As they have following each loss this season, the Checkers rebounded nicely in Syracuse on Saturday, crushing the Crunch by a 7-3 score.
Flipping the script from the night before, the Checkers were all over the home team from the start. Eetu Luostarinen converted a shorthanded breakaway less than four minutes into regulation, followed shortly after by a power-play snipe from Morgan Geekie. Chase Priskie added another just minutes after that and Brian Gibbons redirected another power-play goal in to push the Checkers ahead 4-0 before the first intermission even hit.
That red-hot start would be all Charlotte needed Saturday night. The Crunch would add three tallies over the next 40 minutes but the Checkers would match that output as well, cruising to a blowout victory.
Charlotte’s special teams played a key role in the team’s production, both on the man advantage and on the penalty kill. The Checkers got back on track with a pair of power-play tallies and also added a pair of shorthanded goals, with Gibbons accounting for one of each.
Gibbons was just one of several Checkers to turn in big numbers Saturday night. He (2g, 2a) and Chase Priskie (1g, 3a) both racked up four points, while Morgan Geekie pumped in a goal and two assists and Julien Gauthier lit the lamp twice.
Anton Forsberg kept his perfect record in a Checkers sweater going by denying 31 of the 34 shots he saw from Utica, including helping Charlotte kill six of seven penalties on the night.
The Checkers have not lost consecutive games this season … The Checkers scored two shorthanded goals for the third time in franchise history and the first time since Oct. 7, 2017 … Gibbons and Priskie’s four points are the most by a Checker this season and one shy of the franchise single-season record … Priskie is the sixth rookie in franchise history to record four points in a game and the second rookie defenseman … Fredrik Claesson recorded his second two-assist performance in the last three games … Eetu Luostarinen extended his goal streak to four games … Claesson finished the game as a +4, the highest mark by a Checker this season … Priskie’s goal was his first as a pro … Cavan Fitzgerald made his Checkers debut … Stelio Mattheos, Spencer Smallman and Jake Bean missed the game due to injury … Hunter Shinkaruk, Ryan Horvat, Jacob Pritchard and Alex Lintuniemi were all healthy extras
The Checkers now return home for a pair of games against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms starting Friday at 7 p.m.
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.