Admirals Close Weekend with 4-3 Shootout Loss at Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, NC – The Charlotte Checkers rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Norfolk Admirals 4-3 in the shootout at Time Warner Cable Arena Sunday evening. Despite the loss, Norfolk (21-13-1-6, 49pts) has earned points in four straight games (6pts)
It took the Admirals 62 minutes to score in Saturday night’s 1-0 overtime win over Worcester, but it took less than three minutes for Norfolk to light the lamp on Sunday.
Antoine Laganiere fired a shot from the left wing circle that was deflected wide. However, the puck hit off the end boards and bounced to the right of the Charlotte net. That is where Laganiere regained possession and slipped the puck past Charlotte goaltender John Muse. Laganiere’s sixth goal of the season at 2:55 of the first period gave Norfolk an early 1-0 lead.
Halfway through the period, the Admirals added to their lead, as the line of Laganiere, John Kurtz, and Norm Ezekiel struck again. Laganiere slipped a pass behind the Charlotte net which was caught by Kurtz. Kurtz fielded the puck and stuffed it into the net on the nearside post to give Norfolk a 2-0 lead.
Charlotte took advantage of a power play opportunity to grab its first goal of the game. Aaron Palushaj fired a wrist shot from the high slot that beat Norfolk netminder Brad Thiessen over his right shoulder to pull the Checkers within one at the end of the first period.
The Checkers used the power play again to tie the game at two. Mark Flood belted a slapshot from the point that hit off the stick of Norfolk’s Laganiere and redirected into the net for the goal. The 2-2 score held through the remainder of the period.
Norfolk started the third period with 90 seconds of power play time. Alex Grant delivered a wobbling puck from the blue line that found its way through a screen and into the back of the net to give the Admirals a 3-2 lead at 1:26 of the period.
The Checkers responded at the 14:47 mark when Greg Nemisz had three chances to jab at a loose puck at the top of the crease. The Admirals were unable to clear, and Nemisz buried the puck on the third attempt to tie the game at three to eventually force overtime.
The teams were unable to seal things in the extra session, sending the game to be decided in the shootout. Charlotte scored on its first three shooters, receiving tallies from Matthew Pistilli, Aaron Palushaj, and Chris Terry. Norfolk did get some help on a goal by Emerson Etem, but it would not be enough, as the Checkers take the game in the shootout by a 4-3 count.
The Checkers outshot the Admirals 53-39. John Muse earns the win making 36 saves, while Brad Thiessen takes the loss despite making 49 saves.
The GEICO Challenge Cup Series: Charlotte leads six points to Norfolk’s four points.
The Admirals return home to Scope on Friday and Saturday for a big East Division matchup with rival the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
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
GAME NOTES: Goaltender Brad Thiessen returned the lineup for Norfolk on Sunday after missing time due to an injury. Thiessen had been out of the lineup since December 6…With an assist in the game, Norm Ezekiel recorded his first career AHL point…Charlotte’s 53 shots was the most allowed by the Admirals this season. Both teams combined for 92 shots in the contest, which is the most in a game involving the Admirals this season.