The last time Milwaukee’s Atte Engren played against the Checkers (27Nov2011), he was pulled by then coach Kirk Muller after allowing goals on the first two shots he faced. The Checkers went on to win the game by a 5-1 score (and of course Muller went on to coach our beloved Hurricanes). Friday night’s match-up between the two teams appeared at the start like it could be headed down the same road when Engren gave up a goal on Charlotte’s first shot. Unlike the November game, however, Engren bounced back quickly and stopped the Checkers’ next 20 shots before giving up the game winner to Zac Dalpe in overtime. The 2-1 win for the Checkers stretches their Midwest Division lead to six points.
Sean Dolan opened the scoring for Charlotte just 2:31 into the first period, scoring off a Bobby Sanguinetti shot from the point. The assist for Sanguinetti extended his point streak to 11 games (5G, 10A), the longest active streak in the AHL. Dolan, playing in the 14th game of his PTO (professional try-out) contract, has been making a strong case for a permanent position on the team. In his fourteen games, he has chipped in three goals and three assists but some of his biggest contributions have been on the defensive side of the puck where he has become a key penalty killer for the Checkers.
That penalty kill showed up big at the end of the first period when the Checkers killed off a high-sticking double-minor to Rasmus Rissanen and held on to the 1-0 lead going into intermission.
The second period was a tight-checking affair where the neither team could generate many offensive chances. With just over a minute left in the frame, the Admirals forced a turnover in the neutral zone and Kyle Wilson broke in alone, beating goaltender John Muse to the blocker side.
The third period and most of the overtime were much of the same with neither team able to muster many chances and the net minders standing strong when shots did find their way through. The game appeared headed into a shootout when Zac Dalpe took on the role of hero. Dalpe was left alone at the side of the net, took a pass from Jerome Samson, and lifted the puck over Engren with just 12.5 seconds remaining. The goal was Dalpe’s 12th of the season and his second game-winner.
John Muse continued his hot play in net for the Checkers, allowing just one goal on 26 shots and improving his record to 8-1-0 this season.
Official Game Sheet: here
The Checkers are back in action again at 8pm EST tonight in Peoria for another divisional match-up. You can catch the game audio on WBCN 1660 AM or both video and audio are available at www.ahllive.com.