On this final day of Thanksgiving weekend, I’m grateful for many things, but especially a second Checkers win in a row, and the piece of leftover pumpkin pie I’m enjoying while I write.
With a goal by Justin Shugg, the Checkers 3-2 shootout victory over the Milwaukee Admirals led to their first back to back wins of the 2014-15 season, thanks to stellar goaltending from first star Drew MacIntyre, who I gave the hashtag #MACnificent to following another outstanding performance.
The game was full of firsts for the Checkers. It was their first win of the season after trailing at the end of the first period, their first trip to the shootout, and their first back-to-back wins.
The Checkers, who reached overtime for only the third time this season, faced the three-on-three portion for the first time. A new rule in 2014 saw OT being lengthened to a seven minute period, with the first four minutes being 4-on-4 and the final three 3-on-3 hockey. The formula for what skaters to play was constantly changing between two defensemen and one forward, or two forwards and one defenseman.
“It’s exciting. It’s crazy on the bench. You’re trying to see f you want to go two D or two forwards. It was our first experience with it but for me, it’s exciting,” Daniels continued, “We won the game in a shootout, but I’d rather see the game won four-on-four or three on three.”
Beau Schmitz, who was back in the lineup for his second game in a row after sitting out since October 25, saw a lot of ice time during the afternoon matchup, and contributed an assst on AJ Jenks game-tying goal in the third period. His perspective on Justin Shugg’s recent play, and game-winning shootout goal is one shared by Checkers players and fans a like.
“He’s [Shugg] been playing great. He’s a benefit to have back in the lineup. Goal scoring and getting pucks out.”
(Editors note: Shugg was standing nearby when this was said, and even after Shugg chirped Schmitz a bit, Beau stayed positive, so it must be true!)
Schmitz, like all of the Checkers players, experienced three-on-three OT hockey for the first time in his career.
“It’s a bit different. It’s exciting,” Schmitz said, “I haven’t even watched something like that before.”
Drew MacIntyre, who stopped all five of the shots he faced in extra time and then perfect in the shootout, had an intense seven minutes of overtime, including the first minute that left the Checkers short handed to a late third period penalty by AJ Jenks.
“It’s not ideal, not good for the old heart,” MacIntyre sad with a smile, “It was a good test for us. Our PK wasn’t good enough last night. It was a good test for us. We played well tonight.”
MacIntyre was glad Charlotte had the first try at three-on-three OT hockey, but it’s not his first choice for ending a hockey game.
“Obviously, I like it in the playoffs where you just keep playing. That’s hockey. That’s intense…. I like overtime. I like shootouts when I win, but when I lose I hate them.”
Other Admiral thoughts (get it? Admiral thoughts?)
- The Checkers are in the midst of a four-game home winning streak, including three games against Admirals teams (of Norfolk and Milwaukee, combined).
- Maybe, with the recent Checkers home-streak against Admirals teams, the Checkers can get the league to change all the other teams to the Admirals. But then it would be like the Harlem Globetrotters facing the same team every night, but they have a great win-streak going, so I might be onto something.