quicker.”

Notes

The Checkers finished the season series against Milwaukee with a 2-3-3 record. Four of the games went to overtime, with this being the Checkers’ only win … This was Charlotte’s first home victory against Milwaukee since Nov. 30, 2014, ending a seven-game winless streak (0-6-1) … The Checkers are now 2-0 in shootouts this season … Charlotte is now 18-7-1 at home, with this being its first victory in black jerseys (1-4-1) … There were four goals on the game’s first five shots … Aberg’s goal to open the scoring at 1:37 was four seconds shy of being the fastest the Checkers have allowed to open a game this season (Dec. 17 vs. Grand Rapids) … Kristo and Samuelsson both scored their first goals as Checkers … One day after his eight-game point streak came to an end, Andrew Poturalski picked up three points (1g, 2a) to give him 13 (5g, 8a) in his last 10 games … Connor Brickley had an assist to extend his point streak to three games (1g, 2a) … The Checkers are 0-for-16 on the power play in their last six games … Forwards Patrick Dwyer, Kyle Hagel and Mitchell Heard and goaltender Michael Leighton missed the game due to injury.

Up Next

The Checkers push for the playoffs continues as they kick off a two-game set against the Bakersfield Condors Saturday at 6 p.m.
Nicholas Niedzielski
Author: Nicholas NiedzielskiEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Director of Communications Nicholas Niedzielski joined the Checkers in the summer of 2014. A Texas native, he previously worked for the AHL's Texas Stars.