CHARLOTTE — Goalie Atte Engren stopped 33 shots to lead the Milwaukee Admirals past the Charlotte Checkers Thursday in Charlotte, 4-2.
The win was Engren’s first since Feb. 29. He stopped all 13 shots he saw in the third period to help the Admirals move closer to a playoff position in the Western Conference. Since the AHL All-Star break, Engren is 4-5-3 with a .930 save percentage
The Admirals got on the board first with a power play goal at 11:34 of the first period. Victor Bartley’s shot from the point deflected into the air where it was knocked to the ice by Chris Mueller. Brodie Dupont slapped the puck from the slot and past Justin Peters for his sixth goal of the season, third on the power play.
The Checkers tied the game with a power play goal of its own at 14:32 of the first period. Charlotte forward Evgenii Dadonov tapped the puck from the right wing boards to Joe Sova at the left point. Sova slapped a pass to the right post where Zach Boychuk deflected the puck into the net for his 20th goal of the season. The goal was the first allowed by Milwaukee’s penalty kill unit since March 17 (seven games) and snapped a string of 31 straight penalties killed.
The Admirals reclaimed the lead with another power play goal at 5:33 of the second period. Ryan Thang fed the puck to the right corner for Dupont. Dupont passed the puck for Teemu Laakso to fire a slapshot past Peters from the right circle for his third goal of the season, second on the power play.
The Admirals stretched the lead to two goals at 10:46 of the second period when Chris Mueller completed a gorgeous passing play with Thang and Jon Blum for his 29th goal of the season. Blum carried the puck on the left wing and threaded a pass to Thang in the right circle. As the goalie moved to defend Thang, Thang tapped a one-touch pass to Mueller, who was skating down the slot, for the goal.
Drayson Bowman scored his 12th goal at 11:38 of the second period to make it 3-2 when Justin Krueger’s backhander from the slot bounced toward Engren. Bowman slammed the rebound past Engren’s right pad for his 21st goal of the season.
The Admirals took the two-goal lead once again with 2:46 remaining in the second period. Kyle Wilson crossed the Checkers line on the right wing. Taylor Beck skated along the boards and caught Wilson’s pass at the bottom of the right circle. Beck crashed to the net and jammed the puck under the left pad of Peters for his 15th goal of the season. Bartley recorded the secondary assist.
Milwaukee continues its seven-game road trip with a visit to San Antonio Saturday night. The next, and final, Admirals home game of the season is Sunday, Apr 15 as the Charlotte Checkers visit the Bradley Center at 3pm.