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Charlotte Checkers’ final attack just misses in Game 2 of AHL playoffs

Charlotte Checkers defender Trevor Carrick gets knocked backward by Chicago Wolves center Wade Megan during the first period of Friday’s Game 2 of the AHL playoff's first round at Bojangles' Coliseum.
Charlotte Checkers defender Trevor Carrick gets knocked backward by Chicago Wolves center Wade Megan during the first period of Friday’s Game 2 of the AHL playoff's first round at Bojangles' Coliseum. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Adam Musil’s goal with 5 minutes and 11 seconds left in the game gave the Chicago Wolves a 3-2 victory Friday against the Charlotte Checkers at Bojangles’ Coliseum in Game 2 of their first-round American Hockey League playoff series.

The Wolves’ win ties the series at one game apiece and the teams now travel to Chicago for the remainder of the best-of-5 series.

Andrew Miller and Dennis Robertson scored goals for the Checkers, who never led, but stayed close throughout.

“I thought it was a pretty even game out there,” Checkers head coach Ulf Samuelsson said. “I saw a desperate Checkers team as well and the margins were small. ... It could have gone either way.”

Three who mattered

Adam Musil, Chicago: The center played in only two regular-season games for the Wolves but came up big in his second playoff game, also assisting on his team’s second goal, by Samuel Blais in the second period.

Andrew Miller, Charlotte: The winger’s second goal of the series was the highlight of another good game for the Lucas Wallmark-centered line. Miller one-timed Wallmark’s cross-ice pass from the left circle to tie the game at 1-1 about four minutes into the second period.

Dennis Robertson, Charlotte: The defenseman’s goal on a slap shot from the right point with a minute and 44 seconds left in the second period tied the game at 2-2.

Observations

▪ As big as Robertson’s goal was, what the Checkers did in their own zone in the three minutes that preceded it might have been even more important. Charlotte goaltender Tom McCollum and his defensive mates stopped at least four good scoring chances by the Wolves, who had grabbed a 2-1 lead about six minutes into the period on Samuel Blais’ slap shot from the high slot.

▪ For a game with playoff intensity, it was relatively penalty-free. The Checkers took no penalties and Chicago recorded only one two-minute minor in the first two periods. That was the only action in the penalty box until the Wolves’ Wade Megan and Charlotte’s Brendan Woods were sent off for roughing after a melee in front of the Chicago goal midway through the third period.

Worth mentioning

▪ The Checkers played the last two minutes with an empty net, in favor of an extra attacker. It almost paid off in the final three seconds as Philip Samuelsson just missed on a slap shot from the slot.

▪ Game 3 starts at 3 p.m. Sunday at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. Game 4 will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Game 5 – if necessary – will be at 8 Wednesday.

He said it

“We’d like to be crisper, definitely. We don’t want to get into a track meet with these guys because as you can see their offense is pretty skilled, especially off the rush.” – Robertson, on how the Checkers played

“I don’t think we really have a mood. We don’t have time to really dwell on the past. We’ll fix a few things and go over some video, but all in all I think we’re going to try to play the same game.” – Miller, on the Checkers’ mood after Friday’s loss

    CHI-1-1-1-3

    CHA-0-2-0-2

    First Period

    Chicago — Friesen 1 (Agozzino, Caron) 4:15.

    Penalties —none

    Second Period

    2. Charlotte — Miller 2 (Wallmark, Zykov) 3:53.

    3. Chicago — Blais 1 (Musil) 5:44.

    4. Charlotte — Robertson 1 (Kristo, McKeown) 18:26.

    Penalties — Schmaltz CHI (tripping) 6:16.

    Third Period

    5. Chicago — Musil 1 (Rattie, Caron) 14:49.

    Penalties — Megan CHI (roughing) 9:59; Woods CHA (roughing) 9:59

    Shots on goal: Chicago 14-12-9-35; Charlotte 13-13-11-37

    Goaltenders: Chicago — Husso 60:00 39 shots- 37 saves; Charlotte: McCollum 35-32

    Power plays: Chicago 0-for-0; Charlotte 0-for-1

    A — 6,714 (at Bojangles Coliseum)

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