The Checkers and Thunderbirds clashed in a hard-fought battle Friday night in Bojangles’ Coliseum, but it was the home team that came out on top thanks to some late heroics.

With the score deadlocked at one with just over five minutes remaining in regulation and the Checkers on the penalty kill, Colin Markison collected a loose puck at center ice and carried it in on a breakaway. The forward then fired a low shot that found its way into the back of the net and clinched a big divisional win.

The majority of regulation before that winner was a tight, low-scoring affair. After a scoreless first period, Steven Lorentz opened things up with his second goal in as many games, but Springfield would respond less than 30 seconds later to tie things up.

The game had a physical edge throughout, leading to 68 combined penalty minutes, but the Checkers’ penalty kill came through once again and killed off all seven power plays that the Thunderbirds had. Charlotte also stifled Springfield across the board, holding the visitors to just 21 shots, and Alex Nedeljkovic stood tall to earn his first win of the season.

QUOTES

Ryan Warsofsky on the effort level
I thought it was good. That’s how we have to play. We have to be hard and we have to play as a unit. I thought the effort was there and our details and habits were good. We’ve got to do it again tomorrow night.

Warsofsky on Alex Nedeljkovic
Ned made some big saves and took the weight off our shoulders a little bit. I think that big save helps, but I think we were better defensively and didn’t give up many chances. There’s still things we can get better at and improve on, and like I said to the group, if you want to be great you have to do it consistently. We’ll enjoy this tonight, turn the page and be ready to go tomorrow.

Warsofsky on the penalty kill
The PK, (assistant coach Patrick Dwyer) has done a great job of working on it in practice. It’s just trusting each other and what each guy’s job is on the PK has been the biggest thing the last few weeks with just getting guys on the same page. Tonight you could see it was very dynamic. The shorthanded goal by Markie who had been getting his chances – to finally get one was huge.

Warsofsky on Markison getting his first goal
And at the right time. That’s a huge goal for us. He works hard and is a guy that’s kind of an energy ball. He goes out there and works, works, works, so for him to finally get rewarded is nice.

Colin Markison on the team playing with more intensity
I think we just tried to execute that exact game plan. You could feel the buzz around the locker room before the game and it was just a good feeling knowing that we were all going to put our boots on and go to work.

Markison on snapping the losing streak
I think it’s just about having positivity. We all know that we have what it takes in there and we have the intangibles. It’s just about putting it together every night, and now we’ve got to put it together for tomorrow

Markison on getting his first goal of the season The monkey definitely came off the back on that one. Hopefully I can continue moving forward.

NOTES

The Checkers snapped their season-long, three-game losing streak … Markison’s goal was his first of the season and the Checkers’ fourth shorthanded goal of the season, tying them for the league lead. Markison leads the AHL with three shorthanded points … In addition to scoring shorthanded, the Checkers killed all seven Springfield power plays … Steven Lorentz scored for the second consecutive game, marking the first goal streak of his AHL career. Those were the only goals the Checkers scored through five consecutive periods of play … Alex Nedeljkovic picked up his first win of the season … Forward Stelio Mattheos and defenseman Fredrik Claesson missed the game due to injury … Defenseman Kyle Wood was a healthy extra.
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.