The Gulls’ domination remained the same. Only the face behind the goaltender’s mask changed.
Alain Chevrier, getting the start because Scott Brower was sidelined with a bad shoulder, turned away 26 shots Friday night to lead the Gulls to a 3-1 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals in front of 9,642 at the Bradley Center.
The Gulls kept alive hopes of earning the fourth and final playoff berth in the International Hockey League’s West Division. The Admirals (33-41-3), who could have eliminated the Gulls with a victory, have a three-point lead for fourth place, and each team has five games remaining.
With the stakes so high, the Gulls probably would have felt safer with Brower in goal. He had started all eight games this season against Milwaukee, going 6-1-1 (3-1 in the Bradley Center) and compiling a 2.73 goals-against average.
But Chevrier and the defense rose to the occasion.
“We played a good, sound, disciplined game,” said Gull Coach Mike O’Connell, whose team was coming off a 7-2 loss Wednesday at Phoenix. “We played it close to the vest. We eliminated their men coming into our zone, and we got the saves from Chevrier we haven’t been getting lately.”
Center Larry Floyd provided the offense, getting his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season.
“He’s been a consistent player all year--he’s taken pride in his job and he’s worked hard every night,” O’Connell said of Floyd, who leads the team with 53 assists and 76 points. “Consistency is something he’s done, but something we’ve lacked as a team all year.”
Floyd’s first score came at 8:11 in the first period, but three minutes later, the Admirals tied it on Andrew McBain’s goal.
Ron Duguay got the tiebreaker at 4:56 in the second period. The unassisted goal was his 15th of the season.
Floyd gave the Gulls’ defense some breathing room when he scored at 6:24 of the third period on assists from Mark Vichorek and Al Tuer. The Admirals had only six shots in the final period.
The Gulls and Admirals each play a division leader tonight. Milwaukee plays at West-leading Peoria, and the Gulls visit East-leading Kalamazoo.