Alex Nedlejkovic shutout
Alex Nedeljkovic turned in a brilliant 36 save performance to win a goaltending duel with Pheonix Copley as Charlotte edged Hershey 3-0 on Friday night.

The result, which came on the first of a five-game road trip, extended the Checkers’ point streak to a season-long three games (2-0-1). It was the first shutout of the season for both Nedeljkovic and the Checkers, who improved to 6-5-2 on the season as they prepare for a Saturday evening rematch with the Bears.

Nedeljkovic, the reigning AHL Goaltender of the Year who started the season winless in his first five outings, has now won two straight. In his last three starts, he has stopped 84 of 87 shots for a .966 save percentage. Copley, his Bears counterpart, made 26 saves on the evening.

The Checkers’ goaltender was at his best in the third period, making 16 saves to preserve a 1-0 lead that the team earned in the second frame when Steven Lorentz deflected a power-play shot by Eetu Luostarinen. It wasn’t until very late in the third that the Checkers pulled away with an insurance goal by Colin Markison with 1:38 remaining and an empty netter by Morgan Geekie in the dying moments.

NOTES

Nedeljkovic now has 11 shutouts in his AHL career, extending his own franchise record … Lorentz has four goals in 13 games this season. He had three in 32 career AHL contests prior to that … Luostarinen, who had missed the previous two games while on NHL recall with Carolina, has points in eight of his last nine AHL games … Including a sweep in the second round of the 2019 playoffs, the Checkers have won five straight against Hershey … The Checkers have killed 20 consecutive penalties over their last five games … Markison has goals in two of his last three games … Geekie ended a six-game goal drought … Casey Bailey, who the Checkers signed on a PTO from the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays earlier this week, picked up an assist in his Checkers debut … Fredrik Claesson returned to the lineup after missing six games due to injury … Spencer Smallman played his first AHL game since suffering an injury on Nov. 10, 2018 … Forward Stelio Mattheos missed the game due to injury … Forwards Cedric Lacroix and Anthony Louis and defensemen Derek Sheppard and Kyle Wood were healthy extras.
Paul Branecky
Author: Paul BraneckyEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Checkers' vice president of communications, Paul Branecky has been covering hockey in North Carolina since 2006, including five seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.