Checkers Survive Norfolk Comeback with Thrilling OT Victory
CHARLOTTE, NC- Aaron Palushaj’s goal at 4:14 into overtime lifted the Charlotte Checkers to a 4-3 victory over the Norfolk Admirals Sunday evening at the Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Checkers took the lead first when Beau Schmitz closed in on the right side and slung a puck towards Gibson. Philippe Cornet deflected the shot past Admirals goaltender John Gibson for the goal.
With time winding down in the opening period, Charlotte’s Brett Sutter slipped out from behind the net between Dave Steckel and Kevin Gagne before sneaking a pass in front of the net to Zach Boychuk. Boychuk lifted the puck for the close range finish to the Checkers ahead 2-0 into the first intermission.
Norfolk increased the pressure noticeably in the next period and Charlotte watched their two-goal advantage evaporate. Max Friberg shelved a wrist shot on the far side at the 10:31 mark to put the Admirals on the board.
Less than a minute later, Charlie Sarault fooled Checkers’ netminder John Muse when he spun and fired a shot from the slot to tie the game at two at 11:25 mark of the period.
Charlotte responded a little more than a minute later, as blue liner Matthew Corrente answered it at 12:39. Corrente handled the puck along the right point before powering a slap shot that was tipped and redirected past Gibson by Justin Shugg to regain the lead.
It was 3-2 Charlotte entering the third period before the home crowd saw Emerson Etem swat home a loose puck in front of Muse to bring the Admirals even at the 3:18 mark of the final frame.
Neither side could break the deadlock in regulation, forcing an eleventh overtime period for the Admirals this season.
Just as it looked like a shootout would be necessary, Charlotte’s Aaron Palushaj scored on a snap shot that ricocheted off the stick of Norfolk captain Garnet Exelby. The puck hopped off the wood and over Gibson’s shoulder. The Checkers snatched the 4-3 win with 46 seconds remaining in overtime.
John Muse came up with 36 saves on 39 shots en route to Charlotte’s third win in a row. John Gibson saved 23 shots as Norfolk managed to pick up one point in the loss.
The two teams will meet again in Charlotte on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Fans can tune-in to the game on 1490AM The Game, or online at www.1490amthegame.com Fans can also watch the game online at http://ahl.neulion.com/ahl/
The Admirals are back in action at Scope on Friday (Dec. 20) and Saturday (Dec. 21) against the Adirondack Phantoms. Friday's game is Salvation Army Night, and on Saturday there will be a postgame skate with the Admirals players.
Game tickets are now on sale, and are available through the Norfolk Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 and online at ticketmaster.com.
For 10-packs, or discounted group tickets stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope, or call (757) 640-1212 Office hours are Monday - Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fans can also visit us online at www.norfolkadmirals.com
NOTES: Emerson Etem extended his point streak to six games. Etem has posted nine points (3g, 6a) during this current streak which began back on December 7…Rickard Rakell’s four-game point scoring streak was snapped on Sunday….Defenseman Nolan Yonkman played in his 700th professional game on Sunday. Yonkman has appeared in 624 American Hockey League games, while making 76 NHL appearances.