Charlotte Checkers goalie Jeremy Smith makes a save in his team's 5-2 loss to the Belleville Senators
On the night before Thanksgiving it was the Senators who feasted, beating the Checkers 5-2 to split the midweek series.

As they did the game before, the Senators found the back of the net early, with Max Reinhart giving the visitors a lead less than five minutes into regulation. The Checkers were able to dig out of that hole, however, thanks to a nice finish on the rush by Roland McKeown that evened the score heading into the first intermission.

Belleville again jumped ahead in the middle frame, nabbing consecutive goals, but Mike Ferrantino pulled the home team back within striking distance with a no-angle snipe in the waning moments of the period. Unfortunately for Charlotte, that momentum didn’t carry over into the third period.

Despite outshooting the Senators 9-4 in the frame, the Checkers couldn’t solve Belleville netminder Chris Drieger. With the Charlotte offense struggling to spark a rally, Reinhart found the back of the net again midway through the third to put the visitors on top once and for all.

QUOTES

Coach Mike Vellucci on his team’s performance tonight
Just sloppy play and a lot of turnovers. We made some mental mistakes, and when we made them they scored. We can’t make those mental mistakes.

Vellucci on his team’s offensive chances
We had some chances, but they play a real tight checking game. That’s pro hockey right there. In the neutral zone they bogged us down. Miller had a breakaway to make it 3-3 but their goalie makes a nice save and then they come down and score at the other end.

Vellucci on Valentin Zykov being a late scratch due to illness
He’s just got some experience, and if you look tonight we’re playing all the kids. Ferrantino came in, had a great game and scored again tonight. He’s got two goals in three games and he played well. It’s no excuse, because you’ve just got to get ready, play every game, play hard and fight through the checks.

Patrick Brown on tonight’s game
Tonight we didn’t really give ourselves a chance to win. Last night we had some downs but at the end of the guy we started buying in, taking the body, chipping pucks and playing north-south hockey. Tonight we got down and we were turning the puck over and beating ourselves up. We just kept doing it all the way into the end. Everyone in that locker room knows we can’t win games doing that, so we’ve just got to buy in a little more.

Brown on improving for Saturday’s game
Guys have to look at video, see their shifts and see that maybe you should have gone through the guy instead of pokechecking with one hand. The puck has to keep going north so we avoid all these turnovers and having our d-men get caught on long shifts. We’re not winning our battles, and if you win enough battles it adds up and you win the game.

Brown on the team’s offensive chances
We got a lot of chances and probably could have got a couple more goals, but we gave up too many goals to give ourselves a good chance to win. Smitty had to stop a whole bunch of breakaways and two-on-ones. He played outstanding but we didn’t give him a good enough chance.

Brown on the day off tomorrow
We’ve just got to refresh our minds a little bit. It was a long road trip and that’s no excuse because everyone has them, but we’ll have some Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, refresh, hang out with family and then come back to work Friday and get ready for a couple of wins this weekend.

NOTES

The Checkers have scored first in just five of their 19 games this season. They have allowed the first goal in five straight … Charlotte missed a chance to sweep its four-game season series against Belleville … Ferrantino now has two goals in just three games this season, which are the only AHL contests of his career … With an assist on Ferrantino’s goal, Brenden Kichton now has five points (1g, 4a) in seven games this season. He is currently on a three-game point streak (1g, 2a) … With three assists tonight, Belleville’s Ethan Werek finished the season series with five points in four games against his former team … Forward Lucas Wallmark and defensemen Jake Chelios and Dennis Robertson missed the game due to injury … Forward Valentin Zykov missed the game due to illness … Forward Zack Stortini and defenseman Tyler Ganly were healthy extras.

UP NEXT

The Checkers return to action at Bojangles’ Coliseum Saturday night for a 6 p.m. puck drop against the Providence Bruins.
Nicholas Niedzielski
Author: Nicholas NiedzielskiEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Director of Communications Nicholas Niedzielski joined the Checkers in the summer of 2014. A Texas native, he previously worked for the AHL's Texas Stars.

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