After a few recent setbacks in the season series, the Checkers defeated division rival Providence 3-2 on Saturday to earn their second win in as many days.
Zach Nastasiuk and Julien Gauthier each scored for the second consecutive day, while team captain Patrick Brown added another as the Checkers got off to a 2-0-0 start on a busy weekend that will see them play three times in three days in three different cities. Making his third consecutive start, Alex Nedeljkovic 26 saves to pick up his league-best 24th victory of the season.
Nedeljkovic, who is 7-1-2 since Jan. 12, had to be at his best down the stretch as the Bruins scored twice in 43 seconds early in the third period to cut what had been a 3-0 Checkers lead down to a single goal. The Bruins out-shot Charlotte 15-9 in the final frame.
With the win, Charlotte improved to 5-2-2 in the season series with Providence, which prior to tonight had won three consecutive games in the season series (including two in overtime).
This is the first time that Charlotte, which defeated Springfield 4-1 on Friday, has won consecutive games since Jan. 15-16. Before winning twice in two days to start this weekend, the team had just two victories in the last 29 days (2-4-4).
The Checkers will now try to sweep the three-in-three set tomorrow afternoon in Bridgeport – an accomplishment that has only been done four times in team history, including once this season.
Nedeljkovic has allowed two goals or fewer in each of his last seven starts … This is the first goal streak of Nastasiuk’s 86-game AHL career … Dan Renouf posted two assists, tying his season high for points in a single game … Aleksi Saarela missed a penalty shot opportunity in the third period … Clark Bishop missed the game due to injury … Forward Zack Stortini and defenseman Dennis Robertson were healthy extras.
The three-in-three weekend and five-game road trip conclude with a 3 p.m. matinee in Bridgeport on Sunday.
The Checkers' vice president of communications, Paul Branecky has been covering hockey in North Carolina since 2006, including five seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.