Charlotte Checkers (20-12-2-1) at Milwaukee Admirals (20-10-0-1)
- Tonight will be the fourth of eight meeting with the Admirals. The Checkers are 2-1 against their Midwest foes, and the most recent victories came at the end of November when the Checkers took all four points during the Admirals first trip to Charlotte.
- The Checkers only loss against the Admirals came on Milwaukee’s home ice. Having personally visited this arena less than a week ago, I would REALLY love to be there tonight to see Charlotte face the guys in baby blue! It’s a great rink with great people, and I wish I could be there.
- This is the first time the Checkers will face an Admirals team coached by Ian Herbers. Herbie replaced Kirk Muller after the Carolina Hurricanes hired him in November.
- Tonight marks the second game of a three-in-three for Milwaukee. Last night, they beat Lake Erie 6-3 at home, and tomorrow they travel to Peoria to face the Rivermen.
- Admirals starting goaltender Jeremy Smith was recalled by Nashville this week. It wasn’t a move due to injury, but one that is intended to help the Predators backup Anders Lindback get some more ice time. It’s something the Preds have a history of doing, as they did this last year to keep backup goalies in Nashville fresh. So Smith will spend some time as a backup in the NHL, and Lindback will get some valuable time starting games between the pipes. Lindback made his season debut last night against Lake Erie.
- The Admirals (and entire Predators organization) is a team that usually builds itself on the strength of its defense. Despite this, the Admirals currently have one of the worst penalty kills in the league. Last night, in a 6-3 victory over Lake Erie, all three goals they allowed were when their special teams were on the ice. Two were power play goals by the Monsters, and the third was a shorthanded goal when the Admirals were on the power play.
- Last night’s game was an intense battle for the Admirals, and included eight fighting majors for the two teams combined. Checkers fans should hope that the Ads have a lot less gas in their tanks tonight.
- The Checkers have
1213 forwards and seven defensemen with them in Milwaukee. Captain Brett Sutter was recalled by the Hurricanes earlier this week, and played on the fourth line last night in the Canes victory over Buffalo. Drayson Bowman andJustin Peters is also still with the Hurricanes.
- Still injured are Justin Shugg and Chris Durno. To combat the multiple forward recalls and injuries, yesterday the Checkers signed Sean Dolan to a PTO. Dolan is currently a rookie in the ECHL with the South Carolina Stingrays, and currently leads the team in points with 20 (7G, 13A). He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, where he played in the Frozen Four in 2010. Hopefully, his Midwestern friends and family will be able to make the trip to Milwaukee for his AHL debut!
- If the Checkers win tonight (or lose in OT), they will maintain the Midwest division lead. A regulation loss will see them fall to second, since Milwaukee is still a number of games back from Charlotte.
- Checkers winger Drayson Bowman was returned to Charlotte this morning after an 11-game stretch with the Hurricanes. Even after nearly a month away from the Checkers, he is still tied for third in goals scored with eight. With the addition of Bowman to the lineup, and if Riley Nash can go (who suffered a knee injury on Wednesday night), PTO newbie Sean Dolan may not make his AHL debut tonight.
Gametime: 8:00 p.m. EST
Milwaukee Blog: The Admirals Roundtable
Referee: Shaun Davis (#31
Linesmen: Aaron Mills (#23), Dan Dineen (#24)