The top two teams in the AHL locked in a tight contest in front of a sold-out crowd Tuesday night and it was the Checkers who emerged victorious with a hard-fought 1-0 win.

Alex Nedeljkovic continued his hot streak with a commanding performance, turning aside all 20 shots that he faced. The netminder helped shut down all four of the Sound Tigers’ man advantages on the night and stood tall during a 10-shot third period to earn his franchise-record eighth shutout in a Checkers sweater.

Bridgeport was similarly strong on defense but Aleksi Saarela was able to solve Christopher Gibson midway through the first, throwing a backhander through traffic for his seventh point in his last seven games and what would stand as the game’s only tally.

QUOTES

Coach Mike Vellucci on the game<br /> We got some quick goals there that was very helpful, and then we didn’t give them much until we made two big mistakes in the second period with bad line changes and not getting our guy, and then in the third we let our foot off the pedal a little bit. We got the win. It wasn’t our best, but we found a way to get the win in the end.

Vellucci on Nick Schilkey
He’s been good all year. Unfortunately there’s times he’s not in the lineup because of numbers, but when he is he makes it count. He gets a lot of ice time with power play, penalty kill and five-on-five. He’s just a complete player and I’m very proud of him.

Vellucci on if the team made a statement with back-to-back wins against the team with the league’s second-best record
I don’t know if it’s a big statement because we’re at home and we should be winning our home games. We just want to play well, do the right things and peak at the right time.

Nick Schilkey on following a 1-0 win with a 6-4 win
I don’t know if it’s anything we changed necessarily, but pucks kind of went in for us early there. We maybe let our foot off the gas at times there in the game and made mental mistakes that let them back in the game, but we stayed with it and that’s what’s really good about the game here tonight.

Schilkey on holding on when Bridgeport started to get back in the game
Coach talks about it a lot. There’s just no quit in this team and for some reason we’re always just so confident. That’s the reason we win so many games because confidence is so important.

Morgan Geekie on the fast start
It was good. We got on the board early and the guys were definitely into it after that. It was definitely a step in the right direction for us, and to get out on that right foot was really important.

Geekie on following a 1-0 win with a 6-4 win
I think it’s good. We’re pretty versatile and have a lot of guys who can do a lot of things. If we can go out there and play our game, no matter what the score is I think we’ll be good.

NOTES

The Checkers won their third straight game and for the sixth time in their last seven. They now hold a 13-point lead over Bridgeport, the team with the league’s second-best record … The Checkers scored three goals in 2:29 in the first period. Their four total goals that period were a season high … Schilkey has nine points (2g, 7a) in his last nine games, including a pair of three-point outings that tie his career high … Saarela scored for the second consecutive game and is now tied for second on the Checkers in goal scoring with 13 on the season … Geekie, one of the players he’s tied with, scored his eighth goal in his last 14 games … Carrick, who missed last night’s game due to illness, tied his career high for points in a single game (1g, 3a) set three times previously. He had three in the first period alone … Poturalski’s goal was the Checkers’ first penalty-shot tally in three attempts this season … Former Checker Jeremy Smith started for Bridgeport and gave up four goals on 12 shots … Defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti missed the game due to illness … Forward Steven Lorentz and defenseman Dennis Robertson were healthy extras.
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.