The Checkers’ offensive prowess continued on Friday as the team improved to a perfect 4-0-0 on its season-long, eight-game road trip with a 5-2 victory in Utica.

Clark Bishop, who entered the game with two goals in 54 career AHL contests, scored twice in this game to help the Checkers extend their win streak to a season-best four games. Charlotte (10-3-0) also improved to 8-1-0 away from home this season, with their eight road victories good for most in the AHL.

Nicolas Roy, Andrew Poturalski and Janne Kuokkanen also scored for the Checkers, who hit the five goal mark for the eighth time in their 13 games this season. In goal, Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 24 shots to improve to a perfect 7-0-0 on the campaign.

Charlotte opened the scoring in the first period through Roy, who finished a shorthanded 2-on-0 break with Aleksi Saarela for his second goal of the campaign and the Checkers’ third shorthanded tally of the season, which ties the most in the AHL.

After Bishop extended the lead, the Comets seized the momentum with a shorthanded tally of their own with 16 seconds left in the second period. However, Poturalski extended the lead during a minute-long, five-on-three advantage that the Checkers enjoyed to start the third. After that it was all Charlotte, with Kuokkanen picking up his first goal of the season just as a power play expired and Bishop finishing a breakaway on either side of Utica’s second goal.

Charlotte played the majority of the game down one player as NHL veteran Lee Stempniak, playing his first game of the season after joining the Checkers on a conditioning stint from the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, left the game with an injury early in the first period and did not return.

This game concluded the four-game season series between Charlotte and Utica, which the Checkers won 3-1. All four games were decided by at least three goals.


All three of the Checkers’ shorthanded goals this season were scored by rookies (Roy’s tonight and two by Warren Foegele) … The team’s three shorthanded goals allowed is also tied for most in the AHL … Bishop now has seven points in 13 games this season, compared to the six he scored in 42 games as a rookie last season … The Checkers scored 14 goals in their three games against Utica netminder Richard Bachman … Last season, Nedeljkovic did not earn his seventh win until Feb. 18 … With an assist on Poturalski’s goal, Phil Di Giuseppe extended his point streak to four games (2g, 3a) … Forward Lucas Wallmark and defensemen Jake Chelios and Brenden Kichton missed the game due to injury … Forwards Mike Ferrantino, Nick Schilkey and Zack Stortini and defenseman Josh Wesley were healthy extras.


The Checkers' road trip continues with the first of a four-game season series with Syracuse tomorrow night at 7 p.m.
Paul Branecky
Author: Paul BraneckyEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Checkers' vice president of communications, Paul Branecky has been covering hockey in North Carolina since 2006, including five seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.