In their final home game of the regular season, the Checkers battled back against the division-leading Milwaukee Admirals but came up short, falling 4-2.
The Admirals’ Pontus Aberg opened the scoring with a goal late in the first, but David Wohlberg of the Checkers wiped that lead away with a quick snipe early in the second. But as it did on Saturday, the Admirals’ offense came alive in the middle frame, pumping in a pair of goals to build a two-goal advantage.
The Checkers were able to keep things from spiraling as Justin Shugg cleaned up a rebound in the final 15 seconds to pull the home team back within one with 20 minutes to go.
The rejuvenated Checkers pushed hard for the equalizer in the third, outshooting the Admirals 11-9 in the period and clanking multiple shots off the iron, but they couldn’t find the back of the net.
“Our guys played their hearts out, they really did,” said Checkers coach Mark Morris. “I’m proud of the guys and what they were able to do, especially to rebound after last night.”
Admirals goaltender Juuse Saros improved to 6-0-0 against Charlotte this season.
“Derek Ryan (who suffered an injury earlier in the week) is not here, so somebody has got to step up and we had contributions from those guys, but could have used a few more,” Morris said. “We played a darn good hockey team too and their goalie was outstanding when he needed to be.”
The Checkers will now set their sights on a two-game series with the Lake Erie Monsters, though they will take some time to regroup and recuperate.
Charlotte retains its hold on a playoff position and remains in control of its own destiny. By winning the last two games of the season at Lake Erie on Thursday and Friday, Charlotte would qualify for the playoffs regardless of what San Jose does in its last two games.