In a rare morning matchup, the Checkers couldn’t quite muster enough to overcome the Springfield Thunderbirds, falling by a 5-3 score.
After a back-and-fourth contest, the two sides were tied heading into the final minutes of regulation and appeared to be destined for overtime. Things fell apart for the Checkers, however, as they took a too-many-men penalty with less than three minutes left followed 37 seconds later by a delay of game penalty for sending the puck over the glass. Down two men and facing the AHL’s 10th-ranked power play, the Checkers surrendered the go-ahead goal on a quick one-timer from Tim Erixon. With still another penalty to kill following that, Charlotte couldn’t conjure up a rally and the Thunderbirds sealed their victory with an empty-net strike in the waning minutes.
Both teams leaned heavily on their special teams to provide offense throughout the night. Springfield opened the scoring with a power-play tally and picked up the game winner on a two-man advantage. The Checkers converted on one of three power-play opportunities on the night, with Valentin Zykov extending his team lead with his eighth goal of the season, but were also able to strike shorthanded thanks to Warren Foegele’s third such marker of the season.
Charlotte lost consecutive games for the first time this season … The Checkers are one of just four AHL teams that have yet to play an overtime game … Kuokkanen’s goal gave him four points over the course of a three-game streak (2g, 2a) … Philip Samuelsson had two assists, giving him eight points in 15 games and tying him with Trevor Carrick for the team scoring lead among defensemen. Samuelsson also leads the team with a plus-10 rating … With an assist today, Aleksi Saarela has points in three straight games (1g, 2a) since ending a six-game drought … Zykov’s ninth goal of the season extended his team lead … Foegele’s third shorthanded goal of the season gave him the AHL lead and tied the team record for most in a single season … After scoring one point in his first eight games of the season, Andrew Poturalski has six (4g, 2a) in his last seven outings … Alex Nedeljkovic suffered his first loss of the season, falling to 7-1-0 ... This was Charlotte’s fifth straight game with a power-play goal (6-for-20). Meanwhile, the team allowed a power-play goal for the third straight game (13-for-18) … Prior to being shut out today, the Checkers had scored a third-period goal in 12 of 14 games … Of Springfield’s five victories on the season, three have come in their last three games … The Checkers have scored three or more goals in 13 of their 15 games this season … This was the first meeting between Charlotte and Springfield since Jan. 21, 2011. The Checkers’ first ever AHL victory came at Springfield on Oct. 10, 2010 ... Defenseman Brenden Kichton returned from injury to play just his third game of the season and first since Oct. 29 … Forward Lucas Wallmark and defenseman Jake Chelios missed the game due to injury … Forwards Mike Ferrantino and Zack Stortini and defenseman Tyler Ganly were healthy extras.
The Checkers play a Friday night rematch in Springfield before concluding their season-long, eight-game road trip Saturday in Bridgeport. The team returns home to play four games in six days starting Tuesday, Nov. 21.
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.