After dropping their first contest in over a month in Game 1, the Checkers came back with a vengeance in Game 2, throttling the Phantoms 6-0 behind a 26-save shutout from Alex Nedeljkovic.
Both teams spent a considerable amount of time in the box, totaling 78 penalty minutes between them, but it was the Checkers who took advantage. Starting with Janne Kuokkanen’s opening tally six minutes in, the Checkers rocked the Phantoms for four power-play goals on the night while stifling the home squad on all six of their man advantages.
Following up his 30-save performance from Game 1, Nedeljkovic stood tall in the Charlotte crease and frustrated an offense that finished the regular season ranked second in the AHL, sending away all 26 shots he faced.
Kuokkanen ended up leading the way with a pair of tallies on the night, while three different Checkers – Trevor Carrick, Andrew Miller and Andrew Poturalski – all corralled a pair of helpers each.
By pulling off a split in Lehigh Valley, the Checkers have now snatched home-ice advantage back from the Phantoms, as the next three contests will all take place in Charlotte over the course of next week.
The Checkers set a new franchise playoff record with a six-goal margin of victory. The previous record of five was set in 2013 … After not scoring first in any of their first-round games, the Checkers scored first in each of their first two games of this series … After going 0-for-10 on the power play in their last three games, the Checkers went 4-for-8 tonight, including goals on each of their first two opportunities. Meanwhile, the Checkers killed all six Phantoms opportunities, including a 30-second, two-man advantage early in the second period … Alex Nedeljkovic made 26 saves for the third postseason shutout in Checkers history. Nedeljkovic tied for third in the AHL in regular-season shutouts with five. He is now 4-1-0 with a 1.71 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in the playoffs … Andrew Miller had two assists, extending his point streak to three games and giving him five points (1g, 4a) in five playoff games. He also had five points in five playoff games for the Checkers last season … Andrew Poturalski also had two assists and also has five points (1g, 4a) in five playoff games … Checkers defenseman Josiah Didier left the game after a hit by the Phantoms’ Nicolas Aube-Kubel in the first period and did not return. Aube-Kubel received an interference penalty on the play … Defenseman Jake Chelios missed the game due to injury … Forwards Mike Ferrantino, Morgan Geekie, Nick Schilkey and Zack Stortini, and defensemen Jake Bean, Matt Finn and Dennis Robertson were healthy extras.
The series now shifts to Bojangles’ Coliseum for the next three contests, starting with Game 3 on Tuesday at 7:00 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.