Admirals top the Checkers, 5-2

CHARLOTTE -- Gabriel Bourque scored twice and Michael Latta added three assists to lead the Milwaukee Admirals past the Charlotte Checkers 5-2 Sunday in Charlotte, NC.

Goalie Magnus Hellberg stopped 26 shots to improve to 4-0 on the season, his first in North America. The win snapped Milwaukee’s two-game winless slide.

The Admirals struck first when Patrick Cehlin scored his sixth goal of the season at 4:42 of the first period. Defenseman Victor Bartley fed a pass to Latta in the left corner. Latta sent a pass into the slot for Cehlin. His initial shot was blocked by Checkers forward Jeremy Welsh, but Cehlin corralled the rebound and fired a shot over the glove of goalie Dan Ellis.

The Admirals made it 2-0 at 6:22 of the first period. Checkers defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti turned the puck over in the right circle to Latta. Latta swept a pass to the crease for Bourque to tap in for his third goal of the season.

A turnover by Milwaukee’s Bartley led to Charlotte’s first goal at 15:08 of the first period. Bartley tried to clear the puck from the left wing boards to the middle of the ice. Checkers defenseman Michal Jordan intercepted, then wristed a shot from the left circle past Hellberg for his first goal of the season.

Admirals center Mark Van Guilder scored his fifth goal of the season at 1:29 of the second period to stretch the lead to two. Van Guilder chased a loose puck above the Charlotte crease. He never got a shot off, but dragged it with him beyond the goal line. He then tried to pass, but Checkers defenseman Brett Bellemore tipped it to the Admirals right point. Defenseman Ryan Ellis fired a slapper that was stopped by the goalie. A big rebound was kicked into the slot and Van Guilder potted it.

Milwaukee made it 4-1 at 17:39 of the third period. Cam Reid received a long outlet at the Checkers blue line. He had a momentary breakaway that was erased by backchecking defenseman Justin Faulk. Reid put a shot on net that was stopped. However, he snagged the rebound and skated around the goal to the right wing corner. Facing the wall, Reid spun a no-look, backhanded pass between three defenders to Austin Watson in the slot. Watson, who was racing full-speed toward the net, slammed the one-timer past the goalie for his ninth goal of the season.

The Admirals benefited from another Charlotte turnover to score their fifth goal at 10:11 of the third period. Charlotte defenseman Justin Faulk turned the puck over to Latta. Latta’s shot was stopped by the goalie but Bourque was there to bury the rebound for his second of the game and fifth of the season.

The Checkers closed the scoring at 10:50 of the third when Hellberg wandered into the left corner n an attempt to clear the puck. Charlotte’s Brett Sutter intercepted the clearing try and put the puck into an empty net for his ninth goal of the season.

The Admirals conclude the three-game road trip Tuesday evening at Charlotte. Milwaukee’s next home game is Friday, December 14 at 7 pm against the IceHogs.