MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Admirals found themselves in a three-goal third-period deficit and battled back to pull within one, but couldn’t find the equalizer and dropped a 4-3 decision to the Charlotte Checkers on Friday night in their home opener for the 2012-13 season at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Trailing 4-1 in the final stanza, the Ads Patrick Cehlin scored his third goal of the year on the power-play when he drilled a one-timer from the slot that beat Charlotte goalie Justin Peters high glove side at the 10:04 mark. Milwaukee pulled within one with just 3:01 to play in the game on Mattias Ekholm’s first goal as an Admiral, also on the power-play. Taylor Beck took a shot that Peters made a pad save on, but the puck went to the left face-off dot and Ekholm crashed in for a slapper that found the back of the net.
The Admirals had a good opportunity to tie the game late when the Checkers Brent Sutter went to the box for interference with 18 seconds remaining to give the Ads a 6-on-4 power-play with goalie Jeremy Smith pulled in favor of an extra attacker. However, Milwaukee had a difficult time establishing the zone and Charlotte was able to clear the puck with five seconds remaining, effectively ending the contest.
Charlotte took an early lead when Victor Rask scored at the 12:10 mark of the first, but the Ads tied it at one on a magnificent effort by Gabriel Bourque. While on the forecheck Bourque hit Jerome Samson, separated him from the puck, and then picked it up and put a fired a shot past an out of position Peters.
However, the Checkers scored the game’s next three goals, including the game-winner on a breakaway by Zack Boychuck at the 5:54 mark of the third period.
Bourque and Ekholm each finished the night with a goal and an assist to pace the Milwaukee offense, while Smith suffered his first loss of the season after making 20 saves on the night.
The Admirals begin a four-game road trip Saturday night in San Antonio against the Rampage. Their next home contest will be on October 31st, also against the Checkers.