Checkers Erase Two-Goal Deficit, Fall to Utica in Overtime
The Checkers mustered up another comeback but couldn’t quite close it out, dropping an overtime decision to the Utica Comets 4-3.

After falling behind by a pair the Checkers clawed their way back by the end of the second period, thanks to a snipe from Jake Bean and a fortuitous bounce from a Morgan Geekie shot. Charlotte then snagged the lead for the first time all night in the third period thanks to the hot-handed Aleksi Saarela, but the Comets came through with an extra attacker in the final minute of play to force overtime.

Both teams traded chances in the extra frame, including Saarela’s bid for a second-straight OT winner that glanced off the post, but it would be the Comets who jumped on a offensive zone turnover and capitalized on the ensuing odd-man rush to take the two points and snap Charlotte’s winning streak.

QUOTES

Coach Mike Vellucci on the end of the game
It was tough in overtime. I thought we fought back pretty hard and had a chance in overtime but hit the post, and then Ned misplayed the puck. He makes 100 good plays to one where it just kind of bounced off his stick a little weird, and if you notice on that play we would have had a breakaway the other way if he could have got it all the way down the ice. Tough break there, but I thought it was fortunate that we got back into it after being down two when we didn’t start the game very well. We gave up a five-on-six goal which is a tough thing there because we had a chance to clear but didn’t and they made a really nice play.

Vellucci on Alex Nedeljkovic playing the puck
I’ll talk to him tomorrow or the next day but let it go for tonight. He’s so good at playing the puck, so he’s going to make better plays. It’s just one of those things. I thought he was a little loose playing the puck tonight and a little too risky and trying too hard, but we’ll talk about that another time.

Vellucci on coming back from two goals down
I think it was our leadership. I think it was Brownie that told the guys it wasn’t good enough after the first, and I think the guys listened and followed his lead. I give him a lot of credit for pulling the guys out of it.

Vellucci on Jake Bean
Offensively he was good and made some really nice plays, obviously his goal and then the feed through the seam to Geeks for the second goal was a heck of a play. He’s still making some mistakes defensively, but obviously he’s a young kid and he’s getting better every day.

Jake Bean on coming back from 2-0 down
We made better puck decisions and found ourselves in the right spots, but we needed to finish off there in the end.

Bean on the loss
We need to finish it off in regulation, one. We can’t start so slow because that hurt us. Overtime can go either way because it’s kind of a shootout at that point. It’s not really anyone’s fault. We’ve just got to bear down in regulation.

Bean on learning from this game
We’ve had so much success that sometimes you pass over stuff when you just keep winning all the time. We can take lessons from this. We need to start on time, have everyone going right off the bat and can’t let ourselves get down 2-0 early.

NOTES

The Checkers missed an opportunity to tie a franchise record with their seventh straight win and set a new franchise record with their seventh straight win at home. Their current seven-game point streak (6-0-1) is their longest since they ended last season on a 10-game run (9-0-1) … The Checkers fell to 7-2 in overtime games this season, including 6-2 in games decided before the shootout … With a goal and two assists, Bean tied his season/career high for points in a single game originally set on Oct. 27 … Saarela scored for the second consecutive game, extending his point streak to six games (2g, 4a) … After going 15 games without a goal, Geekie has goals in back-to-back games … After being out-shot 13-5 in the first period, the Checkers out-shot the Comets 31-18 the rest of the way … Defenseman Josiah Didier missed the game due to injury … Forwards Steven Lorentz, Nick Schilkey and Zack Stortini, defenseman Josh Wesley and goaltender Callum Booth were healthy extras.
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.